Life In a Psu-A comparative analysis

Welcome Readers,
This following post is the first installment of article written by Ayush Srivastava in which he explains his prior working in IOCL and his subsequent joining in railways. He can be reached at


Hello Folks!!!

This is Ayush Srivastava, IRSE Probationer, 2013-exam batch. I find pleasure in introducing myself, briefly as follows:

Graduation: B Tech (Civil) from Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology, Bhopal.

Graduating year: 2013           Graduating GGPA: 9.41/10.00            PG: None

GATE-2013 AIR: 84                Engineering Services Exam-2013 AIR: 23

Campus Selection: IOCL          GATE Recruitment: IOCL

So I need not tell again that prior to joining the Indian Railways Service of Engineers, I was working with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., a public sector undertaking, under the Government of India. I was in line for the preparation of ESE since the beginning of my pre-final year, and so I won’t be much of a help in case you ask me WHAT TO DO and WHAT NOT in, say 3 or 4 months, prior to ESE for clearing the same. Seeing the whole lot of time I took in securing a “meh” rank like 23 in an exam like ESE, you are absolutely right with your conclusion that I was (and am) more of an average student requiring a lot of toil to move meager distances and keep things in my small head. But I am not here to talk about myself, but to share something which might help some of you, even though I am not sure of that.

So, after persistent hammering for 2 months, by my very good friend and a great blogger, Amit Singh, I finally present here, solely from my personal experiences, some scribbling related to stuff like:

  1. Life in a PSU
  2. ESE departments and a PSU like IOCL, NTPC and ONGC: An attempt of comparison.


I was selected in IOCL through campus as well as GATE score shortlisting. I joined IOCL on 22.07.2013 and worked there till 30.11.2014. I was working as Project Engineer in the Pipelines Division of IOCL at Allahabad and was involved in the shifting of Barauni-Kanpur underground oil pipeline. I am mentioning about my job profile at IOCL, here, to make you feel the nature of work that I was into. It was the best that IOCL could have offered to a civil engineer. Some major TECHNICAL issues which I looked after were construction of small buildings, preparation of petty estimates, concreting at field, route survey for pipeline and studying soil test reports. Besides these, I had to do a lot of letter drafting.

So what I gathered from my tenure of 16 months in IOCL can be summarized as:

  • You are related to what you have studied in your engineering, between 0%-10%, while you are on job in a PSU. This applies to some of the companies only viz. IOCL, ONGC, NTPC, SAIL and GAIL and that too for civil engineers specifically. I am not talking about core civil PSUs like RITES, NHPC and the like, as I bear no experience of these. Now this may become a point of work dissatisfaction for many (it was for me…I am not sure of others) as to be doing something completely not of your prime interest.
  • In a PSU, or I should say at my office at IOCL, apart from an engineer, I was an unsung stenographer who gathered the material for a letter, the typist who typed it, the incognito peon who carried the draft to the boss for approval, again the typist who corrected it if required, the office boy who dispatched the letter and the neat engineer who then dealt with the party to whom the letter was addressed, regarding the issues therein.

In a nutshell, it was something completely away from involving my authority and decision making. This again made me introspect sometimes, that what am I doing?

  • BUT!!!!!!…. There was this thing called money. Entry basic salary in a PSU is Rs.24900/-. There are a lot of perks apart from salary and a number of loans on meager interest offered by PSUs to the employees. Believe me, you earn a good decent living in a maharatna PSU.

ESE departments  and a Maharatna PSU: An attempt of comparison:

Now this is something big that I have tried. Please see to it that all the views herein are purely personal and based on my short stay at a PSU and even shorter stay at Indian Railways. Neither I intend to challenge or correct anyone, nor do I mean to offend anyone. This is just what I feel, and if at all it could be of any help to any of you.

  1. You are more involved with the CIVIL engineering you studied in your college in a department like Indian Railways or CPWD, when compared to working in a PSU like IOCL, ONGC, SAIL, NTPC.


  1. You enjoy more authority when you are in an ESE department at the entry level, as against that in a PSU. If I talk of railways, you have a substantial workforce to control and you are to extract the maximum potential of your subordinates under limited conditions, with 100% correctness of the technical aspect of the work.


  1. Your decision making and responsibility sharing is manifold in an ESE department. Particularly in railways a civil engineer is directly related to safety of passengers and so you are to take decisions for your jurisdiction length of track for which you are single-handedly responsible.


  1. Talking of the technical exposures, you will be actually building stuff like bridges and tunnels, and your work won’t be limited to checking concreting in the field. Some of these projects might of national importance like the bridge at Bogibeel which connects Arunachal and upper Assam to rest of India or a bridge over Chenab in J&K., which will definitely instill a pride in you.


