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How to Work with Generation Z in a Tech (Sweat) Shop

Ravi loves writing within the realm of relationships, history, and the bizarre—where boundaries are blurred and possibilities are immense.

A Disclaimer

Before you form an incorrect mental image of a poorly-lighted, climatically-challenged, fear-driven, dingy sweatshop run by an iron-clad dictator, let me correct you.

I am a manager for a tech services company based out of India. We are also lovingly called sweatshops, body shops, cost-cutting shops, etc. We have also been nicknamed owls (night owls, day owls, twilight owls, accented owls, etc.), providing round-the-clock technical resolution services to our esteemed customers in the US and Europe.

A Typical Day in Your Life

Now let us start with a typical day in your life (that is, if you happen to be in my shoes someday.)

At 2.00 AM any day, you will receive an angry call from the US. (Your luck is rotten if it happens to be on a Sunday morning)

“Treasury application is not working. Deals are not flowing. What the hell are you guys doing?”

You mumble-jumble something about “getting it rectified ASAP," half-awake, half-asleep as the barrage of words bore mercilessly into the deepest recesses of your somnambulistic state.

You immediately call your superstar team member ,a generation Z with loads of attitude!!. He does not pick up your call. You keep on persisting, but he does not answer. Finally, you call his wife's number. Mercifully, she picks it up.

She is annoyed. He is defiant. You cajole, plead, threaten, and finally give him an impromptu lecture on the "call of duty towards the customer. " He starts working. You sigh in relief.

Three hours pass by. Three hours of uneasy calm. He is still working. No solution in sight yet. You twiddle a stress ball with your fingers. It is supposed to help but does not.

You toy with a brilliant idea of going to the gym (You are already awake at an ungodly hour, why not!). There is a fight between your body and the laptop, with the laptop screaming, "Don’t go. Other things can wait!” The laptop wins.

You continue staring at the screen, uselessly waiting for some magic to happen.

  • At 6.00 AM Sharp, SLA (Service Level Agreement) gets breached. All hell breaks loose.
  • The Gen-Z “superstar” team member is not reachable now. (You pray to God that he is still working!).
  • At 6.01 AM, a high-profile customer calls and vents his frustration.
  • At 6.02 AM, your boss calls and gives you a piece of his mind.
  • At 6.03 AM, the boss’s boss calls and lectures you on “robust processes and techniques to be followed.”
  • At 6.04 AM, The US country head sends a stinker email to every possible recipient in the company.
  • And within the next 10 minutes, you become the official punching bag globally.

Finally, you get the call you are desperately waiting for.

Your superstar solves the issue. You thank him profusely, cursing inside (bugger, what took you so long?). You update all the possible people you can. But the damage is done.

So, nobody even says, “Thank you.” Only a curt “OK” from your boss implying “we need to talk.” You sigh. That means this year's appraisal also has gone to the dogs.

Peace Reigns Again…….

You start a new day drained, depleted, and dishonored. You arrive at work and get dragged into post-mortems at different levels for the next nine hours.

Your meaningless pursuit for minimal justification starts at the company's parking lot, where you spend the next thirty minutes trying to finish an impromptu call with a Principal Technical Architect.

He is another generation Z with FAME (Fame, Attitude, Money, and Education).Needless to say,he is the company's prized,blue-eyed whizkid having veto powers over all.And nobody would dare to annoy him.

He had been commissioned “urgently” by the organization on special request to get into the root cause of the issue (deep-dive in purely technical terms). His humongous jargon further depletes your impoverished state of mind to dangerously low levels.

After finally completing the pompous bugger’s call (almost banging down the mobile with mixed emotions of hunger and anger), you head to the nearest food court to eat your first morsel of the day.

But before you could even take baby steps to satisfy your gut, you receive a summons from your boss to head towards the meeting room in the next two minutes, where an impressive assembly of senior management would be waiting for you to begin your inquisition (again the root cause of the issue, this time in management terms).

By mid-afternoon, you are tired. You had already explained the root cause of the issue four times, and the fifth was in the making, and no one in the room was even remotely interested in hearing your side of the story. Everyone had already finalized the scapegoat, and it was only a minor matter of sharpening the knives.

You fend off yet another attack of micro-sleep, which is now invading you with remarkable frequency. Ultimately, you give up the fight as your mind dreams about sandwiches and burgers you may get to eat once the meeting ends.

The meeting finally ends. Everybody is sad and mad at you. You are asked to submit a plethora of documents explaining the issue (the root cause, of course) and its aftermath to various people (some of whom you have never heard of nor met) across the world within the next one hour.

As you frantically collect, borrow, and steal data to fill those documents, your impending hunger becomes an unfulfilled dream.

Finally, you reach your seat. Four-Fifths of the day had already burned out ingloriously, and work for the day is piled on your seat in untidy loops. The magnitude of pending work deflates the remaining last vestiges of your self-control as you stage a mini-rebellion and head back home, leaving everything as it is.

You Head Home

You switch off your phone, power off the laptop, and turn off the lights at home.

You let your mind wander aimlessly around in the soothing darkness, dreaming about the day when you will be the boss of your own company and do something meaningful every day that you would be proud of. As the copious tears dry away, the greenish-bluish bottles of beer bring a semblance of relaxation to your screwed-up life.

Two hours later, you start feeling guilty.

You cannot do this. You need to serve your customers. Customers are God. Customers might be trying to reach you. You switch on your mobile. You open your laptop. You answer some emails. You solve some queries. You feel better now, somehow.

Life is not that bad after all! People need me, after all!

Tomorrow can be a better day. You are drunk. You are sleepy, and now you are happier. You finally drift off to sleep.

At 2.00 AM, you receive an angry call from the US……….

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Ravi Rajan