Dipesh Majumdar

Blog and Paintings

Onsite Opportunity

There are so many of us who get an opportunity to work in USA, UK, Europe and Australia - particularly in Indian companies like Infosys, TCS, Wipro, Cognizant etc. Showcasing our skills at the highest level at client's location is a huge opportunity filled with many challenges.

Back in India friends and relatives check Facebook updates of the various locations, exotic places, restaurants, happy smiley images and can't help expressing a round lipped - wow... an ecstatic great etc with a soft murmur - how lucky or something like that.

What lies hidden and untold are the difficulties and challenges. In this blog post I have tried to express the meaning of "Onsite Opportunity"  from my perspective. It is also an attempt to bring out the other side - not the dark side - but the untold or unraveled side of such an opportunity.

Let's jump into it quickly without wasting any time. First of all there is a requirement for a project from client in a different country.  Such a requirement is handed over to the offshore manager - or someone who manages the offshore talent pool. A candidate will have to be identified fast.  At the client's location, generally a good candidate is chosen - whom the team back home has faith in from his earlier assignments - and they believe that the candidate can deliver. This is all nice and good.

However the requirements that come for an onsite opportunity - most of the time is so different and off the beaten track - that getting a perfect match from the pool of offshore talent is difficult. So chances are very high that a candidate at offshore is chosen and told that apart from your skill-set you might have to do other activities as well. You have to scale up a bit - stretch a bit - are you willing to take up the challenge? Answer is always a resounding YES from a candidate looking eagerly for an onsite assignment - because years of waiting for this moment would otherwise go ashtray - and who would risk that? Also onsite paycheck is impressive if you convert the currency to INR.

Now again coming back to the candidate who has been chosen to fly to the client's location. At the client's location the candidate sees a completely new environment, new technologies and new expectations. Now there are expectations from multiple sources - the offshore manager, the onsite manager and the stakeholders. Very soon the dramatic and scenic beauty of a beautiful foreign country - transforms into a nightmarish trap - and the candidate starts panicking.

Getting nervous and panicking is nothing new in work - it happens everywhere - India or abroad - doesn't matter, but back in one's own den - one is more comfortable - there is the sweet cocoon of the family -extended family - the sweet shelter of other managers and colleagues - whom we know and can share our problem with. But in a completely different country far away from home - it is different. The uncomfortable situation and pressure to perform can sometime snatch away the peace of mind in a nasty manner - so nasty that one gets up shivering at the middle of the night with sweat and accelerated heart beat. This is my case - others may be cool and comfortable at it - but I am somewhat neurotic and sensitive. I know it is bad but that is a problem I have to live with.

When things don't go very well - then everything looks like a big problem. A sensitive person may react at the way others interact with him. An egoist may simply revolt back - that may be labelled as bad attitude or something. Bottom line is - one realizes pretty soon that he has to perform. There is no other way - but it's not that easy - for the first time he has to look into database performance if he is a java person and vice verca. (Not always though). And if he was into coding - he might have to do weblogic adminstration or monitor apache configuration. If his expertise was development then he might have to do support-related activities. Not that always there is a mismatch - however the chances of a mismatch is high - how much percent - I don't know. Please get me right here.

Again not all is dark and bad - I don't say that - I am not painting a morose picture here - because things do get better. They get better with time. Patience is of utmost importance. But sometimes philosophy doesn't work - sometimes the wisest of the wise persons - starts scratching his head in the search of a correct answer.

Things do start to improve - with a few interesting and charming managers and colleagues around - with some support from Lady Luck, with God's grace and one's own single minded devotion and hard work. And this chisels one's own ability to work, perform and contribute. When one proves one's worth in such challenging situations, he is deemed as an asset by the company. And this should be the goal. However bleak and challenging the situation may be - the goal should be to overcome the hurdle and emerge out victorious. An opportunity to work should always be embraced - should never be frowned at - because there are many without job and waiting to showcase their talent - but they can't. Those who can must fee proud.

Once this initial hurdle is crossed - and once one familiarizes with work - once things stabilize - one can really enjoy. He can enjoy the morning sun, the blue sky, chirping birds,  the pristine water ripples underneath cold breeze, the greenery around and the white swans swimming in the vast lakes. One can then start enjoying the weekends - and afford to turn up a little late at work - sometimes - and one can breathe with ease. But not until the initial hurdle is crossed.

Like all opportunities in life - an onsite opportunity rarely knocks twice. So embrace with both hands when it strikes - and ascertain with determination that you would make a difference when you travel to such a far place from home. That people would depend on your work and depend on your contribution - and people both at onsite and at offshore would plead to carry on the good work that you would do - know then for sure-  that an onsite assignment would be best relished. It would be so sweet then.

All those happy smiles at exotic locations, sea beaches, museums, Disney worlds etc - would only be a by product of your contribution at work.

Note: If you have liked this post, like and share (buttons for like, share - provided below). Also you can read part2 of this post here.

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