Sometimes...benching is good!

March, 2001

The most dreaded 5-letter word in the IT consulting industry is the 'B-E-N-C-H". There are various flavours of being on the bench ranging from one month to a layoff. Sometimes the slowing down of the US economy is good for India as Indian companies will have less projects on hand and will begin to explore other virgin markets like Europe and Japan. I often wonder what in the world will happen to the larger number of NRI Computer Engineers when the US suddenly stops outsourcing or ends it's H1B program or if George Serous bets on the American Dollar? Pondering on, what are the consequences of a brain drain slow down or benched consultants entertaining nostalgic Indian memories.

Believe me, when one is 26 years, single, working on the bleeding edge of technology in a superpower economy, earning somewhere around $100K,who will have the time to think about one's roots? I recall being excited about coming across return2India.com web site and suggested the same web site to my rich technocrat NRI friend. He arrogantly dismissed me with the words, "Hello.., why in the world are you looking there? I am going to have a site called Welcome2America.com!"

No, this person is not non-patriotic. He is more patriotic than anybody else. But, he was engulfed in the same daze as many young, hot-blooded, $1000 digital camera wielding individuals. Now that he and his several friends are on the bench due to the yawning US economy, he surprisingly called and asked, "Hey! What was that site you mentioned?" Interestingly, he is exploring various job options in India. It is not that he is not getting offers in the US. Being a sharp guy he has several offers but he is still debating on accepting an offer. I figured, suddenly something snapped in him, which made him slowdown!

I have realised, in spite of complaining about India during the good times, we definitely miss home when we are experiencing bad times. Is it not true that you think of your parents only when you are in trouble? No matter how frequently we change brands from Ralph to Armani when disaster strikes we are fortunate to have a feeling of being always welcome at a place we call home.

Frequent periods on the bench will soon encourage Indian companies and Engineers to think about generating work in India and not to depend on $$$ for their next dosa/roti.

Jai Hind!

PS: Yes, we do bitch about pollution, poverty, lack of opportunities, power, water, politics and sometimes even movies!

The views of this column are the author's own, and do not necessarily represent the views of NRI Online.

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