Standing alone on the terrace of the five-storey building, Kishore Kumar (name changed) pondered: One jump perhaps would put an end to all his travails. Fortunately, the software engineer called up his friends, and they dissuaded him from taking the extreme step.
He was later diagnosed with chronic depression and acute stress resulting in psychosomatic disorders and was advised to take a three-month break from work.
While Kumar was saved, several others working in the lucrative software industry end up being part of an unending cycle of stress and depression, representatives of the industry claim. IT professionals undergo extreme work pressure as they are bound by deadlines, but what breaks the back is lack of effective redressal systems, says Y. Kiran Chandra from the IT employee association, ForIT.
“Writing software codes is a highly technical subject and takes a lot of mental energy as each command we write has to be logical. Imagine a person being in this situation for almost 14 hours day after day, that too with deadlines looming large. Despite this scenario, the avenues provided for employees to de-stress are bare minimum,” he alleges.
To compound the problems, many employees are not able to seek counsellors’ help for the simple reason of paucity of time, he maintains. Apart from work pressure, many young professionals also face social and economical pressures, says Raveena, an IT employee.
“IT has become a great melting pot for people from different backgrounds. But those who come from smaller towns and villages face difficulty in adjusting to the cosmopolitan work environment,” she observes.
Because of extended and often unearthly working hours the traditional support systems provided by family and friends breaks down, leaving the professionals vulnerable. The death of two young software professionals in the last few months points to the deep systemic problems that cosmetic investigations cannot cure, says Raveena.
“Owing to lack of proximity and time, many of us feel a certain disconnect with the traditional structures of family and friends. And office environment, often impersonal, fails to provide support, forcing many to take the extreme step,” Shanti, another professional.
(Some names quoted in the article have been changed on request)