Opinion engineer career corporate

I Declined The On-site Opportunity And I Don't Regret It

( words)
*For representational purpose only.

"Hey hurry up, the cab driver is waiting!" my husband told me as he took a quick sip from his cup of tea fighting the Monday morning blues. I hurriedly took the stairs and reached the cab. Recently, I had developed an addiction to the social media and immediately after settling in the cab I started scrolling through my WhatsApp and Facebook messages. As I checked the messages, I saw a message from a very dear friend of mine asking me about my health and well-being. Thanks to the Bangalore traffic, I knew that I had ample time to respond to the messages before I reached my workplace.

As I started chatting with my dear friend, gradually the topic drifted to work related things and my friend asked, "So, what’s new at work? Any new onsite opportunity after you turned the one down which came your way last year? But I definitely would not have missed such a chance." That was not the first time I was hearing this. Such comments varied from being crazy to hilarious and at times hurtful too.

I didn't want to continue with that topic and so I wrote back saying, "I have not given much thought to it" hoping it would end the discussion there.

However, that trendy topic had no intentions to pause and the surprised buddy of mine said, "What do you mean? What’s the point of working so hard when you don’t even avail or think of the opportunities of working abroad?" I am tired of answering this question and hence, abruptly ended the chat by giving some lame excuse and immediately closed the messenger. Ah! What a relief. But this overthinking head of mine delighted in the fact that it got something to ponder over for the day. Gosh "Am I a fool living in this IT industry with no onsite aspirations?"

I have seen colleagues at workplace/friends/relatives fight for the coveted onsite opportunity as they believe it is one of the most prestigious achievements for a software engineer. Here is my take on this onsite craze that grips most of us working in this IT industry inevitably, at least once.

Being in this IT profession for the past few years, I never had the notion that working from a foreign land will effortlessly categorize one as successful in this industry. I do agree that it helps us attain a fat bank balance but that might not be the only goal of all working in this industry. Some of us may just want to excel in our fields or technologies irrespective of the geographic work location.

Many belonging to this industry may not be willing to go due to innumerable reasons. But what is so uncanny about it? It’s not that I disapprove this idea of going abroad for work but what astonishes me the most is that it has become a parameter to assess one's capability or how much one has achieved in this industry. People seem to quickly make a judgement that if someone has not been on the site, it indicates that they are of less caliber or may not have worked hard and hence, conclude that they have achieved less in their careers as compared to their onsite counterparts. The number of years we spend working abroad is directly proportional to their success rate.

Is it not funny? I also think social media plays a pivotal role for this onsite craze. It has been a ritual to post check-ins, pictures of the famous places etc. when they are abroad.

Here, I need to mention that this kind of flaunting is only relevant for the 'developed countries' and I doubt if the same level of public display of affection is done for some under-developed or developing countries.

It’s good that you are sharing your happy moments with your friends but somehow it does add peer pressure. They start envying their friends which undoubtedly results in a yearning to go on-site.

Oh! How can I miss the role of our family and relatives in implanting this idea within us that it is a matter of pride to visit any of the foreign lands for work purpose and that will definitely exhibit how much their children have achieved in life? As soon as you visit a family whose children are abroad, they start flaunting their accomplishments leaving you with a void feeling and making one retrospect if you have achieved anything worthwhile.

It's high time we set our priorities correct and listen to our inner self to decide what is best for us instead of getting influenced by the rat race. Also, we need to come out of this false belief that working from onsite is a measure of your competence. 

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