They say you turn to your "best" friend when you are angry and disappointed with things and you basically just want someone to hear you out and make soothing noises, while you rant on about how unfair and crappy the Big Bad World is - for the seven hundredth time in a week.
NOTE- Umm, I think its my writerly responsibility to state the obvious rule here , even though I do not consider myself an expert on the matter - DO NOT try this repeatedly with your romantic partner or with immediate family member (the ranting , that is) keep it for trusty old friends ( on a rotation basis preferably) or diaries.
Now; all my best friends are permanently "out of town" , obviously doing more exciting things , or are leading far saner lives than me at the moment and are thus going through "normal" problems that one can discuss calmly over a nice social dinner, things like -why the Boss is acting weird these days or which car maker is offering better post-recession service packages or which microwave oven is better suited to cook italian meals, which gym has more free treadmills at 7:00 am, and the like. Nice problems to have and discuss.
Well, I was doing the same about a year back, that is, doing great stuff that kept me busy and happy ... and I had similarly nice little challenges to keep me perky - this brand of pantone markers or that one ? This metro station or the next one ? Should I hand draw my illustrations or go flat out on photoshop? This texture or the other one ? Do I have too many skirts in my collection? Is my mood-board too contrived or just clever enough ? and so on...bliss!!
But ever since I got back from Paris, its like someone ( Are you listening God? ) is hell-bent on making me pay for the great time I had. The past year has been the most "stuck in the same dumb place" kind of year of my entire adult life so far- in fact its been a proper groundhog day remake.
To be honest , I keep hoping all the time for a "Bruce Almighty" to happen to me ...but never mind.
As a consequence of the past year of ( relative) non-progress, coming right on the heels of a previous great year of "living my dreams in Paris", every new disappointment is magnified ten fold, every little delay seems like life is slipping by me , and my "discussions" tend to get somewhat -ah- intense , at the moment .
But honestly, I simply don't feel like talking about all this internal churn stuff to anyone , because its a phase I am going through...where I feel involving other people might -
A) Somehow reduce my ability to, or prevent me from internalizing the experiences and learning everything from them that I am supposed to, and/or
B) Force them to form a permanent negative opinion of me based on this transitory restless phase and most importantly
C) Somehow break my fragile belief in my course of action and send me back to the path I was on earlier which lead me to greater security but away from my dreams.
So who ( whom ?) do I turn to ? My poor hapless blog- of course !!
For the first time, I am happy technology hasn't advanced far enough to create blogs that talk back to you and tell you to stop taking out your frustrations on them or ones that form permamnet opinions about you like " ranter loser low-tech life form" ; although I feel by now, there should already have been blogs with mood sensors and "friendly" applications that can make the soothing noises I was telling you about...
I know this is probably not very generous of me, after all these are friends I am talking about who have seen me through ups and downs and have stood by me and my dreams earlier and are the least likely to form overly negative opinions of me. On the other hand, these are also the only people who's opinions about me , actually matter to me , I agree, not to such an extent that I will change myself or my goals completely for them (I don't see myself doing that for anyone, perhaps, and nor do I think anyone else should do it for someone) but they do .
But this time it is different, this is by far going to be one of the biggest long term challenges I have set for myself, the challenge of wanting to and eventually setting up a successful business of my own.
There will be many, many , such points along the way which will test me very severely. It is also going to be hard for people I live with day in and day out, but I don't want it to be harder for them than it has to.
So no random ranting at them.
It is quite clear , I am going through the tough transition period that every entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur goes through. Its all documented out there in great detail by far better people...nothing new.
Why then, am I so grumpy ? Because my strategy is not working and I cannot figure out why because it still seems sound to me. As a result of not being able to figure out what exactly the problem is , I am getting a little paranoid that someone ( God or Human) is actually trying to sabotage my plans or trying to railroad me into doing something I DO NOT wish to do.
I don't like having to deal with invisible things and "hidden factors" that are without proof and I don't know how to go about gathering information on whether someone ( God or not) is after me- I am trying to work out all the various possible scenarios in my mind - shadow boxing is the word that comes to mind- very tiring !!
The plan was to get back from the sabbatical and go back to work as a marketer preferably in the field of my future business (fashion /retail) and work for a few more years before taking the final bow and easing into my future business.
The imagined conversation in my mind went like this -
Me- " Here I am, I am back from a great learning adventure, I feel fresher and more ready to take on the world than I have ever felt in the past 10 years. I have these particular set of skills to offer, and this is the going market rate for those , I will take a smaller hike than you would offer the next person waiting to be interviewed , because of the recession and all and because I suppose I should think I am lucky to get this break , and my pay is still far lesser than some bloated salaries I have seen for people who do virtually nothing. I want to have my own business in the future so I am not particularly looking for thrilling career advancement opportunities, but since I am a fairly ethical person I shall stick to my end of the bargain and do my job well if you stick to your end of the bargain and treat me with dignity , stay transparent, allow me to do my job and pay me on time. So - will you hire me ? "
Hiring manager- " Sure Veena , this is a fairly straightforward scene, you know the job , your quoted rate is fair ( actually quite below the maximum budget we had in mind , and that is fantastic , but I don't need to tell you those details) and you join in a month. Please be honest, professional, and deliver on your KRAs for as long as you work here. And when you leave, or we choose to lay you off , please leave on a cordial note because after all it is a free market and people are free to pursue their career goals, just as the organization is free to do what is best for the business"
But all my best laid plans have not worked as they were supposed to and the stoopid recession which was supposed to be over by now , is dragging on like its in Love with the world...not to mention Obama , who is adding to the confusion by panicking the Indian IT companies.
I haven't landed that perfect "comeback" job ( read- decent salary and respectable responsibilities) which would have been so easy in 2007 -2008. I have had one offer which I simply cannot take up because it is not the right fit,and frankly made me want to cry. The management in this company (according to my judgement ) would have haggled for every little penny of my pay and also the future Marketing spends, using the recession , what else , as an excuse.
That kind of dedication , where I fight like a Lion for my ideas and my people , I reserve only for when I am running my own show-Thank you. In an organization where I don't run the show I don't expect to be playing a leadership role only a managerial one.
Stupid and arrogant of me ? Maybe... and, that's part of the turmoil - doubting your own decisions.
Also I have learnt the words" future entrepreneur" and "aspiring entrepreneur" make you an untouchable in the corporate world. So when they ask you "where do you want to be in five year ? " you are supposed to say " Doing this same lovely job !! ". Silly me to have thought ambition was seen as a GOOD thing.
Thankfully some things are begining to look better now, and my black mood has lifted.
After this much ranting , the great depression would lift !!
Mercifully I have the perenially optimistic mind-set that is so crucial for a future entrepreneur and leader ( Please read - The one thing you need to know by Marcus Buckingham to actually get what I am saying here).
So thank you blog , for being there for me when I need to rant.
I promise to not ignore you for such long periods from now on.
Disclaimer- The writer does not claim any rights to the images used in this blog. The pictures used in the blog, have been (mostly) collected using google image search and modified for use on this non-commercial blog.