What does he do for a living?

Since the day I got into an engineering college, my mother has been proudly saying “Majha mulga computer engineer ahe!” . I used to get amused by her pride, and it still makes me smile that she is happy for me (love you Aai :-) ). As days went by and I graduated to become a software developer, the “Computer engineer ahe” line was still there. Even when I got admission into one of the better known b-schools in the country, Aai would still tag me with Computer engineer.

The point is that sometimes you feel stereo-typed with the tag. People still ask me to troubleshoot their Windows. I dont mind doing that, but to expect me to visit their place at Borivali just because something is wrong with their Internet Explorer?? Sometimes I think I need a tag which defines my work and competency space better than “Computer Engineer”.

When I started working in a start-up, explaining to my family what I do became slightly more difficult. I was in charge of handling and building the technology on an entire organization. A lot of work which required a considerable bandwidth of know-how across the tech domain – a CTO in a nutshell. Whenever someone would ask, prompt would come the reply “Majha mulga computer engineer ahe!” . I kind of prefer IIM grad, but I dont think many people know about them – with people I mean the old aunty types, who ask your mother (in a nasal twang) “Kaay karto tumcha mulga?” The ones that sometimes do know about then quip “Oohh! Ahemadabad hoy?”, mother then simply says “To computer engineer ahe!!”” . Then I would butt in to say – “I sell shirts” rather than the oft repeated computer engineer tag.

These days I am working in a knowledge lab. We work on designing knowledge interventions and designing models which can change communities to become more productive and human oriented. I hope I got it right in this one line. My specific job entails a mini-CTO who is in charge of taking care of all technology details. Now what?!? I think “Majha mulga computer engineer ahe!”  is there to stay :-)

14 thoughts on “What does he do for a living?”

  1. You are extremely articulate in putting your heart out Kida. Very rightly said, except for the fact that ‘Computer Engineer’ still sells like hot cakes in the typical Marathi society we stay in. Even my mother’s “Manager ahe to eka mothya companicha… Mumbai la asto” is an extremely convincing answer. “Dhanda sudhha suru kela ahe aajkal” has been added to it recently. I’m the second eldest son in the entire paternal and maternal family. SO as a result every one who wants to be any one in Management keeps calling me at least once every month.

    When they do… the “Manager ahe” feels like “Pradhan Mantri ahe to” :-)

  2. Yup, tags are bad. Just ask half the Enginnering students who got Tagged with ‘IIT aspirant’ just because they went for a coaching class…

  3. @Mayur – lol. Rightly said :))
    @Rajat – see, that tag works for you nicely!
    @Ashutosh – thanks for dropping by! Often simplicity is the best way for satisfaction!
    @Arr0w – yes, and often we need to struggle with those tags or choose to bear them proudly with us

  4. The best thing abt being in Advertising is that you dont have any pesky advertising aspirants. :D
    I guess nobody aspires to get into advertising, ever!

  5. Explaining your job cannot be an easy thing…

    I have been working with banks since last 3 years. Though my job profile is not that of a typical banker. So one typical liner “banket aahe!” doesnt apply to me.
    Basic description of my work is “Storage Manager/Engineer”. After working with Storage Networks for last 5-6 years, I still don’t meet many who know what it means.
    Being a hardcore techie, I also dont take it easy to be tagged “banketala manager” but its no fun trying to explain :)

    One guy I know is a Computer Security expert. Few years ago, when he told that to his would-be father-in-laws, both thought he is a supervisor for watchmen in the office!

    I have stopped calling myself a “storage engineer” since then.

  6. I really like your style of writing.. lucid and engaging. Builds the picture in front of the eye!! Should have noticed earlier :-)

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