Its been 5 long years , I have been working for ABB now. 4 years and 6 months to be precise. I was at a Campus recruitment drive today, and I was at the end recruiting young souls, wary of the decision I might take regarding their suitability in my organisation. I must admit that I have a feeling of having gone through one whole chapter in my career, from the recruitment desk back to there, a point at which I want to share a few moments, that highlight this feeling and maybe endorse it.
The first of the feelings that cross my mind as I stare at this young to-be -graduate, with a flashing tie(probably borrowed) and a clean white shirt , asking me if he could sit down, - as if my entire decision on his possibility of joining this company depended on his courteousness in not sitting sown if I didnt like it, is the feeling that I have grown old. Old is a word despised by most mortals, "Oldage" a fearful proposition in one form or the other , especially in terms of growing old enough to not be able to create excitement on the on looker who is always an imaginary counterpart who wanted the most exciting thing to look at.
The next feeling is a feeling of overwhelming resentment of the fact, on how values and priorities in career change with time. A feeling where the once so called value of having to present oneself to a prospective employer as a presentable, charming, efficient, humble individual is replaced by the value of self respect , a value that demands that one gets from his career what he desires.
The commonplace techniques seem to appear faked and unruly. For example: A typical answer for a cliched question like "What are your hobbies?" is an equally cliched " Reading scientific manuals, and watching cricket". Fortunately, the world moves on.
Several times in my career in ABB, I have been offended if not set at unrest by a question that came from relatives and friends alike "Are you still in ABB?" . I hated the word "Still". It is not as if people thought that i was probably making a wrong career decision by sticking on to my company for so long. It was just that people could not accept that sticking on to a company was an option at all, and only the mosses stuck to one place for too long. Fortunately, I have stopped getting offended anymore.
One day a couple of years back, a fellow colleague who was on the verge of putting down his papers made a very disturbing statement. He says " I think KP, you are one of those things in ABB I should term as a NMA, a Non Moving Asset." At the face of it , there was nothing to feel bad about. He called me an Asset at least. Even if it were non moving. But what I failed in explaining to him was that Non Moving Assets could be great assets, useful assets that any organisation would need, and hence by that argument I was here because I was needed. I furthur fail to convince people that inspite of however non exciting or non rewarding it might be, I liked being needed. Isn't life all about being where you are needed?
Another very close friend, who happens to share my plight of having been a lump of moss(or a NMA) and who also happens to be a fellow colleague in ABB, says something very philosophical and thought provoking. He says " There are four modes you can be in your company.
1. I love my Work, I love my Pay
2. I hate my Work, I love my Pay
3. I love my Work, I hate my Pay
4. I hate my Work, I hate my pay".
He goes on to say " If you are in Mode 1, you dont want to quit and you stick. If you are in Mode 4 you want to quit, and you do so. But if you are in Mode 2 or Mode 3, you are neither happy , nor can you quit. ...You are in a bottleneck."
I guess many of us are in the bottleneck, confused, perplexed and unsure of where do we go next. Its as if we are on a train, and we like the journey but dont know which station to get down at. Ok , here is my point. As long as you are in your bottleneck , you might as well do what you love to do, live your life to your fullest. Because there is nothing better left to do, than to keep yourself as happy as you can.
I launched a program in my company yesterday its called LEAD 2008, ABB Drives. People asked me why all this action and excitement, they wonder if I cant go about my job as the rest of them do. I am afraid I reply. I probably need the excitement. When you are trapped in a barrel and thrown into the sea, you might as well drink the rum inside!