Catching a flight!!

This is something I wrote sometime ago for an editorial in a newsletter.. If you are planning to catch the flight, or have already taken one, you might find this interesting.

Most engineering students who enter the software industry nurture a common dream – to go onsite. From day one, sincere efforts are made to be the best, stand out in the crowd, so that the manager picks him/her as the next candidate for visa processing. Getting your name in the visa applicants list is half the goal achieved. What is it about ‘going onsite’? Is it the 23-hour Boeing airplane ride which one literally sits through or is it merely the feeling that you are in the United States of America, the most powerful nation on the globe?
Going onsite can be compared to a child’s first day at school. Till that day, the child grew up in a cozy, protected atmosphere of his house. Suddenly one day he faces a new environment, a whole new group of people he’s never seen before, a different culture and the rest of the story is how he adapts to this change.There are pros and cons to this location-specific work environment. Onsite means exposure to the client personnel, ready accesses to project documents and of course the symbol before the numbers on your paycheck. Onsite personnel get the opportunity to be involved in the initial phases of the project, which one lacks when at offshore. The ability to represent one’s firm at the client place is a distinction by itself. And there is tremendous opportunity to grow and sharpen your communication skills. A ‘popular’ myth about working onsite is that you get to wear jeans and sneakers to work. No Sir! USsociates embody organizational values even in their attire. Its business casuals all the way.
All said and done, the basis of survival – food, is a problem for many. Either you align yourself to the American fast food groove or mark the nearest Indian grocery store on your local map as a default location.
On the other hand, to live and work in an environment we grew up in gives us a sense of belonging and comfort. The vast sea of technical expertise and guidance at the offshore location is impeccable. Oops! I missed to mention the array of non-technical activities and personal development opportunities that knocks at one’s door, rarely found at onsite. Being in India, equates to being at home, marking your attendance at most of the celebrations in your family – birthdays, weddings anniversaries et al.
So which is better – onsite or offshore? Let us not bother about this argument, because the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence and we will never stop dreaming!
In conclusion, don’t get carried away by your onsite-returned colleague and his paraphernalia, and don’t let your mother’s food hold you back; success is defined by dedication, passion and teamwork.. Not location!

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