"Some birds aren't meant to be caged, their feathers are just too bright"- Morgan Freeman, Shawshank Redemption. This blog is from one such bird who couldn't be caged by organizations who mandate scripted software testing. Pradeep Soundararajan welcomes you to this blog and wishes you a good time here and even otherwise.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Saving your job versus speaking truth

Some of us have a designation such as “Software Tester”, or “Software Test Lead” or “Software Test Manager” but observing what we do at work makes me think our actual designation is “Job Saver”.

For every action to be performed we ask ourselves a question, “Would this take away my job?” and then do what we consider appropriate to get an answer “No” for the question. So, we never get to say what we want to say. Well, sometimes projects suffer a great deal because some of us hide the truth from the management.

Being in testing, which is a profession of providing information to business decision takers, hiding the truth is a disservice to them. Aren’t we crazy? We offer a disservice and expect our salaries to be hiked at regular intervals.

For instance, we know, functional coverage alone won’t be sufficient; especially when we are the only team testing that product. Yet, we don’t say, “Hey, look, we would be in a problem if we continue the same way. While you have others focus on functionality, I shall try covering non functional aspects”. Instead we listen to what the developers say or do what we have been asked to do because we are in a profession of saving our jobs.

I don’t know why only the test team is given instructions from other teams as to what to do and how to do. I also don’t know why such testers are hired? One thing I know is why such testers are paid less.

I know that a paying job is very important. I am an independent consultant and I have been without a paid work for a couple of months with a home loan EMI as much as 30,000 INR. For some of us not being in a paid work doesn’t necessarily mean without work. Sometimes non paid work generates paid work. Look at this blog, it has generated enough paid jobs for me. However, I dont blog necessarily to get paid. I would have been exposed as a fool if I did so. I don't run Google Ads. I love writing and I like to record things for my own purpose, if you get benefited by it, I am very happy. I like you to help me learn a few things. There is lot of learning in the comments section on my blog than in some of the posts. I am providing myself an opportunity to learn from you or maybe unlearn, too.

One of my responses in LinkedIn Software Testing & Quality Assurance generated a paid work of $1000. Another response helped me get a work as a Chief Tester of Beta Testing Skype based Dating application Skyecandy for 8 months and I hired some of my students to beta test them. Those who come to my public workshops are also those who might have read or heard about what I said somewhere to get convince to pay for the workshop. I hope they are gaining value for money.

To my fellow Indian testers, I am not so different from you. Wait, I am. As a matter of fact I lack some skills that you have. So, you can survive without being an employee and yet get paid work like how I do. However, you might want to lay a foundation to be able to survive without being an employee of an organization, right from today. If you won’t run out of money and work, you’d speak different than what you are doing today.

Please, I am not asking you to be arrogant. I am suggesting you to think about speaking your heart when it requires to.  If you are fired for sharing the truth then staying there won’t help your career growth either. So, you are liberating yourselves from a place where your career would stagnate.

Please, I am not asking you to get yourself fired but I am suggesting that, stagnating your career isn’t what you should be doing to yourself.

Firing you isn’t as easy as you may think it is. Having been a Test Manager, I know it’s not easy to say, “You are fired”. If it was so easy, you and I should have been fired multiple times in our career for the mistakes we did. That’s the proof in the pudding.

So be truthful, to yourselves and the organization that is paying you. When you do so, you gain a satisfaction that is not matched by any other rewards. When you speak truth, the organization benefits and when they benefit, they want to benefit you, too.

Are you afraid? Afraid of what?

Skill takes away fear. Unskilled people can be easily bullied. Be skilled or be bullied, the choice is yours.