Saturday, December 10, 2011

No more stressing from now on!

Throughout our lives, we are taught to handle stress. We are made to live with it. Seems like stress is as much of a part of our lives as the air we breathe. We use it as a tool, to get ourselves to work on something, to get others to work on something, and hell, even to just feel like we are making progress.

I do not know about others, but stress is was my constant companion since the age of 9-10, when I first prepared for the test for Sainik School. Then the four years I spent there, came back, had board exams, prepared (unsuccessfully) for IIT, got into college, messed the initial semesters and played catch-up for the rest of the degree and in the end, to top it all up, got my first job.

The amount of time I end up spending at the office (or outside of home, considering an hour's drive to the office) makes used to make me go mad. The worst thing is was no time to think! Add to it the fact that I had some other thoughts/plans which I could not cater to, I am was plainly unsatisfied. And being a naive fatass at work doesn't didn't help, either.

Then to about three weeks from today. About 8:30 pm. I am driving to home. And I have this amazing what-the-hell moment.

I thought, I am 21 right now. I've spent like somewhere between one-third to one-fourth of my life until now, and considering the fact that I will never get my adolescence/teenage/whatever back, I can either keep on worrying over everything or I can start enjoying life. Thankfully, I chose the second. Surprisingly, some people do not worry at all. Never. One such person, Vics, told me that I was way too late to realise this.
Since then, I've been thinking a lot on the issue of avoidable stress. Seems like we humans use our ability to think too much. When we are stuck while trying to get something done, we try simulating the end results in our minds, except that the things we simulate/imagine are nowhere near to what actually will/would happen. We realise this a bit too late for our own good, and by the time we do so, it is generally too late to give up on the simulation/imagination that has already been brewing in our think-able brains. And this clash of thoughts, of two completely different outcomes is the cause of stress.

"Stress is good. Tension is your friend! It gets things done!" This is what people everywhere in the world think, and preach to each other. Well, so many people saying the same thing can't all be wrong, but there is one basic difference between using stress and using some dream, ambition or some tangible reason as your motivator. The difference is:
With ambition, we play to win. With stress, we play to not lose.

Not actually playing, but I think its enough to get the idea. The playing to not lose part comes to even more prominence when there are reputations or track records to salvage.

What others think of me is not my problem. Not that it should be. Especially since I started this blog, and even more so since the great realisation! Some days tend to be more strenuous than others, but I am learning to handle it, thanks in no small part to some of my friends at the office.

MEMO TO MYSELF: Read this post whenever under too much stress. The world can suck its own dick.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Why Mourn for Morons?

Gotta say writing a blog post without a lot of time at your disposal is a very hard task. Thats why I think I will limit myself to non-working weekends only. You were so right, Arpit. Goddamnit!

Ever since Steve Jobs died, seems like he took away a lot of the world with him.[1]  Thats what the media seems to say these days. And almost half of the people I know too. And almost all the people in my generation. And...

You know what, this does not irritate me. Not at all. What fills me with rage is  the compassion we show for dead celebrity morons, when so many living people live the medieval life: nasty, brutish and short.[2] Not only this, watching so many people almost pray some living persons (Beckham, anybody?) makes this even more pitiful, cause I can't think of a more miserable word right now.

Have some more
Remember Michael Jackson. Yes, that Michael Jackson. don't matter if you're black or white; ...... All I wanna say is that they don't really care about us; ..... The dude was a great artist. Sure. But he was *not* a very good human being[3]. That person's actions introduced the word 'paedophile' to me. People actually cried at his death, notwithstanding the fact that there are folks in the Third World who are not dying, just waiting for death for I-don't-know-how-long.[4]

Remember Tiger Woods? Boris Becker? Hillary Clinton's husband/Monica Lewinsky's boyfriend?

Closer to home, I remember a friend Abhinav[5] telling me he once saw the great (still alive) Mr. Amitabh Bacchan (never mind the spelling) appearing in a talk show. Nothing exceptional, except the agenda for the talk: Human Rights! I mean, what the **** does he know about human rights? Are the channel guys not idiots for calling him and broadcasting the show? Are we not even bigger idiots for watching the show? [6]

A great take on the topic of following what the world tells you (though from a different viewpoint) is from TheBluntBlogger: they have enough sheep out there, be human for once and stand for what you believe in.

The world has more important things to worry about
Believe me. It has. What did iPhones do for the poor and starving millions?[7] Since when was Michael Jackson a great person (artist: yes, person: I don't know)?

Since when did the fourth estate get on to promoting such things? I remember watching the details of a day's working in the (Indian) Parliament only during the recent Civil Society's (Anna Hazare etc.) protests for the Jan Lokpal, after at least a solid two years.

