Sunday, June 29, 2008

When The Boss Dictates Your Peace Of Mind

image by glanzerr, sxc.hu


Go Get A New Job? Take It In Your Stride?

Remember the time when you were just out of college? The time when you got the first job? The boo-boodee-boo of the heart, the sparkle in the eyes, the I-will-take-on-the-world spirit, the spring in the walk -- as you stepped into the workplace? And remember how the boss or supervisor or senior shook your hands and welcomed you so warmly into the organization, introduced you to colleagues and showed you your seat? Life looked set to take off. The Boss looked like friend, philosopher, guide, mentor, God... all rolled into one.

image by oksanuna, sxc.hu


If, after so many years at the grind, your opinion about this particular species still remains the same: well, you are one of those rare, fortunate breed that has hit the gold fault, God Bless You, you must have performed some very pious deeds in your previous incarnation. But if you are like most of us out here in the world, chances are that by the time you have spent a few years in as many companies and workplaces, the sheen and the polish would have eroded from the character who decides not only the workload, the nature of work, and the raise one can enjoy, and in most cases also whether one stays or one goes, but also one's peace of mind.

image by mmagallan, sxc.hu


People have spent their entire lifetime studying the Boss tribe. Careers have been built, and lots of money has been made in writing books, availing of research grants, teaching the subject of leadership at management schools, giving presentations to CEOs at lecture circuits... all focusing on this curious specimen called the "boss" or the "leader".

image by sachyn, sxc.hu


Energy is expended in coming up with profound insights and anecdotes and high-falutin' words and interesting turns of phrases, with the objective of getting quoted around the world in prestigious journals and magazines of the kind that are found on the coffee table in the business-class cabins of executive aircrafts, and which raise higher their popularity quotient, and by implication, their fees. The title of "Management Guru", that too, conferred by peers, is a coveted one in this community. All that is very good, but what do you about the devil sitting in that corner office???

image by shrubby, sxc.hu


The "what" is answered to some extent by self-help. The self-help books and the self-help advisors exist on both sides of the chasm. Unbeknown to us, just as we are trying to figure out what makes that man or woman tick, he or she too is, or must be, or should be, crouching over some personnel management magazine or best-seller paperback that dwells on how to drive us - the workforce - to achieve results. In about the same way that we go through the numerous articles and books that give ample advice on "how to manage the boss"; the boss too is, or must be, or should be, attending seminars and workshops over the weekends to enhance their skills on people management.

image by larar, sxc.hu


All this rationalization is fine, but the question still remains unanswered: What To Do When The Boss Dictates Your Peace Of Mind? We could always up and walk out the door of course, and to hell with this psychoanalysis of the boss! But then we may have our own motivation to continue with the job: we need it to run the home and the hearth and there is no other option on the horizon for the time being. Or, despite the Boss factor, the job is still convenient because of x, y or zee reasons.

image by lusi, sxc.hu


Or we are still waiting for the outcome of the interview we had appeared in, the other day. Or we may have - unbeknown to us - fallen in love with the boss, never mind what happens to the boss every full moon. Oh, you never know, the heart neither understands logic nor reason, and then there are so many twists and turns in everybody's life, aren't there?

image by nazreth, sxc.hu


Actually, come to think of it, the answer to this question is very simple. Don't Let Them! Don't Let Them Dictate Your Peace Of Mind! Deny them the pleasure of having disturbed your peace of mind. Deny them the pleasure of seeing your face falling or your skin reddening or your body shaking or whatever it is that happens when the boss applies their deathly weapon on you.

image by acjnas, sxc.hu


My take is that the boss, for whatever period he or she is there in our life, is there to make us aware of our own attitude towards authority figures. Every encounter is a lesson that shines the spotlight on something that we are supposed to learn. And when the lesson has been learnt -- either we understand how to effectively manage this human being, or we realize that there is a limit to our tolerance and we fling the resignation letter in their face and leave, or we learn the dynamics of living and the beauty of adjustment in the particular circumstance -- the purpose of the boss' existence in our life is over. We part ways with this particular boss. And the next boss steps into our life. Or does not.

image by claymor, sxc.hu


In the midst of all this, the key is to never let go of the peace of the mind. For it is only when we detach ourselves from the situation, do we actually send out the subtle signal to the other party that sorry, I am not game for this kind of behavior or this quality of interaction. It is entertaining indeed to observe how the boss responds to such a signal that is consistently coming from us! Wouldn't be a surprise if, after a few of these episodes, the boss begins to tiptoe around us as if we were a minefield, while simultaneously carrying on with their very same old merry behavior with the rest of the employees! I am simplifying here; but you get the drift.

