Rainy days and corporate reflections

Wet weather and a nice hotel set up (decent sized room, which actually has a table and chair and non florescent lighting, a sweet little shared terrace outside our screen door complete with fat, chatty resident sparrows, comfy chairs, and room service delivery of big pots of coffee and a friendly French/Lithuanian couple as neighbors) has encouraged us to have a very lazy stay in Jaipur so far.

I am proud to share that rather than feeling like a travel failure and freaking out about a big list of ‚shoulds’ as I might have done a few weeks ago, I am actually rather enjoying it. I see this as a sign of progress and also marvel at the fact that it has taken me this long to start to really relax! 🙂 I’m still not at Roman-levels of chilling out – he is really a master at this – but if I keep at it, I might catch up with him eventually. 🙂

I’ve been trying out a new mantra – ‘Who gives a $#!@’. The mechanics of the technique are pretty straight forward. Any ‘should’ or judgemental thoughts that my brain starts spewing at me can be countered with the simple but potent incantation.

I haven’t showered and my hair is messy – ‘Who gives a $#!@’. These clothes are comfortable but do they look ok? ‘Who gives a $#!@’. It’s raining and we are tired but if we stay at the hotel we will miss out on the cultural landmarks of Jaipur. ‘Who gives a $#!@’.

I’m starting to feel more comfortable in my own skin again so it seems to be doing the trick! 🙂 Also helpful is remembering that just because we are traveling doesn’t mean that we have to be doing stuff all the time; down time is important.

I wonder if some of the pressure I’ve been putting on myself is just residual stress from my recent past life as a team leader in a corporate environment. How long does it take to detox from an eight year career in finance I wonder? I heard from a good friend still working at my old employer that there has recently been yet another big round of lay offs…

Even months removed from work, I still feel strong loyalty to the people there and it makes me upset to hear about how carelessly people’s lives and livelihoods are manhandled all in the name of the anonymous shareholder… So please excuse the rant. 😉

There were so many positives about my old job. The work was really interesting and I learned a lot. But the best part by far was the great people I got to work with and how valued they were. The culture of the company has been increasingly pressured and compromised though.

I don’t know what will happen when it’s time to get back to work after this big trip, but, especially having some distance and perspective, it is hard to reconcile the thought of giving my time and energy to any company that views its employees as completely disposable. I know that is probably the attitude most employers take, but it just seems like a completely flawed stance to take based on mercenary, short-term thinking.

Anyhow, I am angry (in case you couldn’t tell 😉 ) on behalf of my friends still there and at the seemingly poor perspective of managers who value short-term gain over long-term quality and a healthy culture. I also wonder if this will remain the pervading reality at most employers. In the corporate world in India, from what I have heard, it is even worse and most white collar workers hate their jobs but competition for positions is so high that employees will put up with bad work situations.

This may sound naive, but it just seems insane to spend the majority of your time being miserable at work or to support a work environment where your employees are seen as a cheaply transferable commodity rather than a valuable resource and maybe even as human beings. I realize that one’s happiness is one’s own responsibility and having the right perspective can transform any situation into something positive. But still, I have a tough time understanding certain aspects of corporate mentality…

And, spending time remembering all that, I am all the more grateful to be here in the bad weather in Jaipur with Roman. 🙂

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