Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Awesome Workplace

I think I am one of those few lucky people who have gotten a chance to work in ThoughtWorks. ThoughtWorks is a global consultancy firm that specializes in delivering excellent custom software solutions. But I am not going to talk about ThoughtWorks like I am delivering a sales pitch to a client. I am talking about ThoughtWorks purely from an employee perspective, based on my experience here for 3 months.
I began my journey here as a grad, fresh out of college. We had a 6 week training period in Bangalore. Before that, we had to undergo a month of online training. The first book I was asked to read was "From journeyman to master - how to improve your craft" Right at the beginning, ThoughtWorks trained me to look at my work of developing software as a craft- which requires knowledge, skill, creativity and patience to master. I was so happy while reading that - it felt like I was stepping onto the right path.
Then my 'ThoughtWorks University' began. I had a whale of an experience. 35 of us were completely pampered in Bangalore. We were put up in luxury apartments, had a whole bunch of parties, trips and other fun activities planned out for us, and were treated like royalty. At the same time all the training sessions organised were really innovative - essentially learning with fun. And then we spent 4 weeks developing an internal ThoughtWorks website in the SpringMVC framework and were taught all kinds of good coding practices.
After that I was sunning on the beach for a while, learning Ruby and Rails. Now I am in Gurgaon, developing an application for the iPhone in Objective C and Rails. What I really love about my job is:

1. The people- I work with some of the best brains in the industry. People who are serious about their craft and about writing quality software. People who actually have fun while working and who enjoy teaching and explaining things to others.

2. The attitude- Individualism is really respected in ThoughtWorks. Everyone is free to express their opinions and be who they want to be. No false barriers of experience, or position, or location or culture or race are imposed on us. Everyone is equal and everyone has a right to express themselves.

3. The work- I am getting to work on some real cutting edge technology and learn good industry practices and methodologies. The best part is the variety in technology and roles available and the freedom given to the employees to grow as they choose.

4. The social commitment- ThoughtWorks cares. We do a whole bunch of Social Impact Projects in connection with Unicef, World Vision, Grameen, and other social organizations. ThoughtWorks is a pioneer buisness oriented organization that is doing significant social work too.

5. The transparency- Everything is discussed with everyone. I still remember my first 'all hands' meeting in Bangalore where we discussed which projects should go to which office, why certain management decisions had been taken, employee views about changing the office location etc. etc. And it was completely casual. Some people were eating lunch, some were sipping drinks, jokes were being cracked(at the expense of the MD), and the speaker was being constantly interrupted with questions.
I remember thinking "Wow! I am so lucky to be a part of this healthy work culture"

ThoughtWorks has a work environment that prevents the breeding of 'politics' at the workplace. The way we deal with conflicts is different. The way we write software is different. The way we run our organization is different. The values that our company is based on is different.

I wake up every morning, really looking forward to going to work. I learn something new everyday.

I am a ThoughtWorker :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Turbulence



Dark clouds amass,
Strong gales blow,
The waves surpass,
Rise high, fall low.

Uncertain,restless
The ocean roars,
Lightening flashes,
A lone bird moans.

Palm trees sway,
The old house shudders.
The world looks gray
A little boat struggles.

Ice waters pour
The rocks too glisten,
All must endure
This storm sudden.




Saturday, November 6, 2010

Spiritual life is similar to fighting a war

An excerpt from Srila Prabhupada's letter to Brahmananda Prabhu in Aug 1967. Srila Prabhupada had suffered a heart attack and had returned to India to recover his health.

"Don't be afraid of my being attacked by maya. When there is a fight between two belligerent parties, it is always expected that there will sometimes be reverses. Your country and the western world is mostly under the grip of Maya(illusion) and the modes of nature in passion and ignorance, and my declaration of war against maya is certainly a great battle. Maya saw me very successful within one year, so that I got so many sincere young followers like yourself and others, so it was a great defeat to the activities of Maya: western country youngsters giving up illicit sex, intoxication, meat eating and gambling is certainly a great reverse in the activities of maya. Therefore, she took advantage of my old age weakness and gave me a death dash. But Krishna saved me; therefore we should thank Krishna more than eulogize maya. So far as my present health is concerned I think I am improving; atleast I am taking lunch better than in N.Y. So as soon as I am a little fit to return to the field of battle I shall be again in your midst."

-From Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita

This letter inspires me to fight on against all the challenges(small and big) that I face as I attempt to practice Krishna Consciousness in this material world.