Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Staying Foolish

So post Goa, yours truly has been very very restless indeed.

The ‘Oh what the hell am I doing here’ phase came back with a vengeance, oh how I so hate this phase!

So on a whim, I applied to some totally out-of-the-box  jobs- that I would so LOVE to do (which, once my mother heard of it, made her rush to the temple to pray for my sanity). To give you an idea- story telling/amateur theatre/script writing- these are the ones that are in the safe, sane side of the spectrum. So I did apply, I did get through a couple of them (much to my surprise), and eventually when we sat down to discuss the pay- I could visualize my dreams blasting into smithereens.

I will approach a different track now. People say, look at the IT industry, look what it has done to India today. I say- yes look what it has done. It has propelled the economy, it has given all of us such pocket-filling jobs, it has lifted the middle class up high and given the aam admi an identity. We have gained so much, what have we lost?

We, probably, have lost ourselves, in the process.

I do not speak for those in the industry who know and love what they do. There are quite a few such people, who are looked upto and given the respect that experts need to be given. My darling brother is one who would fall into this category. He is the ‘I am born to code, I love programming’ kind of soul, and yes, he gets joy from tapping away day in and day out, so whatever I write further excludes people like him.

It, on the contrary, includes a vast majority of us are sitting there clueless about what we are there for. We are nameless, faceless entities, easily replaceable ‘resources’. We drag ourselves to work every morning, wait for weekends, and month’s end we look at the bank balance and tell ourselves, it’s okay, it’s not so bad- it might-in some way-be worth it. And then slowly, we start existing, rather than living.

Most of the wary ones, within the first year, know what is happening and immediately cultivate a hobby. They have a parallel track running by. Photography, travel, writing and social work are the most common among these. The sensible ones switch as soon as they know this is taking a toll. The less risk prone ones (like me) stay on. Soon enough, you have loans to clear. Upgrade the mobile phone, upgrade the car..just a small one BHK won’t hurt would it? It’s for security! Oh, Marriage loan, vehicle loan..home loan. Now you are in a very, very tangled web. So then on, it is a race. Switch, see who gives you more money, switch again, see who send you onsite- switch again. And before you know it- you are pushing 40 and you don’t know where the good years went!

Thankfully, I have no such exorbitant obligations. Still I saw a wall the day this smart, young entrepreneur-CEO told me, ‘Sit down Gitanjali, we need to discuss more!’. Maybe because I just got used to the money here. Maybe because I know that my wanderlust is going to get a beating if I took the plunge now. Or that I will not be able to spend as much on simple nothings as I do now. Still I know, it is going to be now or never. Now the difference will not pinch as hard as it will after a year. And, deep down- I would be happy and purposeful. Still. It is a leap of faith. And I am scared.

I was reading Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers. He poses a question where he asks you what you might choose given an option: a $100,000 a year job as a toll booth operator- where you are required to do nothing but hand out tickets for 12 hours a day; or a $75,000 a year job where you work as an architect, and your job would involve designing complex structures and figures. Hands down, everybody chooses the Architect’s job. Why? Because, he says, this factor called job satisfaction stems from 3 criteria: A direct relationship between effort and reward, autonomy and a feeling of significant contribution towards the job in hand. You pay me for the work I do, you let me be the judge and give me a free reign to do it in my own way, and you give me a job that is fairly significant (even if it isn’t- make me feel that it is an important job!) then, I will be a satisfied employee.

We Indians- we are brought up to put security in front of satisfaction.  We need to put society in front of any outrageous-follow-the-heart decision. We better blend in rather than stand out. We are conditioned to stay hungry, and stay foolish. Sigh.


ganeshputtu said...

Says who??? You dont have to do something which leaves you so frustrated on a daily basis and blame it on society and security. What guarantee do you have that you will even wake up tomorrow to collect the salary you have sold your soul for? The only person to blame here is you yourself- sorry if i sound harsh- but i take the privilege of friendship to give some needed medicine- for you are measuring success on peer-scale. You dont have to. If you like what you do having a slightly smaller pay package wont matter- you dont have a dozen kids at home screaming in hunger- to justify workung for money. (or do you?)....anyway, a smaller cellphone will still make calls/a smaller car will still get you there...and buying a house is foolish if you dont know where you are going to settle down. You are wearing dark coloured shades and complaining the sky is dark- remove them and look around.....this world is not a bad place to be if you know your own heart.

Sandhya Iyer said...

I totally agree with you woman.. Money gives you that high and it also sends you down that spiral of no return. At the end of the day, we are to blame, we got onto the money trap and lusted after it. Somewhere down the line we realise that there really is more to life in the pursuit of happiness. Go ahead and give it a shot bum!! :)

Soumya said...

Amen to that! The pursuit of happiness remains just that. A pursuit. They say a perfect job, doesn't exist. You need to create it. It is said so matter-of-factedly that you feel like you can do it tomorrow. But the reality is something else altogether.

Either have the balls to quit and start something new for a measly pay, or hold on and continue to stay hungry and foolish.

Tough choice believe me.

jaish_vats said...

Its very easy to blame the rest of the world for what we do or the choices we make. Base Reality is - End of the day its what we choose. I agree, IT industry is luring a lot of people into its web, but there are folks who have chosen paths way different and are still happy. End of it one needs to make a decision. Time is always running!

gitanjali said...

@ Ganesh: I know doc, I know! we spoke about this- and writing it is my way of venting it :P Point taken :)

gitanjali said...

@ Sandy-So true sweetie. yes, blame taken. Corrective action underway :P what say, partner? The fashion blog idea still on? :D

gitanjali said...

@ Soumya- Dissatisfaction is the nature of existence :( Very tough choice. Taking the leap is a lot more difficult than contemplating it!

gitanjali said...

@ Jaish- Yes maam :) I know. I should have signed off saying Im being mortal and blaming everything else around me. Time is running, yes. Soon, soon :)

Someday's dreamer said...

Already took the leap of faith, and trust me I'm flying! I'm working on something I love, and always dreamt of doing.
Don't know how successful I would be, but now's the time babe!
I'm here for support any time :)