11 September 2008


"There are only 10 types of people in this world: those who understand binary, and those who don't."

If you got the joke, I am sure, you'll empathize with the rest of this blog. One of the questions that I dread answering is "Are you in software?". The question seems so innocent, that it borders on ignorance. I often wonder, why people don't ask, "Are you in Electricity?' to an Electrical Engineer.

The question seemingly so simple, draws such strong reactions on answering an 'Yes'. I am often confused on how to interpret those reactions.

Some show such an enthusiasm, that I am almost tempted to explain my whole project, with code and comments. Its not really that difficult or clever to be software engineer.

On some faces, I see agony, as if world is such an unfair place, and that my life is so simple and theirs so difficult. Yes, Easy it is, if you think working with deadline of yesterday is easy. Thats how most projects are done. But, then every job has its own problems, and every problem, its own workarounds. And Yes, mine is relatively easy. But, it needs ME.

Some cannot hide their reverence. It's as if they met a celebrity. I wouldn't wonder if they asked me to pose for a snap with them. Nowadays engineers are dime-a-dozen. I guess this is just a passing phase.

Some show an unparalleled envy, I do not understand why. Do they think I do not deserve even half the money I earn? If only they understand, we're billed in dollars and paid in rupees, they would appreciate how underpaid we are.

Some show deep resentment, as if I inherited lots of wealth and do not know the value of it. Well, there is a Mike Tyson and then there is a Warren Buffet. We all fall in between. And NO ! We are NOT to be blamed for high rentals. We too are victims of it.

Some show an expression of such ridicule, as if there can be nothing more funnier than being a software engineer. It seems they think they could take me for a ride as easily as eating popcorn. I couldn't care less, so long as its not my popcorn they are eating.

Some mourn & forecast doom, as if a calamity is going hit my life and I am going to loose everything the day software business is going to end. These are the doomsday-wishers. Nothing can make them happier than our economy falling and all of the software engineers loosing their job and realizing their folly. Such sadism.

Some throw a relaxed smile, the way we enjoy a child's exuberance. It's as if they have found how immature I am and then would proceed on to teach me the nuances of life. Every generation has a new set of rules. I think 3 generations ago, when we moved from agrarian to industrialized society, we had similar immature children [our grand-fathers].

Some caution me about my stress levels and physical conditions. Give me a break. Almost every high paying profession has high stress levels. Doctors, lawyers, police, builders, politicians. My job is pure fun. And NO ! software engineers are NOT any more prone to injuries of fingers, rotary muscles, eyes, ears, nose, teeth, legs, back etc. than other normal human beings. I have seen more healthy people in this industry than anywhere else. Exceptions are not the Rule.

Pardon me for my self-indulgence. I know I don't do such an important job.

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