Maybe its another facet of the Human Condition.[8] We ignore things that seem unpleasant, no matter how important they may be. But as individuals, it is our duty to not believe what is being told or done, and investigate for ourselves. I know it is mine. And I've never been comfortable adoring a celebrity. Mr. Toor, remember my views on Sachin Tendulkar?

[1] Sorry for not using an upper case 'H' with him, Steve-fans.
[2] I read it somewhere. If you have seen movies depicting that time, or read (fiction or not) books/novels, you can relate.
[3] Or I read/watched newspapers/news channels from another planet. 
[4] Hunger/Conflict/Disease/Genocide/Blood-diamonds.... the list surpasses my imagination.
[5] aka Pondy bhai
[6] As animal rights groups say, when the buying stops, the selling will too.
[7] India-educated guys, remember the Bapu's Talisman  in our NCERT books?
[8] Not that I am into philosophy or anything.

EDIT: This post seems even more accurate in retrospect of Dennis Ritchie's death. For those not from a Computer Science background, he was the creator of the C programming language. An operating system called UNIX was (almost) remade in C, and most of today's operating systems including MS Windows and Apple's iShit are based (based as in having in their foundation) on C. Why there was no hype around Ritchie is obvious: there was no not much target audience for the media, and there was no new iPhone model to be released a few days later.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Thou shalt love thy job.. or do something about it

I am young. I have a job. I get paid for my work. I have got new, absolutely great friends at my workplace[1]. My family and friends think its cool to be employed. But, it still sucks!

This seems to be the story of almost all the young and employed people I know. Here's an example. In my opinion, not loving your job is one thing, but to hate it seems very wrong (at least) to me. Just don't forget  there are lots of people without any job. In this post, I've decided to put forward some of my thoughts on the matter, and point all people who whine on this topic to this post. Here are some frustrations/arguments/rants that are most frequent.

I just work to pay the bills
Yeah. First of all, good for you. The line you just read in bold is just a simple remark, but its a very important one. You may be able to enjoy your work and all, but this remark is very important in retrospect. To me, you saying this means that
a) you are truthful, and 
(more importantly) b) you keep your work and life apart.

I know this is a very bad, even silly way to find out whether somebody keeps their work and life different, but it works for me. Except that people who just love their jobs won't ever say this. But we are not talking about how-to-find-if-somebody-loves-their-job. Hope you got the point.

I spend almost all my productive time at work
This is an accurate and equally valid reason. No one wants to come home tired, and go to work the next day continuing the same grind. But no one, yes no one ever got paid for doing nothing[2]. 

There's no solution for this problem. Yes, no solution. Maybe except loving what you do. Ever seen a sportstar saying 'I'm bored of playing?' An exception is when you have (rather are) heavily invested in some work or business related pursuit. To me, it seems like loving what you do is the only solution, but most of us are not that lucky. Another solution is to quit your present job, but I'll come to it later.

I don't have any time for my hobby
This is the pet peeve for most people who have just started working. And no reason why it should not be. The basic reason for this is the change in lifestyle that accompanies with starting a new job. Particularly when that job happens to be your first job. And even more so if you have had to move to another city or province or country for it.

But lets face it. Moving to a new place, or starting a job for the first time (or both) are of course changes in your life. You just can't go on crying about them. In my present job, there are lots of people who have had to change their hobbies. One was a dram-e-baz (amateur actor in college dramatics club...), another played video games all the time etc. But the time and resources available change, and you've got to adapt. The dram-e-baz at office got interested in photography a few months back, and now the dude has got half the office interested in it[3]. The basic thing is to find something else. Something that can be included in your (now) limited time and resources. Like blogging:)

I just want it all to end!
What, i ask? Your job or this blog entry? In case its the latter, there's a close button somewhere on your browser. If you wish to end your present job, be patient for a while and think. Plan. Explore and simulate your options in your mind. Think and decide if you will be happy in your current situation over a longer period of time, say next 2-3 years[4]. Mind that you don't have to feel satisfied at the end of this period. Satisfaction is like excellence, better thought of and tried for than achieved! Develop some new skill, or refine/enhance your current skill set, and then go looking for other opportunities. Leaving your current job without another job in hand is better explained with the old dictum- one bird in hand is worth two in the bush (or something like it). Thats what I would suggest. To the people I know anyway.

[1] Not that previous friends are not any bad, its just I didn't expect to find such good people at work!
[2] Well, if we exclude rich people's children. Also people who are enjoying the fruits of hard work over a period of time (e.g. a startup guy whose startup just got acquired). 
[3] I work in a small company. Everybody knows everybody. Just like college.
[4] For me, working at one place for any more than this will be unexpected, or so it seems.