Tuesday, March 10, 2009

These mundane tasks …

IT Engineers get bored if asked to work in a single project for more than a year. I am not immune to this syndrome either. Its boring to work with the same technology for more than a couple of years. I know someone, who wrote JPEG decoders for ARM7, DM270, and after his work with DM320 he vowed not to work on JPEG decoding again. I know few guys who get bored soon with a certain technology and want to work on new technologies. Is it a bane of R&D, or is it the extra inquisitive cells, or is the fast paced world, or is it the changing food habits, environment…, the list is longer. IT stalwarts, like, Doug Englebart, Alan Kay, …  who live to this day feel that innovation is in itself dying. So, are we inquisitive without innovating?

Those guys who worked in good old days, for example my father, who worked in the same job, repairing steam engines for a couple of decades, and when the steam engines were shelved, he worked as a train driver for a decade. In his professional life, he did not do anything new, for decades. He for once never complained to me about seeing the same type of steam engine everyday, or watching the same railway track passing by, while driving the train. They were probably bored, not to the point of complaining to their bosses, or relatives. And never did they seek a job change. Its not only with my dad, its probably true for many of our dads. Public servants, for example a postman working in the same locality for a decade. Does he think, his job is mundane. And even if he does, what will he do. What can he do? … They do not have those professionally trained HR people to counsel them when hit with boredom. How did they manage the mundane routines … everyday.

If those drivers, bartenders, chefs, and all of those non-IT, non R&D workers can cope up with the same work for decades. Why not IT people. Imagine, if you are given a job of watching stars that fill the sky, and paid a handsome salary, will you take it up. Probably, if you don’t have any other else that pays, and start starving. Are we making a point here, are we getting bored, just because we are highly paid, and always have option to change. Imagine the case, a starving child, lets say in Africa will definitely eat any palatable food that is offered. Now, is it applicable to a child from a developed nation. These days, we can choose from options, to quit, to find a new job. Those wooing job portals, the job consultants, the greener pay packages, always attracts us. Even after all these options, the universal anxiety follows entropy.

I have developed a strong respect to those people who did their mundane jobs, with perfection, for decades. They did it, probably out of their own will, and less for some kind of recognition. The rewards in the form of salary for those people are comparatively less. Is it one another reason they are not bored. Is the pay-work imbalance boring the engineers of these days. What is it?

Worse, some software engineers complain, when asked to document, or test some application that they developed. They think that developers develop, and test engineers test. Technical writers document. It will be great, if we learn to do the so called mundane jobs with perfection, is this where leaders are born?

1 comment:

  1. Very well written and valid point, Britto. Something to think about.