After a period of unemployment for me, a former employer, ERLphase Power Technologies
, contacted me and said they were looking for someone to assist the product development team at their parent company, Easun Reyrolle Limited
of Bangalore, in the development of a new protective relay. This work is right up my alley, as I’ve done this type of work for most of the past twenty years (wow has it been that long? ). So, I signed on for the job.
Bangalore time is 10-1/2 hours ahead of Winnipeg time. This means that in order for the team in Bangalore to “meet” with me (using Skype), I zip to the office early for 7 AM, while for the Bangalore team it’s the end of their day at 5:30 PM, and they stay into the evening to talk to me. Amazing.
We were having these meetings pretty consistently on Tuesdays and Fridays, and often other days too, trying to get me to understand the work that has been done, the requirements of the product, the decisions that have been made.
Language was a bit of an issue – or rather, English accents. My accent is more gibberish to the Indian team, and I struggle sometimes to understand what they say. The occasional burp of Skype didn’t help matters.
Some days, the Bangalore team could not make the connection – due to power outages, or Internet problems. This, combined with the language issue and the plain difficulty of communicating over so great a distance with people you hardly know, made progress slow.
Originally, we planned to have key members of the Bangalore team come to Winnipeg to work with me and others. Unfortunately, visa restrictions made an extended trip impossible – and an extended trip was the right thing, just not going to happen right now.
So, it was planned that I would travel to Bangalore for a couple of weeks and assist in person. Now, I had nothing against India, but I really didn’t have much interest in going there. But, my frustration at slow progress made me lobby to make the trip.
Norbert Wegner, Hardware Development Manager, was to accompany me on the trip. We booked the flights, booked the hotel… and prepared to jet away!