April - 2006 issue > Sage Speak
Hard work Vs Smart Work
Imran Shahnawaz
Saturday, April 1, 2006
What kind of work appeals more to people? Some believe in hard work while others believe in smart work. And for many like Amit Agarwal, Managing Director, Web Services, Amazon India Development Center, it is a combination of both. Agarwal says, “People should work smart, however, working smart without working hard takes you no where. What counts is being aware of what you are good at and what you want to be.”

Agarwal says, “If people are working just because they are driven by perception around them, then they are not working smart.” People stay late in office; take office work home and bring it back, which is not the organized way of doing work. What is lacking here is self-awareness and time management. Nobody else can manage your time. As far as self-awareness is concerned, Agarwal feels, people need to find their own paths, set milestones and ways to reach those milestones. “A career is not something which others can pitch for you, it's your job to find what is good for you and how smartly you can do it,” he adds.

Don't play Safe!
Getting a secure job after graduating from engineering and business schools is every body’s dream. However, instead of looking for a secure job, taking a risk of joining a start up or by leaning towards entrepreneurship to create something new that can give a different dimension to one’s career, feels Tensilica Inc’s Founder, President and CEO, Chris Rowen. And that is the whole story behind the genesis of Tensilica Inc.
With nine years of hands-on experience in entrepreneurship, Rowen says, “Joining a startup or taking a risk of being an entrepreneur means dealing with uncertain outcomes.” However, it gives a good exposure to one's career as a startup always deals in finding something new while large companies deal in the higher version of what has already been found, he added. Start-ups give opportunities to understand the interaction between the technology and business. “That was the driving force behind me to start my own company to understand the concept of technology and business in the light of finding new things,” says Rowen, adding, “Don’t look at a safe job, take risks and enjoy the pleasure of finding new things.”

Cultivate the right attitude
It’s as hot as the chicken or egg debate. It is a debate on whether testing and support functions are secondary to software development. Is marketing just adding bells and whistles? This debate is heard among a lot of techies. Siravara Vijayendra, Country Manager, IP Unity Communications knows the story better. With more than twenty years of product development and service provider experience he says a lot of young engineers have preconceived notions on the value of their individual roles and fail to appreciate the big picture that makes them and their companies successful. Vijayendra too had similar notions during early years of his career. However he was quick to see that the entire company has to work coherently and at the highest standards to make the company successful.

“When you are young and not experienced you tend to have a mindset that your function is superior to other functions. It is a universal mindset that development is superior to other functions,” says Vijayendra about his initial preconceived notion. Every one involved from conceptualizing a product, to developing, selling and supporting the product add value to the company. The cultural mindset is to associate development as superior work because of its first-worked-upon- advantage and the implied creativeness. “Testing and support functions typically follow the development process. People tend to think of it as a secondary function. In reality product development is never complete without testing. To a large extent support function is the face of the company and projects the image of the company. Testing and support personnel must be as intelligent and creative as the developers,” points out Vijayendra.
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