A false name + a fake accent = pride and dignity?

No story on the IT industry is complete without a statutory salute to the “pride and dignity” it has given thousands of youngsters in the country, besides the opportunity it has given hundreds of families to scale up their lives and lifestyles.

The Hindu‘s technology correspondent Anand Parthasarathy doffed his hat in an article in the paper, and Bangalore-based Gopi Rajgopal who has 15 years in the computer industry, two years in a University computer centre and nine in the United States, has responded in an Open Page article:

The author says the computer industry has given our youth “pride and dignity.” Has it? These are individual traits and it is hard to make such a sweeping statement about thousands of people.

However, one counter argument can blow away the author’s claims. A typical call centre job requires its employees to work graveyard hours when the rest of the world is sleeping. Any doctor or website can explain the problems that a person faces when his/her circadian rhythm is disrupted. Problems such as bipolar disorder, cardiovascular problems, and perhaps even cancer, are some of the possible side effects.

Yet the call centre industry continues to extol the virtues of working in such jobs. What can be dignifying about a job which requires our youngsters to take on a false name and speak with a false accent? Isn’t our sense of identity our most important asset?

Secondly, there are various kinds of jobs in the computer industry. They include customer support, back office operations, product sustenance, research and product development. By and large, most jobs are concentrated in the first three areas. Product sustenance involves supporting products that are no longer the latest in their field. Companies in the U.S. and other countries send such jobs to India since they would prefer to have their employees in the “mother country” design and develop new technologies. Not exactly “cutting-edge” work.

Several companies in the service sector, including some of the largest in the field, keep hundreds of their employees “on the bench,” sometimes for months, waiting for new projects. Is this an effective use of their talent? Is this enhancing their pride or dignity?

Read the full article: The other side of the IT boom

A.M. Naik: Indian IT doesn’t benefit its own people