…Or is it? Couples who work in the same IT companies talk about being personal and professional partners
For better or for worse, most techies are married to their jobs. With their (rumoured) 14 hour-a-day work schedules packed with ‘conference’ calls, ‘client’ meetings, ‘project deadlines’, and so on, all of which are almost always untimely and often run late into the night, an IT professional’s work, lifestyle – and jargon – is best comprehensible only to other techies. Perhaps that’s why many IT professionals prefer to choose their life partners from the same profession. And a lot of them at IT companies across the city are very literal about being married to their jobs, it seems, preferring partners who work in the same companies.
Techies Adarsh Chandran and his wife, Nikhila Suresh, for example, have been working together at UST Global for the past five years now. “We really enjoy working together,” say the duo as MetroPlus catches up with them as they head home for the day, late on a Tuesday night. “The biggest advantage of working in the same company – or being married to a fellow IT professional – is that you don’t have to explain the crazy work schedules. If either of us has a project deadline looming, which requires us to work late into the night there are simply no questions asked. Better yet if it’s the same company. We know that it’s the name of the game,” says Adarsh. It’s a thought echoed by most other couples, in fact, often the first thing that they have to say. “There will be no issues or, more importantly, no doubts even if you have to work till 3 a.m. and go back to work at 9 a.m.!” says Sreelal R.L. who works at Arackal Digital Solutions. He’s married to Remyasree.
“She works on a Canadian project, while I work on a Japanese project – both countries on almost opposite ends of the time zone. So you can see how disparate our work schedules can get when its crunch time,” he says. The duo make up for it by working from adjacent cubicles.
In fact, a lot of couples who work in the same company seem to go out of their way to spend time together. While Adarsh and Nikhila make it a point to spend quality time when commuting to and fro from work together (“It’s the best time to talk and discuss everything. I get his undivided attention,” says Nikhila), Sreelal and Remyasree try to have lunch together, if schedules permit, of course. Says Merin Riya Mathew, a medical transcriptionist who works at M Squared Software and Services: “It’s all about making the effort, even if it is to meet up for coffee. I have a flexible work schedule but my husband, Jinu Jose, a manager in the company’s Human Resources department, is often quite busy. Yet, he makes the effort to juggle his schedule to be there whenever myself or our four-year-old son, Jake, or our families/friends need him. In fact, if we go for any family functions, it’s always together.” Adds Jinu: “I feel like I am curtailing Merin’s freedom a bit with my schedule, but she is very understanding.”
Most of these couples also get necessary support from their companies. When Vivek Shekar, who works at Infosys, married, Geeta Rani, who worked at Infosys Chennai, last February, she was given a transfer to Thiruvananthapuram. “We try and schedule our offs together, and we usually get a receptive response. The real advantage comes if your spouse has to go abroad for a long-term project. If he/she works in the same company I would imagine that it is easier for them to accompany you. Most companies would arrange it like that,” says Vivek. He and Geeta Rani, work at the same level in the company and are “still in the honeymoon period”. They say that they can’t think of any disadvantages of working together.
Most techies agree that there could be issues if couple work at different levels within the company. “It can get a little awkward, for everybody, especially when it comes to appraisals and promotions,” says Adarsh. Jack Eapen and his wife, Asha, meanwhile, who’ve been working at Suntec Business Solutions, for the past six years – say that there are certain practical difficulties while working on the same team. “Being on the same team often means that we cannot take long leaves together,” says Jack. “Also, as much as we enjoy working with each other, there tends to be too much of shop talk,” he adds. And, of course, there’s the fact that you’ve got to keep seeing your spouse every waking hour of the day! “Well, it is a crimp in the lifestyle…,” says Adarsh, with a laugh.