Jun 12, 2008

The Last 4 Years

Totally random semi-philosophic post :-) .. Quite long too..Read if you have plenty of time and no other work to do .

There was a mail which I sent to a select group of friends four years back when I graduated..It was about what I learned about life during my graduation...Now , after another four years I'm again going back to college for my MBA . I think its time to have another writeup about my learnings during last four years of corporate life, both from a professional & personal perspective.. I'm putting those below.. This is all taken strictly from my perspective / learnings /conclusions.. I dont think many people might agree to all the points. Anyway, here it is..

1) Beyond a level, money would not bring you satisfaction..There is something called as concept of marginal utility in economics. ( You can google out the definitions )..The idea is something like this.. If you earn 3L , an increase in salary to 6L would bring you more satisfaction than what you will have if your salary increases from 1 Crore to 2 Crore. .. Basically, beyond a level, the power of cash to bring in additional satisfaction / completeness to your life drops drastically..But yes, you need a basic level of money ( which varies from person to person depending on his/her lifestyle ) ..beyond that, there is no point in chasing money..

2) 'Work Satisfaction' is often a myth / mirage :-) .. There should be some level of professional satisfaction, but people who jump from companies to companies in search of this 'work satisfaction' are not likely to find it anywhere in the long run.

3) This point might be of relevance to any fresher joining work -- In corporate life, its not enough that you work..You often have to advertise your work. If I look among my friends who have had fantastic career growth in last 4 years or so, one thing that I find among them distinctly is their ability to network , establish contacts in higher positions/various divisions etc.. Their career growth is not because of their fantastic coding skills or anything like that.. Be it any profession/industry , its your social skills that matter the most ... I'm sure that more than 90% of the people who have worked for about 3yrs or more would definitely agree to this.

4) The last four years has been a stretch wherein my faith/belief in God has been tested a lot..I've failed in that. Its not that I'm totally agnostic now..But I've more or less stopped praying to God for something to happen..( though involuntarily, I tend to pray sometimes because of my upbringing ) ..Infact, 4 years back whenever I face a problem, first thing that I used to do was to pray to God ..I no longer do that , though I often express my goodwill to God if something good happens :-) ... I dont know if this is good or bad..But certainly , at this point in life, I no longer have a blind faith that I've had 4 years before.. Infact, I feel that faith in something / someone can often lead to terrible disappointments.

5) Faith might not be a good thing to have, but 'hope' is a good thing to have ( Remember 'Shawshank Redemption' ) .. I do believe that life comes a full circle for some reason. If you have some good times now, its quite natural/certain that you will have bad times..And the reverse too. If you have had some bad times, certainly life would turnaround and you will have good times ( though this might not be perpetual ) .. And the key thing for this turnaround is 'hope' .. Hope or optimism has a strange power to motivate people to put in good effort.. If you keep up that hope, you can certainly cause good things to come in your life..

6) I've often asked myself what I should aim in life... I have not yet found out that..But I certainly feel that people would have a satisfied life if they engage themselves in quite a few things ( be it music / NGO / sports / community work /... ) and never 'retire' themselves .. A single minded focus on family + profession is quite likely to see you in a disappointed state sooner or later .. I know many people might disagree to this..I'm not saying you shouldnt care about these.. You should involve in other activities in addition to family & profession..

7) You can't plan your life realistically beyond a span of say, 2 years..In that sense, I've found all this MBA / MS 'statement of purpose' to be heights of nonsense..I think I myself tried different statement of purpose for different MBA interviews..And even after getting admission, I really dont think one should go in with a stereotyped mentality .. Its better to take decisions based on available options & situations rather than saying 'no' to all the possible chances (unless you are that precociously talented, wherein you can ace any test/interview that comes your way)

8) Its important to fail at some point(s) in life. Because,that itself is an experience.. That teaches you how to bounce back..how to correct yourself. And you should have the guts to admit a failure.

9) There is a statement in 'Dil Chahta Hai' that comes back to me again & again.. "Every action/decision by someone has a reason behind it" ( I forgot the Hindi wordings used in this scene..its when Amir Khan's father talks to him about why Preity Zinta doesnt want to marry him )
...Extending that, the reason behind an action by me might not be comprehensible to you..And a reason behind your action might not be comprehensible to me..Or rather, these buzzwords - rational , logical , common sensical -- all these vary from person to person to a great degree.. As an example when I say I've resigned from Oracle and am going to study, quite a few people think that I'm mad..quite a few people think that I'm right.. The point is, we too might be in a situation wherein we fail to appreciate the choice that another person is making.. But, we have to respect his/her choice because he/she will be having some reason behind that choice ( which, we might not be able to appreciate ) ..Arguments,debates ... all are fine..But once someone makes a decision, it is made.

10) Its important to enjoy the present, no matter however illustrious your past was / however promising your future is ... Certain things which your mind / conscience calls you to do, you just go ahead and do it..Dont bother about the expense / savings ( as long as you are not anywhere near bankruptcy :-) ) ..

11)I've come across many people who say "I've no regrets in life" ..If they really mean it, I envy them..I have plenty of regrets in life..I dont know if it is possible to be in a 'regret-less' state.. If it is, then i think I need to strive to reach that state.

12) This one is from public domain.. There is a common tendency among people to say that 'consensus should be achieved/majority opinion should be followed etc'.. But, be it in small teams or big nations, democracy might not result in good / correct things..As an example, I believe that Musharraf's rule is Pakistan is better for Indian security compared to a disjoint and weak democracy operating there..No matter however he manipulates the system to be at the helm, its often better to have a sensible man in control of the situation...The point to be kpet in mind is that, often we tend to think that somebody has taken a right solution, because it was the most democratic one..But democracy & correctness need not go together.

--- Ah enough nonsense..I guess I better stop.

( PS:- I'm not drunk :-) )