Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The koward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!"
                     oscar wilde , the ballad of reading gaol

When was the last that I thought of you...I know not...but am I the one who goes alone on this path...and should I but care only a little for the souls that follow or those as march ahead?

Mode C is a way of life, perhaps my way of life: C for Cool, C for Cold, C for Chaos, C for Calvin. Ultimately, all of it boils down to the way you look at things. Are they not how they are but just how they appear?? No...and yes...Almost all the seriously critical fundamental concepts of life...aren't they just the bogies under Calvin's bed that he is afraid of? Miss Wormwood, Susie, Mom and Dad, and of course above all, Hobbes...aren't they all merely the means that he uses to attack these bogies?

Reflecting on 'living the Calvin way', I have started to believe that life and our reaction to it can only be explained by a number of Calvin and Hobbes strips combined together. The philosophy, as I like to call it, is to know that you are not alone. It is not just my perspective alone that is going to help me fight my bogies. I will be able to inch towards the Calvin way only when I perceive the other perspectives on my way.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005
In transit

Can we postpone the movie for the next weekend please?

Now why would you want that? You were the one who asked us all for the movie...

Yes, I know but you see...there is this training thing starting on Monday and I don't want to start my first day at my first job without a good night's sleep behind me.

The first day at the first job. Like so many other firsts...first love, first kiss...the first job is the platform that so many of us have come across (and so many will) while making our transition...a transition from a carefree world where dreams know no end and reality hasn't sunk in yet to a world that is as clear as is round as is straight. The stepping stone to the so-called and much-hyped corporate life, the first job prepares one for the days ahead...or does it?

In the very beginning, isn't it all about trying to maintain a straight face with head held high but all the while thinking about what the manager, the colleague, the fellow trainee, the trainer...or even the peon is thinking about one self? Am I dressed the tie the right length...have I combed my hair the dignified way or are there traces still of the last weekend's spikes...are my shoes there a smile on my face when I greet my I interacting sufficiently with my colleagues or becoming either a recluse or too garrulous??? There are so many questions but not as many answers as one bumbles from one formal relationship to another...from one errand to another, trying to find a balance.

The balance does come but a little late, late enough to make you realize that all you have thought of to be true may not be able to stand the test of time and experience. The ideals that your college life taught you, the dreams that you had of your hard work resulting in handsome returns are just those...dreams and ideals. The real life is so different, you feel. There is no one who is your friend in the real sense...all of them are professionals, waiting to bite your back the moment right after they have just scratched it. You start feeling that the veil has lifted and you know that efforts are all good to speak of but in reality, there is much more to success. You start getting the idea more than anything else, that your fortunes depend not solely on the amount of work that you put in or the nature of results that you have generated but more on how well you have been able to present well you have been able to network, to suck up to the people who matter.

The above two stages are so very transitive and boundary-less that many-a-specimen of the first job population that I have been discussing are often left wondering. They don't know when they move on from the confused-and-scared stage to the cynical-and-rebel one. In some cases, the employees' prejudice makes them start off with the second stage itself and the first stage is lost in oblivion just because of the rather uncommon cockiness that might have come from peer advice or to resort to a cliche, general knowledge. However, in almost all other cases, there is this uncertain beginning that is to be invariably seen and following it may be a gradual or sudden movement to the second stage. The second stage is particularly seen to be harmful for the company and this is where the possibility of attrition looms large. In fact, if we take a careful look at the attrition details of most companies, we can quite easily realize that there is simply too much supporting data for the above observation.

Whether it be the attrition data or the employee surveys that the progressive companies undertake, the result is often seen to be the same. There are people belonging to a third class (apart from the above two) who are the most satisfied lot. Not that they do not have ambitions...not at deed, they are much more focussed at what they want from life and are working the fastest towards it. In fact, if we look at the profile of people who hav reached this stage, we will soon realize the reason for their apparent satisfaction with their work place and at the same time, their contribution to what is often known in the corporate lingo as organizational inertia.

This third stage is reached when the winds of change have passed through and done the damage that they could have. It comes, but rarely, to those who let themselves be uprooted by the winds ever so often. It comes to everyone at some stage or the other but it comes earlier to the steadier of the lot, the more focused of the group, the more determined of the pool...people who have spent their work life not cribbing and complaining alone, people who have been at the top without thinking too much about it...people who work smart and not just hard (another cliche, yes but pretty much suited).

This is where the lateral entrants (people who are into their second, third or later jobs) and the experienced people come in. These people have already arrived...they are thinking of strategy (and not in the sense an MBA student thinks about it, if you please)...they plan to align themselves with their company...they wonder about the performance linked incentives with more than mere wonder or a sort of indifference...they either feel themselves to be a part of the family or are too unattached to let even anything else (like a probable increment offered by some other shark in the pond) cloud their actions.

A journey from uncertainty to rebellion to acceptance, the corporate life is not at all as simple and as appealing as it looks from the outside. Of course, there is the financial freedom to a certain extent but at what cost? Is it just a mirage, then, that we look at when we are burning the midnight oil for that entrance, for this interview? A lot depends, I would opine, on the mentality of the person if this question is to be answered. The first stage of hesistant exploration is for the most innocent of them all and honestly, the longer it lasts, the better for all concerned. The sceptic moves on pretty soon to the second questioning stage and if there is a lack of clear puprose, this stage gets prolonged for just a bit too long.

The step that shall benefit the employee as well as the company is to arrive at a mechanism by which the third stage becomes much more porous...where, just like the transition between the first and the second stages, there are ways in which smooth transfer may take place between the "oh wow!" and "oh ok!"...where the enthusiasm and first-timer's freshness contribute just that little bit more to the big picture.

Posted at 01:07 pm by Nitai

Prashant Kumar
June 1, 2005   01:18 PM PDT
hmmmn... u captured it rite to the T... u bet, all of us have gone thru thz or at least observed thz...
June 1, 2005   01:39 PM PDT
It was all a result of something that I observed in two of my PG room, a guy who has just joined the Wipro BPO and the other who is an IIT KGP passout and has been working for a couple of years now.
Prashant Kumar
June 1, 2005   04:07 PM PDT
hmmmn... silent ramblings of an observant mind??!! any plans to present a thesis on ur research?? actually, the descriptions so perfectly fit my own experiences during 3 years of worklife that i believe this would be a general phenomenon... at least most of us do go through one or all of these states (3rd state is still very distant utopia for the time being)... esp the tentative "first job" phase and the cynical "screw all" period... a strong reason for my conviction that i personally dont want to hold on in the corporate pandemonium for long...
June 1, 2005   05:25 PM PDT
Just look around and you will find specimens belonging to the third stage, too (mostly in the managerial cadre) though it might be a utopia as far as we are concerned.

Thesis...yeah why not??? ;-))
June 2, 2005   10:56 PM PDT
ye sab kya ho raha hai ???

OHT all the way.

bhai ..likhna hai to kuchh aisa likho jo palle pad jaaye
June 3, 2005   11:03 AM PDT
TUMHAARE palle nahi pada...surprising. It should not have been OHT at all, at least the intention was to give simple words to my complex feelings generated after looking at what has been happening around me but guess that failed.

Oh well, nobody's perfect ;-))

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