Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The working world

My sister in law and i had an interesting conversation recently.

we were discussing jobs. she wanted one and i wanted to move.

i told her i wanted static hours and it was nice to work from home. but every interview i seem to go for, seems to have a 24x7 theme. come to work. work at work. go home, log in, work till you drop. or maybe keep working past that.
i told one managing director that i didn't want to work weekends or at home, or past the hours i was expected to. he wasn't happy. he didn't like what he heard. i didn't think he'd respond or write back to me. the position has been vacant for a couple of years.

i asked a friend about the interview. he told me he used to do that for years. go to work. stay late. go home and start working on a laptop the office had provided him. he usually leaves a job because he thinks they are not paying him enough. he said that his office had more work than our former office. he didn't feel the need to draw boundaries between the workplace and home. but he did tell me once that he wasn't happy about his wife wanting to work. if he earned so much, why should she work.

is that why he works late hours? more money? or doesn't he know how to say 'no'. does he want to say 'no'.
does he know what is reasonable anymore?

back to what my sister in law and i were discussing.

she told me about the employment fair for women in mumbai recently. i'd seen it in the newspaper. but didn't read about it. sadly. she told me that the turnout was huge. wildly beyond expectations. whose expectations and how she knows, i don't know.

she added that a lot of the women at the fair were looking for part-time work and better working hours. and her company had hired two women, who were from advertising, but were already showing that they were very good at what they did.

it reminded me of another friend in her late 30s who quit her job in a huff. she's very talented, but the company made her work very long hours. it made her disatisfied, especially when they wouldn't allow her to do her exams or study.
and this is something i see all across. at newspapers. corporates. the smart companies recognise talent and do a case-by-case. but what about the rest.

a regular line at companies is, if you don't do it, you will be replaced. that's easy, there are so many people that can replace you. but at what cost. is the new person as good? getting them to speed will take a long time. do they have the qualities you require? one can repent in leisure. 

these days i want to get out of the race. i started thinking this way over the last year or so. but now i wonder if all the heart burn is worth it. my biggest worry -- will i be able to afford an early retirement.

i have more to say. but perhaps later.


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