I had accompanied a relative and their ward who had arrived in Chennai to report at a prestigious IT company. This post is a quick narrations of certain observations made at the venue.
IT companies seem to have an unwritten policy of not to entertain location preferences of new hires. Everyone who prefers Bangalore will be assigned to Chennai, whoever asks for Chennai will be asked to join at Hyderabad and so on. (Apparently this is believed to increase productivity as employees stay away from family and will have more time to dedicate to work, Also this helps money circulation-making IT people spend on travel, phone, rent and so on) So almost all new hires reporting at this company’s Chennai office that day were from other states, mainly Karnataka and AP.
While ‘software engineers to be’ assembled outside the gate and eventually started going in, groups started forming based on language and city they hail from. They evaluated the scope in IT industry, how they squeeze their staff, how their request for a different location was denied, best place to take a PG and sundry other topics. It was interesting to listen to conversations of their parents outside. Some samples: "At Trivandrum they were very strict about using mobile phones-hope now onwards they’ll be more liberal"…"ನಿಮ್ ಮಗಳು ಜಾವ ನ? ನನ್ ಮಗಳಿಗೆ .ನೆಟ್ ಅ೦ತೆ. ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿದ್ಯ ಅದು?" (your daughter is in java? my daughter is in .Net is it better?).. "పెరున్గుడి లో ఒకటే ఫై జి చాల బాగుంది అంటే అంకల్ చెప్ప్యారు -పెరున్గుడి ఎక్కడ ఉంది?" (I’m told there is a nice PG in Perungudi-where is Perungudi)..., "9am and it is so hot already-can’t imagine summer in Chennai…" "why can’t we go inside and see-its my Son’s office after all…" "Seems they’ve about 10 offices in Chennai-not sure which office my ward will have to work from..."
When new hires arrive at a strange city for their first job, there’ll be challenges in terms of finding an accommodation, not knowing local language/city. Add to this, everyone will have their preferences and wish list (it has to be a pure veg PG, 3 of us should get at one place, it shouldn’t be too far...) This is made even more complex with IT companies never giving a clear idea as to what is in store for them during and after their training.
An opportunist business man, who apparently runs a PG (Paying guest) accommodation was very active at the scene, distributing small pamphlets to all anxious new hires and their even more anxious parents. For those who asked where is his PG, he handed out an additional leaflet which had map and directions to reach the place. During his first round, he ignored me, as I was in a casual dress-not wearing any shoe or tie like new hires with which he might have concluded that I am not a prospect and there’s no point wasting a pamphlet on me. Whenever a new share auto stopped, dropping off a dozen new hire, he would rush to the road and give a copy to all of them. Naturally he received lots of inquiries-ranging from “is it pure veg?” to "boys and girls will be in separate PGs right?” he answered all of them. During his second round he took pity on me and thrust a copy to my hand-the pamphlet was small- one fifth of an A4 sheet, but was filled with information-stating that they charge no deposit/advance, that they are just 30 mins from Airport/CMBT/Rly stn, mentioning names of all major IT companies, that it is very close to Adyar, Perungudi, Toraipakkam, Sholingnallur, Taramani and other locations and much more details.
Security guards had their chance to show who is the boss-at least at the gate, asking parents to move away, checking ID cards with extra vigor and keeping the entrance from vehicles and people.
Once all new hires went inside to report, parents waited outside evaluating what they should be doing for rest of the day. Some of them expressed interest to check out the PG of this guy, who promptly stopped an auto to take them to his place. Soon some more people gathered, our PG man abandoned the auto, got hold of a Qualis which had just dropped off IT professionals and ushered his prospects in. One more person can come with me in bike- he declared and left the venue on his bike, with a Qualis full of prospects following him. I’m sure some of them would have decided to join. His intelligence (knowing that lots of new hires are expected today), preparedness (of having pamphlets ready) and opportunism (of using the Qualis to escort his prospects) would have definitely paid off.
The day reminded me of my joining day in front of Satyam’s Secunderabad office 4.5 years ago-but that is for some other day