  1. Ohh!!! How could I miss this??…..You shall be a Gazetted officer in an ESE department and will enjoy the social status associated with it (if any). Moreover, on a lighter note, now you will be authorized to attest the photocopies of the documents of all the students in your neighborhood and the whole area will be living in the (mis)belief that you can get their tickets confirmed anytime from anywhere to anywhere, in case you join railways.


  1. Yes…I now you are dying to know that….but as far as railways is concerned… will get a house with substantial space, a few good men to look after it and an office vehicle with a driver. I am not aware of the other ESE departments, but I want you to know that I was not provided with a vehicle when I was in IOCL, nor the house allotted to me there, was in a habitable condition.


  1. The cash in hand you get is always better in a Maharatna PSU, as compared to an ESE department. The difference can be as much as Rs 15000/-. Besides the prevailing rate of Daily Allowance (not the Dearness allowance, i.e. DA) is Rs 1150/- in IOCL, while the same is Rs 600/-in railways. You are one of the highly paid sections of Indian Working class (apart from the private corporates) with a highly stable job if you are in a Maharatna.

Now, since I have blabbered a lot of points of comparison on the subject, let me once again tell you that all the above are subjective and my personal perspective. I have heard people being very much satisfied with their jobs in IOCL, NTPC and the like and also there are people who complain of joining some of the ESE departments like MES, CWC and BRO after leaving a job in a PSU. So there are views of all types. What matters is what you want and so what you decide to achieve it.

So, now in a nutshell for civil engineering aspirants!!!!!!!! (again my personal views)……..

  1. If you get a department like Indian Railways or CPWD, then join it, no matter wherever you are working currently, unless point no. 3 is applicable to you.


  1. If you get a department like IOFs or CWC, and you wish to prepare for civil services in future, join it.


  1. If you have worked in a MAHARATNA for 3 or more years, then I think you should NOT consider joining any ESE department, unless point no. 2 is applicable to you. This is because you will be losing a lot of pay-scale, promotions of your parent PSU and moreover seniority for promotions in a department like railways, largely depends on your age. Lesser the age, better chances of promotions in the long run. So if you feel that you have crossed the bar of 26 years before coming to Indian Railways, then you may not be a “Horse for the long run” in railways (I can say of railways only).


  1. If your ultimate aim is IAS, and you are not getting preparation time in your current PSU, neither you want to sit home, then you may consider joining CPWD or IOFs or CWC through ESE, and never ever consider joining railways.


  1. If none of the points 1 to 4 apply to you, are you a hell lot of dissatisfied with your job in your current PSU, you are highly engaged in non-technical works which you feel are not your cup of tea and you may get retarded if you continue the same (just kidding!!!!), then just study hard, write off the damn ESE and come join any department of your like, YOU ARE WELCOME!!!!!!

Ayush Srivastava




29 Replies to “Life In a Psu-A comparative analysis”

    1. The only way to know this is to look into official notification released by upsc for ESE every year. However, now 1st January is considered for determining the age for appearing in the exam.

  1. Hello Sir,
    Today I want to ask you that ‘How did you memories all the formulae at the time of exam’. Because there are no. of formulae & some of them are similar, some are lengthy. Also when I do revision subject wise I can write those correctly but while solving conventional papers I get confused some time.
    So, plz suggest me some right strategies.

    1. One of the way to memorise those formulas is to use the handbook of your branch. This handbook must be always with you. Keep looking at the formulas whenever you get free time. You can also make list of important formulas and keep them by your side every time.

      The other way is to use memory techniques available on internet. These techniques are good but you will have to do a lot of practice for mastering them.

  2. Dear Sir
    it was a pleasure reading your blog. Thank You for sharing precious knowledge.
    It will be very kind of you, if you can please suggest that NCERT books of which standard one is supposed to read for GS preparation. ?

  3. Sir, I am now in 2nd year civil engineering from maharashtra, dist Latur, and I want to make an IES officers……give me tips for my future….

  4. Hi sir,
    I had completed my B.E(civil) and working as a junior engineer in govt of Maharashtra on contract base but m nt satisfied so please guide me.shall I go towards NICMAR or IES…if IES then from which institute I will prepare better for it..please guide me…

    1. If your ultimate aim is to join a Govt service, then don’t go for NICMAR. Civil engineers have good position in IES as no of seats are more and competition is relatively less. But cut-off is increasing every year due to awareness and demands for Govt job. So first of all make up your mind about what you want to do….

  5. Hello sir,
    My name is Gaje Singh.
    CIVIL. Gate rank-41
    But fails in ese14. (Reach upto interview )
    Kindly guide further since I am working in IOCL.
    Also help how to prepare again for ese15.

