Sunday, March 26, 2006

It Is Not Growing Like A Tree

It is Not Growing Like a Tree
by Benjamin Jonson

It is not growing like a tree
In bulk doth make Man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:
A lily of a day
Is fairer far in May,
Although it fall and die that night -
It was the plant and flower of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures life may perfect be.

The other day I met a director from a very renouned software firm. General discussion went on around with exchange of pleasantries. And he remarked that I have changed quite a few companies in a short period of my career. I was generally asking him how his career has been in his esteemed company and here are somethings from his statement which kind of stunned me.

I have worked in my current company for 14 years. There are 200 people reporting to me. We have a great culture of having both Individual Contributor and management career tracks. This dual track works very well in his team while it is not very successful elsewhere and blaah blaah...

I just felt asking him a reference of a senior individual contributor in his team. Anyway, I dare not ask that. That's his life and his team. But, what I realized if in a great company like where the person is working if definition of success for him is 14 years of service and a director tag and 200 people reporting to him, I guess there is something really unusual happening. Will this impress an outsider like me or is it to substantiate his own ego. Secondly, if a person's definition of success is 200 people reporting to him how can an individual contributor enjoy such an environment. Well, I am an outsider, why do I bother? We had couple of minutes of additional discussion and I thanked him for spending the time with me and bade good bye.