Work Day Blues

I have been having a severe case of Monday blues, and not just today. I feel like I have been stuck with this since a long time. You know there are days when you just feel like blah at work, but those days have been pretty regular. I am honestly a little embarrassed to share how I feel about work days (and dread if any office folks happen to read it), but I have decided to go ahead anyway:

  1. Just for context – I like the work that I do and I am happy with the profile/domain etc that I work. Throughout my working lifecycle, I have always worked in Consulting, so all my points are based on that experience only.
  2. I am not a fan of most things a typical workday, especially for consultants like me, holds:
    • I dislike the fact that we don’t have a strong sense of belonging with our team or office junta. We usually work in different teams across the organization depending on the project we are on and, therefore, its difficult to forge genuine relationships. Add to this the fact that I usually don’t look forward to the social interactions that are specifically put to make the team interact, because those seem very surface level. I then get to observe how these dynamics work in my client offices – a non-consulting or what we call, an “industry” environment – and I see that people have groups they hang out with, people they hate, office politics etc. very clearly defined. Not saying whether its a good or bad thing, but it definitely provides them with some sort of sense of belonging. Weirdly enough, I have made some genuine friends whom I know from work, something I never expected to happen but it did.
    • Thing that I hate the most is the unsustainable working style – consultants usually are not just chasing a single KPI, or business objective, but rather responsible for either delivering a particular assignment or crafting the strategy for it CLUBBED WITH any additional department level responsibilities. Its not about the actual amount of hours that it may take (although that is the bigger pain point), but about the work expectations that you are expected to meet/exceed (not these terminologies again!) to “grow up the ladder” (not again!).
    • I will obviously feel a whole lot better about all the issues I raised, if I knew that I need to do it only for a fixed number of hours at a fixed time (4 days a week instead of 5 would be a nice touch, but let’s not go there).
  3. I am seeing a lot of trendy “toxic work culture” related terms thrown around these days, and I want to call them out for the kind of BS they promote. There are literally two extremes – quiet quitting and hustle harder and I hate both of them fervently. If you don’t know what they are, you are lucky as hell, but please Google them to understand what I am saying. πŸ˜€ Well, for quiet quitting, I honestly don’t know much, except that I hate the term itself. It means people who do the bare minimum at a job to make it work. How is this “quitting” at all? Like, at all? You are doing something out of a need (for yourself as well as the org), how can this be termed as quitting? Also, this glorification BS of “you need to love your job” really needs to stop. Not everyone is privileged enough to have that, and not everyone has the capacity to hunt for what YOU think is the right want. So, f*ck this glorification really. The other term, hustle, is downright annoying and I hate the kind of popularity this term is garnering these days. This is basically people who say that unless you want to fail in life, you need to work an unhealthy and ungodly no. of hours and do all sorts of things that hamper your lifestyle to make yourself succeed. This is the most bullshit concept that I find difficult to digest. Please understand that I am not saying that working extra hours is a bad thing always. There can be two scenarios for it – 1) you are passionate about something and are putting in your blood and sweat into it, 2) you are made to work like this because of any objectives you may or may not care about. The first one is a dream many want, but if you are shoving your dream down to other people’s throats and also giving lectures about how its necessary to succeed, then you are just promoting an unhealthy working style. To some people, their job may just be a means to make money and be compensated accordingly. If somebody wanted to hustle harder, they simply would, even without all these motivational gurus, who really seem to be on crack, telling them to do so.
  4. I was quite bored and done with working when I started this post, but I think its important I call out the goods in my own job too –
    • We mostly work from client offices rather than our own, so a lot of exposure.
    • And a lot of travel opportunities
    • Best thing I like: When we are not working from the client offices, we get to work from home. This is not something just due to the pandemic, but has always been the case for consulting folks

This was quite an emotional writing for me. Therefore, it may seem a bit incoherent. If you came till hear, I would love to hear your thoughts. Also, feel free to correct me on anything you find not sitting too well. πŸ™‚

If you liked this, check out more of my latest posts:

On Weeping | Blogmas 5

Not a very Christmas-y post, this one. But an important one nonetheless.

I had been meaning to talk about this since a long while but it just skipped my mind. Why is there so much peer pressure for not crying? Of course, i understand that one may not want to weep or cry in front of others to not make anyone uncomfortable or to not appear weak. But that’s just a part of the picture. Even weeping or crying alone is sort of considered taboo.

As for me, i think weeping makes one feel instantly lighter. Letting your emotions flow in the most physical sense cannot be so bad after all, I guess? Then why weeping is a sign of wrong doing? I don’t get this. One problem that I see with myself is that weeping comes so naturally to me and ever so often that sometimes when the matter is not that big of a concern, i end up scandalizing people around me. This definitely needs to change. I think somewhere I end up using it as a mechanism to gain shmpathh, which is so, so wrong on so many levels. However, I think others could definitely do with adopting more healthy weeping πŸ˜€ and, oh, the pressure that guys have for not crying. That sucks so much and definitely needs to go.

