It wasn't a bright and sunny day. Nor could one describe it as dull and gloomy either. The sun was up there somewhere, but the huge cloud cover in the sky gave it no chance to sneak through. Once or twice it did though, and in those fleeting moments spread its glorious sunshine across the green lawn of the courtyard between the two buildings, Earth and Water.
Just then, another kind of brightness caught our eye. Five youngsters, lounging on the steps, seemed to be enjoying their coffee break and looking rather upbeat. We said to ourselves, "Ah, ha! Let's find out what makes these guys feel so good about being here?" The next day we did exactly that, though we managed to get only two, Shailesh (extreme left in the picture alongside) and Srinath (in dark glasses).
Seeking greener pastures elsewhere is a common occurrence, especially with youngsters and more so, in the IT industry. Nothing wrong with that. And the IT industry isn't any different. Everywhere people look to change. Companies don't exactly encourage people to leave but when new ideas come knocking at the door, they don't shut it either. It works both ways. So, when Shailesh decided to leave Tata Infotec in Bombay where he worked for about 3 years and 'hopped on to the opportunity' to join Digital, there was method. "When you start your career, 2-3 years later one feels the necessity to move on," explains Sailesh. "You always do a relative study. In Tata Infotec I was working in a product group. After some time you feel that you have contributed enough and there isn't much one can contribute and so, one looks at different challenges," he says, justifying his reasons for the move.
But what was 'cutting edge' about Digital? Shailesh had heard it to be a profit making company and therefore, in the current scenario, Digital seemed the better option. His other 'funda' was that if a company was growing, it ought to then have a good working culture. Which, to Shailesh, "is very, very essential." Obviously, his decision wasn't based on any sort of hang-up but on fact and logical conclusions.
Srinath, on the other hand, calls himself 'veteran'. He's from Chennai and has been with Digital for close to two and half years and came in straight from college to the 'best field at that point of time.' Strange, but isn't it still the best field even at this point of time?
Just as in college, where it's compulsory for seniors to rag new comers, new recruits at Digital are 'properly inducted' through a process widely known as 'Intro-session'. Dignified term, that. Of course, at college (especially in some colleges) students tend to go overboard resulting in nasty consequences. But at Digital, it's a 'welcome to adulthood' approach. Like conferring a Knighthood, except that instead of being asked to rise with the 'Sir' prefix, one is subject to a bit of banter. Shailesh quite liked it, when he was "Intro-ed" 3 months ago. "It was fun. It increased my level of comfort at Digital substantially. His face (pointing to Srinath who was at the giving end) became familiar." Who set this trend? "I don't know when it started but I know it existed even when I joined," says Srinath. "I think it's some sort of Digital culture," he adds.
What was the mood at Digital during the downturn? Apparently, that didn't dampen spirits as much as the HP-Compaq merger did, albeit, for just a brief period when Digital was in limbo. "That was the one eating into our brains," says Srinath. And with good reason. HP had a software service center in India and a pretty strong base too. Besides, many areas of domain did overlap. But, Srinath had a different perspective and that the bell tolled more for top management than at his level. "There's always a need for Software engineers," he mentions with a naughty expression on his face. Anyway, now that the one 'hiccup' is behind them, everyone is smiling happily ever after.
What do they think of the campus? "It's fantastic, says Srinath. "The environment is stimulating and the most important is the greenery. And I like the basket-ball courts," he says and bursts into laughter. "From a concrete jungle to Bangalore, it's fascinating," is how Shailesh looks at the city and the slow pace of life being the only negative point. Understandable, considering life in Bombay is mostly on the fast track.
Both these youngsters work in systems engineering and in storage, basically an application for storing huge amount of data for archiving and retrieving data over a period of time. And what made the session with Shailesh and Srinath interesting was their straightforwardness in expressing themselves. It's obvious that there's a strong sense of character at Digital and which is why they have so much of fun.
Ah! How true when poet Longfellow wrote, "Youth comes once in a lifetime."
Note: This story was written when the company was known as 'DIGITAL'.