    1. Since you have reached upto interview stage, it means that most of your preparation has already been done. You only need revision and practice. Join any test series and doubt removal classes. Go for answer writing practice sessions.

      1. Sir,
        I am confused between IES and my IOCL job. so kindly give mobile no. of Ayush Srivastava sir or any sir who have work experience so that I can contact with them and can clear my doubts.

  6. I am writing wrt the point no. 4 which said
    ” If your ultimate aim is IAS, and you are not getting preparation time in your current PSU, neither you want to sit home, then you may consider joining CPWD or IOFs or CWC through ESE, and never ever consider joining railways.”.. Seriously Railway jobs are mandatorily 24×7 works?? Is it true or a myth??

    1. There are three types of classifiaction of employess for whom duty hours are defined. Officers come in ‘excluded’ category which means that they are on duty 24*7.No working hours is defined as such for them. It doesn’t mean that they are sitting whole time in office and stress out but they should be ready to do their job even at 2 am in morning if the situation arises as such. Trains run 24*7 ,so officers are also responsible 24*7.

  7. Hello Sir
    1st request i am very nervous and agitated, frustrated so plz plz read this shit and help me…i have no one to share my thoughts with…

    Sir i completed my graduation from NIT Kurukshetra in 2014. I had two campus jobs both core. I did not join any job but started preparing for IES 2015. Truly speaking i did not study for the past 10 months. I went home during preparatory holidays for GATE and that turned out to be my biggest mistake as at home i was not able to study. I got 1200 rank in gate got demoralized. After 25 days i have my IES paper.

    I did not study bcoz i dont know what to do in life…there are things which i have thought.

    1) Sometimes i want to join IRSE (but my parents did a blunder and admitted me late to my school moreover my birth date was not modified. 99 % people modify their birth days so that their age becomes less). So i am going to turn 25 this october.all my friends are two years younger to me…now if give IES 2016 i will join at 27 which implies i will never reach to the top of the rank GM or DRM in IRSE due to age constraints…

    2) I also think that the coming year i should prepare both for IAS & IES..if i clear IAS well n good..if a get poor rank i will take IRS and do part time teaching at Made Easy..else if i clear IES then take CPWD in Delhi and teach part time at made easy..(as railways i told you i have age constraints)..I have kept Teaching at Made Easy an option because till date i am not corrupt and i would like to keep it that way.

    Now the thing is due to my poor GATE rank i will not get mtech admiision in any IIT (only preferred is DELHI ). So my biggest problem is what should i do ???

    1) Should i join DCE (i dont know about toughness level of mtech at dce) and pursue mtech from there and prepare simutlaneously for IES n IAS taking civil..or just prepare for IES from DCE taking MTECh

    2) or should i take a drop again(but tat i dont want as it is very frustrating) and prepare separately for IES n IAS…

    SIR IES 2015 is 25 days away i dont know what to do..plz help me..i left two campus offer jobs..and after one year i have nothing…i could not study this year bcoz my goal was not clear hence the lack in motivation….sir help i am really getting sick of it.. i have to clear my thoughts else i will fail again…kya karu sir mai…plz plz help me sir…hoping for a early positive reply..

  8. Sir, what about joining IOFS..? Can’t I get perks and facilities from IOFS as given in Railways…?

  9. Sir,I am doing civil engineering from BITS Pilani and just passed 1st year.Should I start preparation for ESE now or after 2ndyear?I am a bit confused since I am also looking for preparation of Civil Services.

    1. First remove your confusions. Then only you would be able to focus. If you focus on both you may not get even one.
      You have lots of time to figure out what you want.

  10. Sir…I am an Mtech in ECE. I have been working in BHEL as a enginner for last three years. But I am not satisfied with my job. Because every time there is one tension that I can be transferred to site at any point of time of whole career. At that time my life will become very unstable and hectic. At present I am in a metro city but I am not feeling respect, not having any power. The only good thing is that I am getting good salary. I am 28 years old. I want a govt job in which I will have respect, atleast few power. I could make good network. So I am so confused about my career. Should I start preparation for IES? I know one thing that in IES I will not get so much promotion bcoz of my age. But atleast my respect and power will be more than that of a GM of BHEL. Salary is not a big factor for me. Please suggest. I have never attended any coaching centre but I have made easy classroom notes. I have free time from 6PM to 12PM only. How to manage this time for IES preparation?

  11. If your ultimate aim is IAS, and you are not getting preparation time in your current PSU, neither you want to sit home, then you may consider joining CPWD or IOFs or CWC through ESE, and never ever consider joining railways.

    Is it not possible to prepare for IAS while working in IRSME ? Is the Work Load that high ?

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