Things about Rahul I never want to forget #2

Disclaimer: I have copied the idea for this series from Haathi Time (who has now made her blog private) and I have taken permission from her to use the same title as hers. This series is about day-to-day things that my husband ends up doing which turn out profound for me and I would recall them here.

Rahul has the best advice for me, whether I take it or not.

This is just as true for a life changing event versus something like taking a bath.

Take for example, this very random scenario. Something most of you won’t even count as advice. This one time I was complaining to Rahul just how much I hate myself for eating chips almost everyday and I just can’t seem to stop. For more context, go here. I went on and on about this ‘problem’ of mine and how I never learn. The best part is that Rahul didn’t pause me even once and continued listening to this pointless rant and, in the end, he simply said – “Don’t buy chips then! It’s that simple”.

This is it. This is the point of this post. Sure, we are in an embarassing situation where we sometimes have to tell friends who are coming over to buy themselves chips/chakna on the way, unless we are ordering them. But my chips consumption has reduced a lot. I only order them or go specifically to the market nearby when I really can’t do without them. πŸ˜€

Things about Rahul I never want to forget #1

Disclaimer: I have copied the idea for this series from Haathi Time (who has now made her blog private) and I have taken permission from her to use the same title as hers. This series is about day-to-day things that my husband ends up doing which turn out profound for me and I would like to recall them here. The first one in the series which happened in 2018 & is since in my drafts:

This is about the time I was sent abroad on a business trip. I am not mentioning the place on purpose to keep identity of people involved ambiguous (some of my friends from those days read this space).

Okay, so, I mentioned business ‘trip’ because it was too sudden and proposed to me as a short stint. I realized upon going there that this could go long and, as it later turned out, I had to actively try to not let it be permanent. The reason I am mentioning all of this is to highlight the fact that I wasn’t super ready to move at that time and I had just been out of another situation where I felt depressed due to being lonely while working in a foreign city. This time, I had mentally prepared myself to enjoy the most and have a great time. That last situation had made me a stronger person and also someone who treats such opportunities with respect. Instead of being sad, I was all ready to have a good time and I was open to forging some genuine friendships. It later proved to be a very memorable experience where I met some amazing people and the only regret I have is of not being this open in my previous similar stint.

As I was saying, this time was going very well and I was always open to meet new people when on one of these days, I got invited to a casual hangout at a bar with some office colleagues. Now this was a setting where all the people were a bit older than me and there was no other female. Just to be clear – the no female or the age thing matters to me only when I am in a group of almost strangers or acquaintances. This was a case of acquaintances and since it’s colleagues, you don’t want to be in a weird situation later on.

It was no big deal either way, whether I went or not. It was only a casual hangout. But when you are on your own in a new place where you are yet to have your comfort zone friends, you treat every social interaction with new people with a dubious eye. I was planning to cancel as I didn’t want to have any sort of embarrassing or weird situation with older colleagues to come out of this. Before cancelling, I just thought of calling Rahul up to talk about this and this is what I said – “I am thinking of not going, as these people are older than me. What would they think if I go out drinking with them? What if I end up saying something that would make me an office joke or something?”

And this is what Rahul had to say – “How does it matter? If they think anything bad of you, that means their mind is skewed a certain way. What are you so worried for?”

And this has stayed with me. I know, I know, these are very simple things to say but things that I end up forgetting a lot too. In that moment, this talk made me very aware of the fact that we let people get away with being judgmental and impact our life decisions. I wanted to go because I wanted to have a good time but the fear of being judged wasn’t letting me. In hindsight, I think one thing I admire the most about Rahul is his security in being himself, he will not act a certain way just because he is in a certain setting. (it’s a different story that he will go completely mum when he doesn’t like the setting). But I admire his comfort with being himself while people can judge all they want. πŸ™‚

Turning 30 on Aug 30

So, this Aug 30, I turned 30 years old. Of course, as I type it, it seems like a huge number. And usually when you have a milestone birthday (like 30s, 40s or even 25th, 35th etc), you are asked by others or yourself – how do you feel about turning this age?

I have some mixed thoughts on hitting this milestone year. I will try to break them down into understandable points, for myself as well as the reader. πŸ™‚

First of all, a very obvious thought, which I think many people will relate to – I feel that life is running past us. As a 30-year old, shouldn’t I have had done more? Now, just to be clear, I am not someone who usually undermines their achievements or efforts. If anything, I am always applauding myself even for small achievements but, at the same time, I am also someone who would feel a whole lot more fulfilled if they can check on some typical success metrics (this may have something to do with how I was raised – my mom takes very little downtime and it’s so hard to convince her that relaxation is not a bad thing). Therefore, when I think that I have turned 30, a rush of things come to my mind – things that I should have done by now, but haven’t. I am also trying better to not measure life in checklists. In the end, it doesn’t matter, what usually bothers oneself is their own fomo and what if you get over the idea of fomo? A lot more happiness I guess. (Can’t believe I used fomo in a post about turning 30).

