The Job – Mind Over Money
Friday Reflections #1
One thing I’ve realized is that life is all about expectations. There are expectations of you, ones you are expected to fulfill. And when they aren’t met, those who expect those things from you seem to go spiraling down a path of disappointment. Their expectation is a must-meet, I guess, and overshadows any expectation I have of myself, and any happiness I have while being the version of me I love the most. It was so when I had to choose my path after school, and it remains so today, more than a decade later, even when I’m holding down a job. People look at me and say, “No. You’re not doing right. You have to try for bigger things.” Bigger things, in their mind of course, means a more known company, and in direct relation, a bigger paycheck to get home at the end of the month. It irks me of course. I’m only human. But my point of view is different.
A good job doesn’t necessarily have to be about the money. It has to be about good colleagues, who know who you are and give you a boost when you need it. It has to be about you being in that environment that makes you grow as a person and as a professional. And yes, it needs to make you happy. A little less money for a lot more happiness is worth it, I think. And my first, and current job, gives me all that, and a purpose.
At this job, I do the work I’m “qualified to do” – developing websites and programming. It falls within my strong zone. It gives me, as well as my work, a voice that is heard by who I’m reporting to. That is an expectation of mine that’s fulfilled here. The catch, what some people use to argue with, is that the company is not in the IT sector. To them, it “doesn’t count”.
At this job, I get some breathing space. I have colleagues who are friendly, who make me feel at home with the project that I work on. They interact. At every interview I’ve attended, the people who I’m supposed to work with have looked like robots. I’ve gone past them; given them a smile, but they’ve continued to stare at the screen as if a moment’s break or a hello will bring the “work” crashing down. And the excuses for not hiring me have bordered on the insane. “Mr. Vinay, your English skills aren’t up to the mark. Our clients are from the USA.” or “Mr. Vinay, we regret to inform your salary demands were too high.” (Their offer is usually the same or lower than what I earn.) At least, when I first interviewed here, they were open and honest. They told their expectation of me, and I knew I could fulfill them. The next day, I had the offer letter in my hand. It was one of the happiest days of my life.
At this job, I still have some freedom to focus on my passion. When the pressure isn’t high and the boss trusts in me to deliver on time, it’s good. Some of my colleagues know of my passion for writing. They read, appreciate, and even give positive criticism. They know of my love for reading. They come to me for novel recommendations, or gift me books because they know I’ll love the gift. The last time I interviewed at a company, they saw that under hobbies and passions, and wanted to know if I’d be ready to give up the time I put for that and use that to focus on work as well.
At this job, there’s nature around me. I am a nature lover, and nature is something that inspires me a lot. Observing nature has helped me in improving the aspects of my writing that I love. The other places I’ve gone to for interviews have been concrete forests, or small rooms where five or six people sit working and the struggle can be seen on their faces as they work.
At this job, there is kindness. Make a mistake, and you are kindly told to rectify it. Those who work with me are kind enough to help me find the error if I have difficulty locating it. They are kind enough to lend money if you need it urgently, or give you a gentle push if they feel you’re slowing down and need inspiration. In a time when everyone seems to bother only about themselves and you have people forgetting the meaning of the words kindness and compassion, the support here is joyful.
As Harvey MacKay said, “Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about those who don’t. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it.”
I wake up each day being happy with where I am. I spend time with those who love me for who I am and who make me better too. I believe I’m at this job for a reason, and I give it my best effort. I take the chances when I get, and don’t worry if I don’t. Life isn’t easy, that’s for sure. I have my ups and I have my downs. But this job, the people around me, friends and colleagues, the art and the world of writing… they make this life worth every breath.
(© 4th September 2015)