Monday, February 12, 2007

The 8 hour shift that never is

There's more to the 8-hour stumper, the number of hours an e-learning professional spends in office. For most Indian companies the 8-hour mantra remains a pleasing jargon -- to be uttered by sweet-mouthed and 'cute' HR executives (the bait). And it just cannot be practiced. After all 'we are a family'. Surely they are!


Cleverly hidden inside this practice of extended work hours lies a hidden agenda, a vile lucidity that transcends beyond mere rhetorics. For most Indians in the e-learning industry the salary they earn is not for an 8-hour job, 5 days a week, its for delivering more. After all such long and extended hours of work deliver nothing except gimmicks in the form of shabby food and the pride to travel in a so-called cab.


Time-centric employee politics has some to be the mainstay of most Indian e-learning companies in India today. Its not uncommon to witness IDs and graphic designers spending sleepless nights over courses, endlessly. They hope that after this one project, this last effort they will be able to return home on time. And even as such hope remain chained within the deepest realms of cognition, e-learning professionals register a whole range of health related issues.


Perhaps its too early for the industry and too early for us to witness strong non-nonsense e-learning professionals who are qualitative and assertive to the core. Perhaps it the clients to be blamed who ride on an ill-conceived value of outsourcing -- cost. Till then IDs and Graphic Designers have to carry on with that 12-14 hour shift. What they loose in the process is a decent human life, a desire to give quality time for themselves and their families, and live a life of contentment. Are e-learning employees humans?

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said. I've been working in elearning/interactive learning for over 20 years in the UK and it's the same here. It's a competitive market and sales people do promise the earth to get the contract. Add that to the fact that clients either change their mind, don't respond to review phases, want everything changing even though they've signed off and you get a recipe for unpaid over time. Companies wouldn't survive without it.

There are always new people coming into the field and they will always work late for no overtime.

It's not just in India.
Robert, UK

Prakash said...

But there should be an end to it. Why should we work latehours while owners of companies make the Mollah!!

Karthick said...

Buddy,

I agree to that. E-learning companies are rapidly becoming like BPOs in India or maybe worse. Even while the salary is woeful the companies are extracting the last bit of blood from employees.

Blunt_man said...

Too good...

RK said...

Too good dear....

Anonymous said...

hey buddy,
i thought that u'r working in my company after reading this article.
Well said..but do we have any solution for this ??
i don't think so ...anyway lets hope that someday this will change ...
Rgds

Do-or-die-fanatic said...

This should change in the coming days or the business scene will change....India is definately a dirt cheap place where everyone is nothing but a service provider....quality is a far cry...

COnsider our bollywood movies for instance. Inspite so many quality movies coming out of hollywood, Bollywood still graples with so-called LEGENDS like Amitabh Bachchan, who in my opinion is a media created image and nothing more...Do you have a solution for this??

Anonymous said...

I ve been working in this industry for more than 2 years and the only thing that i know is ultimately the seniors end up blaming the resources that they are ones who are responsible who staying back late.

The reasons here vary from being inefficient, chatting , long breaks, talking on phones. They will never accept the fact that the workload is more....

This is not enough they even go to the extent of asking the employees to work on weekends to meet the impossible deadlines....

Hope there is an end to all of this.

Anonymous said...

I would say there are many aspects to this issue. And it is not only in eLearning. Or only in India.

1. The work practices have changed. Employees are more connected {web, mobiles etc} and they need to introspect if they are really putting in serious 8 hours worth effort. 12 hours in office may sometime not be the same as 8 hours of work. Think!

2. There is competition and hence pressure is increasing on resources everywhere around the world - not only in India. Read the other post in this article from someone in UK. It seems China and some European countries have started quoting lower rates than India for eLearning development. That's the 'future of work'. So brace up!

3. eLearning development is iterative. Clients are not as responsive or sure about what they want. Pressure ultimately adds up on development resources. But this is changing. Gradually clients wordwide are realizing why eLearning development is unique and not like any other software or multimedia development.

4. If not managed well, most PMs would surely try to find a scapegoat. So they need to be made accountable for Quality, Timely Deliveries and Employee Motivation. If a company has a practice of 360 deg. feedback it should be a good balancing method.
I know it works.

5. And most importantly, the employers should share the wealth created. After all its the ressources who are adding value. They would surely be keen to put efforts if the return are there.

I firmly believe, all issue can be resolved is the emploers and employees can be in constant, open and frank dialogue. This is just one of them.

Anonymous said...

This made a gud read.All comments are justified. But to a gud extent, even the employees are responsible for the late working. As in many companies, its become a life style or trend to hang around in the offc till late as many of the employees are frm outstations. Besides, most of the employees are too afraid to speak up for inhuman working hrs.

Anonymous said...

well for me its fine so far ... lets see ... i am in USA but for sure ..we r loosing job to india ...

Asim said...

Hi Asim....this is Asim from Pune. I have been associated with elearning since 3 and a half years now. I totally agree with you with the work hours and hard work we designers put in an elearning company...and in return get nothing...no growth....it has been diappointing even after giving more than what is expected! :( The management and the business analysts are mainly responsible for this...committing to crazy deadlines and then we suffer!! what could be the solution to this...switching to any other stream???

Anonymous said...

The only reasons seem to be:
1. The person who commits to the client does not get his hands dirty. In fact he doesn't even begin to understand the process and the time involved. The only product he knows is MS-Project, MS-Excel and MS-Powerpoint in which he shows the top management and clients some fancy figures.
2. The worker bees are not part of the initial client briefing. So the entire project requirement information is deteriorated and contorted by the time the information actually percolates down. Like the classic game of Chinese Whispers.
3. Lack of mid-level leaders who empathize with their staff. These so-called leaders want to earn quick recognition from their superiors and don't ever say NO.