“Bench – either you’re on it, or your not ! “
The thing about being a ‘Software Engineer’ or ‘techie’, as some people call us (….I can tolerate any of the names that people refer us to, except for ‘SOFTIE’ …..it kinda makes me feel like one of those MTR cone ice-creams you get on the sidewalks of M.G.Road for 6 bucks !) is that either you are dead-busy (when 24 hours are just not enough in a day !), or you’re utterly jobless, struggling to watch the clock drag its way past the 6PM mark !
As they say, the SDLC (Software-DEVELOPER’s Life Cycle) is very much similar to Bangalore roads – with a lots of ups and downs and a few pot-holes thrown in ! …….sort of like the stretch between Ulsoor lake and NGEF ! After a heavy peak, there would invariably be a deep trough ……but in my case, I’ve more or less been on fire throughout my career !
At the moment, I’d truly-madly-deeply love to be on ‘bench’ ……(for the benefit of the ill-informed, non-techie – ‘bench’ does not allude to one of those wooden seats at Cubbon park, where u sit cuddling ur girl-friend, trying to enjoy the evening breeze, whilst remaining conscious of the multitude of crows above your head wanting to strike, at the same time watching out for any have-no-other-business pot-bellied cops who get more sadistic pleasure in screwing up your romantic happiness, than go out and solve/prevent the numerous criminal offences and muggings that happen around Bangalore these days ! )
The point is – ‘bench’ is yet another term in the ultra-creative ‘techie’ jargon that refers to the state of being out of projects at the moment (in the big companies, this ‘moment’ could even last years), and all you do is NOTHING useful [unless of course, u consider chatting, orkutting, napping, sipping coffee at the cafetaria or blankly staring at your Inbox, waiting to pounce on that lone mail – as highly relevant activities keeping ur long term goals/aspirations in mind !!!] and even get paid for it !!!
In short – it is the state when “LIFE KEEPS CALLING” and more importantly – “you ANSWER it” !
Strangely though, my friends in the other teams or corporations – who’ve been blessed with the ‘bench’, don’t quite seem excited about it …..they fret about extreme boredom, frustration, restlessness and of making people prematurely philosophical/spiritual in wanting to follow Gautam Buddha’s footsteps and try and find the meaning/purpose of life!
Hmmmmmm, sounds good to me ! …..I’d rather be on the highway to Nirvana, than go through what I’ve been going through in the last 2 years!
The ‘bench-campers’ (as we call them here), on the other hand, long to be in my shoes ……………and I, in theirs !!! – sort of like the classic case of the bachelor versus the married-man…..both wanting to swap places with each other !
But whatever said and done, I’d still want to experience the ‘bench’ ….atleast for a while, and feel the ground-level reality…..until I get bored of it and wanna return to my ‘Always-ON’ mode !
As Calvin rightfully says – “There’s never enough time to do all the ‘nothing’ that u ever wanted to!!!”