image by weirdvis, sxc.hu


Try it. And remember that, if you are at all career-oriented and an organization-person for the long-term, you will be Boss one day yourself! Unless you are already one. Good for you, for if you discover tomorrow that one of your juniors is suddenly behaving oddly differently to your usual barking; you will know where they read the tip from! And you will also know now the why, and what to do about it! Go easy on them, please.

image by sylmac, sxc.hu
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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Rediscovering The Self In The Middle Age

image by wazari, sxc.hu


Its Only Now That The Reins Come In Your Hands!


If you are either on the threshold of forty or, like me, already crossed and left behind that magic milestone of age, then you will relate to what I am saying here. Celebrate, for this is true liberation time, folks!

image by wazari, sxc.hu


You and I both know how it was when life began. Till a certain age, we were so dependent on the others to take care of our basic needs. And then we were sent to school or work and made to study subjects or perform tasks without consulting us or without asking us about our interests. (As if we knew then what was good for us! :-) But that apart...)

image by p0psicle, sxc.hu


And then the hormones began surging, and we were motivated to do things that we now chuckle about or feel our ears go red about. Love may or may not have happened. Marriage may or may not have happened. Divorce may or may not have happened. Kids may or may not have happened. Career in a chosen domain may or may not have zoomed to the skies. Material comforts may or not have been accumulated.

image by iofoto, sxc.hu


Having expended all our energies, not to mention our hormones, in career and relationships and material-comfort-accumulation, here we are. On the verge of or crossed forty. And we assess our present station in life. Are we happy wherever we are? Are we happy in whatever we are doing?

image by sue_r_b, sxc.hu


If we discover that, yes, indeed we are happy, yes, indeed our life has turned out the way we wanted it to be or the way the world around us wanted it to be, then let us pat ourselves in the back and move on. And if we discover that no, we are stuck, we are tied down, that things could have been different, that we deserve to lead a life better than what it is at the present moment... then it is time to redefine our "mission for this life".

image by hotblack, sxc.hu


It is quite likely that the earlier support systems have been withdrawn, so this time around there will not be anybody to lead us by the forefinger to some destination that may not be to our liking. It is quite likely that circumstances do not appear quite-so-overwhelming, because we have either become used to them by now, or because we have figured some way to overcome them.

image by buzzybee, sxc.hu


There used to be time when people would babble about somebody who one fine morning quit their steady, secure, nine-to-five desk-job and began doing something radically different: like joining a local music band, for example. Or someone suddenly left a thriving profession as medical practitioner to become a real estate broker. Listening to such tales, I used to often wonder just what it was that happened to these persons in the night before, when they went to bed. Did the Devil get hold of them?

image by duchesssa, sxc.hu


Now I know. These persons must have rediscovered themselves. They must have found their true calling in life. They must have realized that whatever they were doing; was not enough.

image by bjearwicke, sxc.hu


If you have touched or come ahead past the age of forty, and if you haven't already assessed what you really need and want from life, my suggestion is to set aside some time this coming weekend... and conduct this exercise. The Devil will not get you; but you will certainly emerge rejuvenated.

image by blary54, sxc.hu

[Reaching middle age gives you that feeling of standing at crossroads. Here is one more thought-provoking article that dwells on this idea further: "At The Crossroads - Which Route Do You Take?".]
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Friday, June 13, 2008

Say Hello To Peg Leg Chuck

image of Dalton's book cover


Meet The Youngest Entrant To The Literary World

He doesn't have an entry in Wikipedia. Yet. The present entry in Wiki under the name, "Dalton James", belongs to a 1971-born actor. But the way he is going, I am sure one day somebody somewhere will post an entry about him out there.

Wikipedia image


Say hello to Dalton James from Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Dalton is seven going onto eight, and studies in the first or the second grade at Woodland Elementary School in his hometown. And he has authored a full-color, children's paperback, "The Sneakiest Pirates", with its own ISBN number! Priced USD 10.95, the book is already available in the all the major outlets, both offline and online. The cartoon faces on the book cover cheekily stand out in the crowd of the more somber subjects such as "Community Psychology", "Mind over Markets" and "Personal Financial Planning" written by other James and Daltons namesakes - try googling his name on Amazon, and wow at the august assembly the kid is in already!