Secondly, age is not just a number. Let me explain myself before any bricks are thrown at me. I completely understand and agree to the context when people use “age is just a number”. What they mean is that there’s no age to do anything. You can find love at 60, become a painter suddenly at 30 etc etc. I fully agree to this thought. But it doesn’t change the simple maths that at any of these points in life, you are that many years old. There is only a certain number of years you would live from an average life expectancy standpoint. I really, really don’t want this to sound depressing and, trust me, I am not depressed while typing this out. I just feel that age is not just a number and it is indicative of how much of your life has already been lived. To take this indication in a helpful manner though, we can take a conscious call to not let age dictate what we want to do anyway!

The second point brings me to my third point – I feel a whole lot secure of myself as I age. This is one of the greatest benefits of ageing and I know many of my friends relate to this. I feel a lot more sure of myself, my wants, a lot more open to be myself in a crowd and this is something that I expect will improve even more in the coming years. I also have a lot less fucks to give to people who don’t matter (in fact, I expected more improvement in this area by now). Again something I hope will improve further as we age.

Lastly, I didn’t want to end this post without mentioning how my birthday went. I was at my in-laws place (fun fact – coincidentally all my birthdays post marriage have been with my in-laws and it’s a complete coincidence as we don’t live together). We had the usual cake cutting at midnight with some cute birthday decor. Btw, I abhor this midnight cake cutting concept now unless you are partying for the birthday. I mean if you are staying awake anyway for partying or anything else, then cut the cake at midnight. Otherwise, whyyyyyy? Also, I am a complete balloon lover but have given up on using them since they are non biodegradable. My SIL insists on having decor on my birthdays but I am totally against balloons now as I don’t miss their presence in my life at all. Can be easily given up. They did make for great pictures though! Sharing one below. I did another cake cutting with some cute kids in the evening next day. Apart from this, I got a lot of gifts from cute friends and family. I feel extremely loved when someone remembers the books I wanted to buy and loved having all the gifts I got this birthday – a Harry Potter illustrated edition for me to start my Harry Potter journey along with another book I wanted and some awesome lipsticks from Moksha, a pair of gold earrings from mil, some cute pendants from Khushi and a beautiful outfit by sil. All lovely, fun things. It was also janmashtami on the same day this time and it usually is a big deal as my sil and her husband are pretty religious, we participated in a dance during the janmashtami function and that was quite fun too!

I dedicated many minutes over many days on how I would have wanted to celebrate my 30th birthday and here’s the deal – the reason I thought so much about it is because I like doing something special on my birthday but it’s mostly because I don’t want to regret later about not doing something special :D. So, my ideal birthday would be to be on a holiday or a staycation or having a party with my close friends only if I can be sure that people will just chill and have a good time without making a big deal about birthday specific attention (that gets formal and irritating). This birthday too I had wanted to go for a couple spa (I haven’t got a spa done ever btw, hair spa doesn’t count). On the actual birthday, I didn’t feel like going for it, so that’s pending too. So much for seizing the moment and we only live once quotesπŸ˜›.

How do you like spending your birthdays? Also, any thoughts on ageing are welcome πŸ™‚

Edit: totally forgot to mention this gorgeous cake that my sil got made πŸ™‚

Small Joys

There’s a juice shop right below my parents condominium. In winters, we often go there in afternoons to get a glass of carrot juice each. Now this incident happened really long ago, I mean so long ago that I am sure it was pre-covid. I remember thinking at that time that this needs to go on the blog today itself. And here I am, posting about it today. πŸ˜€

When I went to the juice shop with my mom, two tiny kids who were rag picking were just passing by. I asked them to come over and have the juice. I can’t tell you the look of happiness I saw on their faces. I had tears in my eyes. I just somehow controlled myself so that it doesn’t get awkward. Their happiness was the sort of unadulterated one that makes it contagious honestly! And then, something even better happened, when I was paying the juice shop person, he didn’t charge me in full for their juices and actually gave the two kids a little extra than the standard glass. It’s like you did a tiny thing and the world joined you in making it ten thousand times better.

Living in India, you become so used to coming across the income disparity instances so often, well, ‘used to’ is not the right word because every instance in daily life makes you feel uncomfortable but more often than not, you just move on with your life. These tiny pockets maybe rare but it definitely made my day a whole lot brighter. Like I mentioned, this incident was definitely pre-covid and I still remember it so vividly because of the joy it brought!