Saturday, March 31, 2007


An instructor in one of my company organized training programs used to say: "There is no right way or no wrong way. There are just different ways of doing things".

Though I really didn't like that instructor very much, this line just stayed with me. Whenever someone says/does something that I don't fully agree with, these lines automatically pop into my head. This makes it very difficult for me to get angry with someone - even if I should get angry.

Coming to the main topic here, I recently came across a blog in my company intranet. It is about how a team successfully endured a number of obstacles and took a project to completion. I've known people from that project (my current manager is one). That project was notorious for its loss making bid and a bad estimation. Its members used to continuously stay all night in office. If on any day they manage to leave by 10:00 pm, then its an achievement.

So this blog goes on about how the project people sacrificed a number of things for the project.

"Mr.A, a team lead had an eye infection and was not able to drive to the office for couple of days. He asked team members to email the source code, so that he can review the same from home and send the feedback to the team. He had to stay at on-site for few extra days to cover another associate on vacation though his wife was expecting him back home urgently as their baby was due anytime – Incidentally, when he returned back from on-site, he had to directly drive to the hospital from the airport to see his just-born baby."

Mr.B, the data conversion lead on the project was blessed with twins just few weeks before the project went live. This did not stop from being completely available and work throughout during the entire conversion week-end along with the rest of the team who was waiting for the momentous occasion for 3 years.

Mr.C proved his versatility when he took the challenge of uncharted territory of CVS for code merge/branching etc – He showed the true company spirit of continuing to be involved even when he had health issues and in hospital while at on-site.

I thought: Whats the big point of being onsite, earning a 5/6 digit salary, having a car, house and what not, if you cannot be with your wife during child birth or when you cannot even look after yourself? Is it really worth it?

These things are quite common in developing economies like India. There's whole lot of things that happening in the country. Jobs are very few compared to the demand, so there is always someone to replace you and work even harder. And there's lot of competition around and companies just keep increasing the load of their employees to stay competitive. The result - the individual loses his grip over his personal life.

It is just the perspective of the concerned person. I personally want to have a balance between the personal and official life. Putting in more work at a crunch time is fine. But it should not always be a crunch time.

I've seen some who are really charged up for their company. They will do everything possible to benefit the company. They will be ready to sacrifice their personal life for the company. So, in their eyes, whatever that blog said is really a great thing. They would actually expect everyone to be like that.

So everything in this world is perspective. It is each individual's perspective of things that decide their actions. And conflicts arise when the perspectives and consequently the expectations/views of two individuals do not match.

Thinking from both angles of a situation, I usually can't really say that either one of the views is right/wrong. This attitude sometimes confuses me a lot. whenever I feel angry or when I feel something is wrong, I immediately start thinking more from the other person's point of view. And most of the times, whatever bothered me no longer seems wrong. I don't think this actually is a good thing. It becomes really difficult to get things done - It just makes me too soft. Assume I'm standing in a billing counter in a shop and the sales person is so busy with so many people pulling him/her in different directions. I will then refrain from asking him/her anything till they are somewhat free. There are instances where I've just stood there for more than 15 minutes waiting for them. On the other hand, there will be someone else, who will just walk in and demand attention. And they will get all the needed attention whenever they walk in through the door. But I on the other hand, end up being taken for granted - because the people there know that I won't say anything and that they can afford to take some liberty with me.

And because of this attitude, I'm considered too much of a moderate. My cousins call me 'truly secular' for my beliefs that everyone has a right to practice/propagate their religions. Sometimes I even go to the extremes of justifying Jihad or any such thing (Definitely not the killings, but their anger). So am I an extremist from that perspective? I have this terrible habit of finding flaws in my own beliefs - vegetarianism, Hinduism etc. When I think of some idea, I also think of what points an opponent would put forward for that idea. And suddenly I find my idea weakening.

Is this good/bad ? Again, its matter of perspective.


Nagarajan said...

Work taking over personal lives is not only in India. Its just depends on the industry you are working in and your position. My cousin here works in US as well as India time just because he has to manage two teams. And there a few companies that force you to take 2 days off in India as well.

Its good to think from others point of you. But only to an extent. Never try to satisfy everyone. Doesn't Work.

Raj-Kris said...

Not many people can put themselves in other people's shoes as easily as you are able to. This is a gift which could be really useful if used the right way. You could actually use it to build arguments or models which cannot be broken down.

And about work and personal life, it is all about the passion that a person has for the work he is doing and his drive to excel. When a person is extremely passionate about something then that becomes all important to him and comes above all other things.

Very few people are able to clearly draw a line between work and personal life and be succesful and enjoy both equally. I would say that to achieve this is real success.

venky said...

strong sindhanai alaigal.. great that you can put yourself in x's position and judge him. works wonders!

And all these slogging and stuff... individual decision making plays a huge part. i've seen people who do nothing but official work.. for them that is satisfaction. as long as they don't expect it from ppl around them, it is always ok.

keep blogging cousin!

Shyam said...

super da..... nice narration of the plight of the workers in the indeustry(I will most definitely say that we are just workers). one thing i agree with u apart from the other things that other cant agree more is that these workaholics expect other also to become similar to them and forgo their personal life which i guess is totally not acceptable from any pt of view, u can be sure of one thing though that u wont become like that thinking from other's perpectives. But success from that attitude is not as easy. Mostly u end up being taken from granted u have said, which is the problem there. But that's waht life is, u lose something to gain something.

Shyam said...

As for your other problem of losing confidence in one's own perspectives, changing ur won views to support jihad(example) etc clearly states the emptiness of thought to insist urself that u r right and this happens when u r away from ur ppl, from ur surroundings etc, u dont know what is right and what is wrong. this exactly happened to me as when i was in the prod support projec there at offshore, i never got to see any of my frnds and i was living in a world of my own where all sorts of thoughts used to get into my head. In such cases talk to ppl who can instill ur self belief in urself rather than to ponder over it urself thinking that they might bias you towards something. u will definitely see that u r more comfortable that way, u may just miss things that they might see. I know u have a habit of shunning others opinion saying that u shud have an openess when u form a perspective, that is all right only until a certain level. if everything done for food and money and one's own well being were correct then there wud be nothing in this world that is
"wrong". i may sound philosophical but if ur actions do not hurt others sentiments or physical well being then u r wrong.... else carry on brother...... :-) was very happy to read this blog... well written.

just a suggestion, talk more to ur folks, u r more of an introvert, u dont speak out until spoken to, i seldom see u online. these things may sound trivial but they do help man.....

Shyam said...

sorry, am just unacceptably terrible with spellings. Missed out "s" in most places, etc, but found one mistake in the formation at one pt, just wrote it in a flash that i made a mistake in the sentence formation.

it should have been 'if ur actions DO hurt others sentiments or physical well being then u r wrong'.... in place of DO NOT.

Raghu said...

Putting yourself in other person's shoes will help you when you are trying to find a solution to a problem. But if you are going to put yourself in other's shoes for everything and anything, then what happens to "My Thought Waves"????

Vijay said...

Shyam, regarding Jihad, I've not gone to the extent of justifying their laws, killings and plots. But sometimes I feel that their anger is justified to some extent. But reading their history, we can see that they would be fighting with/without the "intervening" powers.
Actually I've not lost my self-belief. If anything, I feel that I've become more confident after I came here.
But I've got to agree that I've become even more isolated now. My primary contact with my friends is through phone or mail. And you know how bad I'm with both these things. Even my Tamil film/song knowledge has stopped at 9-month back.