Sunday, May 21, 2006

I started my new job last Monday. I’m now a Senior Software Developer for Apollo Group, Inc., the parent company of the University of Phoenix. By and large, it was a good first week, though I must say I’m experiencing a bit of culture shock. No, not because I’m now working for a strong, growing company that isn’t perpetually teetering between stagnation and bankruptcy, but because about 75% of my new colleagues are Indian imports.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked with Indian programmers before, and have found them to be very courteous, diligent and capable. It’s just that I’ve never worked in an environment where they dominated the entire office. As the week wore on, I slowly became acclimated to the cultural oddities of this mini-Bombay in the heart of Phoenix. Here’s a quirky example: Monday morning as I walked through the cube farm and read everyone’s name plates I became quite tongue-tied. Check out these plates in front of my cube and see if you can spot which one is the Indian:

Give up? Manivannan is from India. The other one is me, obviously. How about this one?

Thankfully, Ramkumar goes simply by Ram, which makes things nice and simple for the minority of us in the office who are accustomed to names that don’t look like some twisted alphabet soup jumble (though I’m sure some uninitiated Indians may wonder why Sean is pronounced Shawn despite its spelling). It turns out that most of the Indians actually prefer to be called something other than their impenetrable monikers. When I attempted to read Manivannan’s name plate, he politely spared me further embarrassment and said I could call him “Mike”. I don’t know how Mike is derived from Manivannan (I would have thought “Manny” or “Manuel”), but I’m not complaining. I appreciate the truncation, though it would probably be helpful for everyone in the office, Indian and native alike, if the name plate text included the preferred short form as well, like Manivannan “Mike” Arumugam, Chandrasenkar “Sanjay” Adumbadi, and Raghevendar “Ragu” Jaliswali.


At 5/23/2006 7:54 AM, Blogger BACdanielle said...

Glad you had a good first week of work. I would have called that guy "Minivan"! 8^)


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