June 03, 2011

How I became so conceited

I read SRK's this blog post a few weeks ago and since then I have been thinking why I find it incorrect.

I just remembered something that happened 5 years ago.  Someone was asking for some technical help on a mailing list of the Madurai Kamaraj University alumnus.  Someone gave a blatantly wrong answer (that's what I thought back then) and I responded with a message that started with a "WTF".  A senior of mine posted this response:
It does not behave well for any member of the group to use such unparliamentary terms in the mails sent to the group.
  This is not a motley group of friends chit chatting amongst themselves through mails.It has members who are quite senior, having more than 10 years of experience in the Industry. So let the decorum of such an August group be preserved.
I didn't like that at all and I stopped being active on the list.  I was simply reading mails and when I wanted to help people, I mailed them privately.  (I have always hated the "I am elder, respect me" attitude of many of my seniors. It badly hurt my ego to think that they scrutinise and criticise the mails I wrote.)

Fast forward a few years.  The mailing list had become a place exclusively for "job openings" spam.  It's not like people who are looking for a job have nowhere to find openings.  It's not like recruiting is done only a few times a year.  All companies are recruiting all the time, so I didn't find those "Company X is hiring" mails useful.  I sent a mail to the list proposing that either people don't send such mails or they send them to a different mailing list.  It wasn't very well received.  A few weeks went and I unsubscribed from the mailing list.  I am completely disconnected from the MKU community now.

All of these happened after I had joined Google.  Madurai Kamaraj University is not one of those elite institutions where Google visits for campus recruitment, so one of the questions I frequently get asked by my juniors is "how can I get a job at Google?"  In that regard, I am more privileged than most others from MKU.  I am like those "rich people" SRK describes... I stay away from the rest of the crowd because I work at Google.

But the reality, at least my version of it, is different.  People who have worked with me or studied with me would know this: even in schools and colleges I was like this.  Two similar-looking girls were my classmates in MCA; it took me two or three semesters to get their names right.  A big percentage of my class has never spoken to me (apart from maybe a hi when we happen to see on the hallway).  It's very easy now to paint me "conceited Google employee" and add me to a "rich, so won't laugh at our jokes" bucket.  But the reality is people are just different.  Infinitely more different than we can define categories to put them in.

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