Wednesday, 8th April, 2020


'Benching' of IT employees not a new concept, has been happening since Mahabharata

02, Sep 2014 By hary

Bangalore. The term “Bench” in several Software companies is synonymous to a handful of employees being unassigned without any projects. The thin thread that differentiates between being unemployed and bench is the monthly salary payout, and this has been in research by Archeological department and HR’s of major organization for a long time.

So how did the word come into picture?

Before that, it’s prudent to know where and how do you find them i.e. the Bench. Here are seven ways – covering the entire spectrum – that you can employ to find them:

Few IT companies even have special seats for benched employees.
Few IT companies even have special seats for benched employees.

  1. Easily the first place to look out would be the cafeteria, would be empty without them,
  2.  HR fun events like “Lemon on the spoon, Merry go round mela, Rangoli competition ( If you see guys helping the girls, then definitely they are from Bench)!
  3. The first ones to leave the building and last to enter in the mornings
  4. Probably the ones with less outlook traffic, as the only emails would be from internal circulation.
  5. The ones with the lowest notice/service period, they are sent out within a week of quitting.
  6. If you come across any GATE/GRE/CAT books in the lobby, cubicle these guys are not far away.
  7. Three people sharing one desktop.
  8. The term came into picture thousands of years ago and research points to Mahabharata. Remember Kauravas, the 100 brothers led by Duryodhana and Duhshasana?

    Yes, some researchers have claimed that all other 98 brothers were placed on “bench” by the great saint Veda Vyasa.

    The fact that they were executed in Kurushetra is pointed out as the fate that most bench employees meet. In modern times, in management terms, this execution is called performance appraisal, attributed to either non-performance or lack of opportunity to prove oneself.

    Researchers are further led to believe that even now, it is “Shakuni” the mastermind of Kauraas, who is reincarnated in the current generation as HR, and his legacy continues.

    The coincidence is remarkable and cannot be shrugged off easily. Fast forwarding to current scenario we see bulk of Software professionals in Bench, not knowing why they are and wondering where to go next. The organization makes use of them in every possible way; they are sometime the testers, then a developer, all of a sudden in production support, creating reports, Kings of Excel, Power point presenters.

    The same way in Mahabararata, the 98 Kauravas were bent to every possible vacancy within; swordsman, archer, gambler and finally had to nod along with whatever Duryodhana decides in the similar way our modern day professionals agree to whatever is being asked by the organization/management to do so.

    In modern times, the Bench has also been equated with Bollywood by some researchers. For instance, in a movie or a song we see the hero and heroine dancing or performing a scene, we see various side artists in the screen as well. As the scene demands they keep walking from left to right, talking on the phone, sometimes get beaten up (poor fellas), however the movie is not complete without them. Folks in bench are like them, you see them every day, but they remain anonymous and important to the organization.

    To sum up with a punch dialogue “Employees in Bench are like the bunch of coins in your wallet, waiting to be used! Not at the right time, but eventually.”