Saturday, November 03, 2007


I’ve finally started blogging again after a long hiatus, but this time it’s from the belly of the beast. I’ve been swallowed by the Borg. Yes indeed, I’ve abandoned my earlier aversion to formal pants servile ties and joined a large, faceless multi-national.

Due to the vagaries of chance, I’ve always ended up in smaller companies before this. Things just turned out that way. Anyway, I’d always suspected that I might have a bit of difficulty fitting into a more formal corporate culture. Dilbert (the true guide to corporate culture everywhere!) didn’t paint too rosy a picture either :-) But surprise, surprise, it’s not so bad (he squealed, as he hung by his thumbs), it’s not so bad at all.

Some quick points of comparison:

  1. The Facilities: Most smaller companies are unable to offer amenities like a bus service, a proper canteen, housing or other sorts of facilities. These may seem like little things, but they’re important hygiene factors. And speaking of hygiene, you finally get clean toilets! :-)
  2. Training: This is the first place I’ve been in which offers compulsory training; 40 hours at a minimum every year. More if you can swing it. Now, I’m not a fan of structured, formal learning (having been processed by enough educational institutions in the past), but it’s not a complete waste of time either.
  3. The Impersonality: Brilliant! I’m finally anonymous! :-) It feels great to be a little fish in a big pond, instead of things being the other way around. Now, this will surprise many people, but it’s actually tiring (and then eventually irritating) when everyone from the janitor to the CEO knows your name, face and birthmarks. This is probably the introvert in me talking, but there’s something to be said for being able to walk through the entire building and not have to constantly ‘Hi!’ everyone you see.
  4. A larger pool of potential friends: Now for the extrovert in me :-) In an organization of several tens of thousands of wage slaves, you’re bound to come across malcontent deviants as insane as you are. What’s that you said? So you're a fan of red staplers, coke bottle glasses and naked flames too? Brilliant ! :-)
  5. Openness: Paradoxically, larger companies are more open. Try and get the owner of a SME to divulge the details about the companies finances or its future direction. You'll have to break out the pliers to get anything close to the truth. Public corporations are legally obliged to reveal their financial details and you can read about the companies prospects in the daily broadsheet.
  6. Permanence: The chances of you coming to work one fine day and finding a padlock on the door and shit-eating grin on your 'bosses' face are quite remote.
  7. Multiple escalation paths: Got a problem with your superior in a smaller company? Tough luck, he’s probably the owner (or a close relative – hello nepotism!). Either live with him or leave. In large organizations, there’s usually a structured escalation path and conflict resolution forums. It’s much easier to iron things out.
  8. Professionalism: The people you’re working with were (theoretically/presumably) hired because they are the best fit for the job, not because they’re the owner’s retarded cousin from Jalgaon or a member of his community.
  9. Varied Projects: You don’t need to switch companies to switch projects.
  10. Brand Recognition: Having to explain what your company does every time gets real old, real fast.
  11. Better Opportunities for Travel: You don’t get many big spenders contracting with smaller companies. If you want to travel a bit, it’s better to join a larger firm.
  12. Better long term prospects: Finally, room to grow! Larger firms have more space for growth, bother vertically and horizontally. In smaller organizations, I’ve usually ended up in a position where the only way up is to kill the owner or marry his daughter (preferably both). It feels great to be able to contemplate a career plan which doesn’t include the liberal use of rat poison to open up some space in the ranks first.

So what’s the reason behind the differences? It’s all pretty straight-forward: money and scale. And one more thing (echo’s of which can be found in this post). Larger organizations are run by employees in part for their own benefit and not the benefit of nebulous, anonymous ‘shareholders’. It’s not fair to the actual owners (a.k.a shareholders, a.k.a. chumps), but it’s a fact.

What’s that you say, the team’s feeling ‘stressed’? Well, it’s off to Lonavla for a week-end then!” – Manager in Faceless Multinational Pvt. Ltd.

In smaller companies, the owner’s breathing down your neck every time you fill in an expense account.

What’s that you say, the team’s feeling ‘stressed’? Well, call them in on the week-end for a side project I’ve been thinking about, that’ll cheer them up!” – Hari Sadu (SME CEO)

Maybe the only reason I’m enjoying myself here is because of ye olde “Herbage be greener on the other side”. Or maybe things really are better over here. Time will tell. But as I contemplate by assimilation into the beast, I have to accept that the Borg were right after all.

Resistance was futile.

Socialize: | digg | reddit | Technorati | Yahoo My Web


Sanjeev Kumar Mishra said...

Congratulations Sir Ji,

I think the grass is really greener on your side. :-)

Hope to get the "Green grass to sky" for me also.... :-)

Henry Jacob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.