I generally go for a walk after dinner on my apartment terrace. Usually there won’t be anyone else, but that day there was someone whom I haven’t seen earlier in my apartment. He is like in his 50’s but seems very energetic. He approached me and introduced himself.
Rajaram: Hello, I am Rajaram, recently moved into this apartment on 4th floor.
Me: Hi, I am Siva, I stay in flat#302.
Rajaram: I am a retired school teacher.
Me: I am a business man.
Rajaram: May I ask what kind of business you do, if you don’t mind?
Me: Sure. I sell my time and technical skills for money.
Rajaram: Hmmm, so you are a software engineer :-).
Rajaram: In which company you work?
Me: I am working at XYZ India Pvt Ltd.
Rajaram: Good, I heard that is one of the very good companies. Actually my elder son is also a software engineer so I have some idea about IT companies.
Me: Oh good. Where does he work?
Rajaram: He went to USA few years ago on H1B visa and still working there.
Rajaram: If you don’t mind can I ask you something?
Me: Sure, please go ahead.
Rajaram: Typically software developers introduce themselves like “I am software developer working in so and so company on Java, .NET etc”.
You introduced yourself as “Business Man” which sounds a little strange to me. May I know why?
Me: Nothing special, but I do believe that I am doing business with my skills.
I see it like
There is someone who has plenty of money and want to build some software. Either he might not have skills to build it himself or he want more people to build it quickly. So he utilize the skills and time of the people who already got those skills and in return pay them money. To me it is a business. If the buyer is smart then he get his work done for lower price or if the seller is smart then he sell his skills for better price.
Rajaram: Am I sensing some sort of hatred on Employee-Employer relationship?
Me: Hahaha. I don’t hate it, but I don’t like it either.
Me: Somehow people perceive employers as powerful… employees should be obedient to employer…. work hard to impress them so that you can get paid appropriately. When you have the skill or material that is required by someone then why should you beg for appropriate price, you should demand for it if you believe you have right skills.
Rajaram: Hmm.. understand your point. But then why so many people are not thinking like that?
Me: I guess that is partly because of what their parents keep on telling them since their childhood. Most of the parents keep telling their children that “You should study well, work hard then only you will get a job in good company”. Over the time it become like a life goal to get a job in some big company. Unknowingly it also implies that those companies/employers are great and you should aim to become part of it so that you also become great because you are working in a great company. There itself the individualism die.
Rajaram: I see your point. But you should also consider the parents point of view. For a typical middle class family, getting financial support from their kids as soon as possible is very critical. If their kid can start their own company and earn then their parents will be more than happy but they may think it is not very practical.
Me: I completely agree with you. I too came from a poor family. When I came to Hyderabad my sole goal was to get a job so that my parents need not lend money to send me 2500 rupees for monthly expenses.
I am not blaming parents or anything like that. I am blaming the software engineers for not realizing their own value and always relying on their employers for their growth.
Rajaram: I understand now. But I hear there are many other advantages working in software companies, like Health Insurance, Medical benefits etc.
Me: Yeah, that is true. But I have a different opinion about these Life Insurance etc.
Rajaram: I am all ears.
Me: I prefer my family members to learn how to survive if something happens to me instead of relying on Insurance money. But my old parents or kids may not be in a position to earn by themselves. For them I want to save some money to survive for some period, say 6 months to 1 year. During that period they should be able to figure out how to survive. If they can’t learn how to survive in an year then they may not manage even if I give 1 crore rupees also.
My parents gave me education and taught some manners which is all I needed to make my own living.
I will definitely try to provide decent education to my kids so that they can make a living on their own, but I am not going to spend my entire life saving money for them. I want to live my own life. Consider me as the most selfish person on this earth :-)
Rajaram: Hahaha. It’s nice talking to you Siva. See you later.
Me: See you sir, good night.