Amazon Image


The 20-page book's plot is about a father-and-son duo tracking down a treasure looted by the villain named Peg Leg Chuck.

image by krilm, sxc.hu


Sigh. And here I am. Last weekend, I deleted two whole chapters - worth nearly three months of effort - of my fiction work because I had woven in them a character which my inner critic now says "doesn't make sense, very superficial, distracts from the main theme, where is your plot going?". "Still doesn't have any depth in it, Sanjay. Why don't you stick to your software development and your systems analysis and designing and coding and support? Stick to manual writing and technical documentation, not creative writing. Who told you that you could be a writer too? This is just not your line, dude. Sheeesh! What an utter, sheer, imbecile waste of time!" No such self-examination, introspection, self-critiquing for young Dalton. He simply went ahead and did it.

image by svilen001, sxc.hu


And there is another project - a non-fiction, in the genre of self-development. Two years, and the chapters are still at the stage of notes-making. And this young Dalton, he is already working on a second book whose title he has already thought of - "The Heroes of Googly Woogly", and whose subject he has already made up his mind about: outer space. Talk of inspiration!

image by christgr, sxc.hu


Though the young author's first book-signing ceremony was reserved only for peers at the school, I am sure there will be more occasions where you can join the queue to have your own copy with Dalton's signature on it.

Image of Dalton James signing his book, OakRidger.com


Wouldn't be surprised if Oprah's people call upon Dalton one of these days. That is now the ultimate American dream today, isn't it: to shake hands with Oprah and appear on her show. And why not? Dalton, you deserve it boy!

Dalton James, image from outskirtspress.com
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Friday, June 06, 2008

Shifting The Focus - From Your Packaging To Your Essence

image by duchesssa, sxc.hu


Transitioning Smoothly Into Middle Age

The phrase "midlife crisis" carries the baggage of negative connotation.

image by alpha, sxc.hu


The "midlife" alludes to being poignantly poised at some center point of life. You look back to see the bubbliness of childhood, the frothiness of love and the heat of sex, the effervescence of marriage and or divorce and or children and or remarriage, the trepidation of moving through swing doors hopping from one job to another, the excitement of climbing up or down the career ladder, the thrill of having paid off the mortgage on the house or going deeper in debt... the works.

image by trelin, sxc.hu


And then you look ahead to see a vast terrain of the unknown.

image by cagdelhi, sxc.hu


The "crisis" alludes to a realization that things are not the same anymore. Something is changing. The mental gears are shifting to a different level of rhythm. The body's hormones have begun secreting different juices, or stopping to secret them altogether. The stamina and the gung-ho spirit now appear to wear down, and the hither to fore wild cry has a tired edge to it. The tendency to "take it easy". What's the hurry? We'll do it tomorrow. Care for a fag?

image by hadzaj, sxc.hu


It is when the realization hits you that your outlook towards the world is a changing, that a shift begins to happen: from "your packaging to your essence", as author Maggie Crane puts it so beautifully. Whether you were a macho hunk or a doll in your first half of life, you may have spent it focusing on the outward packaging. But then midlife is the time when you begin focusing on your essence, no not the smells, but your core being.

Image of Maggie Crane


Try as much to escape, but reality catches up sooner or later. It is not the "looking" attractive that matters anymore, it is the "feeling" attractive that makes all the difference. Think Viagra - or its feminine version which is said to be on the way - will help? Don't delude yourself, folks; while the drug does things to your nerves and blood vessels temporarily, it doesn't help overcome the feeling of emptiness, and it gives you all those side-effects besides. Read up your PubMed!

image by trolf, sxc.hu


The moment we decide that we are good and attractive the way we physically are, the moment we feel good and attractive to ourselves, is the moment we become good and attractive to the whole wide world. The next time we see ourselves in the mirror, instead of self-pitying the change in the hair color or the wrinkle or the crow's feet or the two curvy brackets enclosing the mouth, if we accept ourselves gracefully the way we have become, and begin to feel good about ourselves the way we are... is the time when true beauty emerges.

image by clix, sxc.hu


It is not the packaging... as Maggie says ... it is the essence that counts.

image by techny57, sxc.hu

[For another thought-provoking article on the subject of inner beauty, click on "Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall".]
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