Monday, April 24, 2006

FRIENDS- Part-1: An Asset!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.- Tennessee Williams

Coming from a family that was constantly on the move (somehow that sounds really funny…Just to clarify my dad had a transferable job!!!) making friends had become a habit… I have actually lost count on the number of schools I had changed during my schooling days. I adore my friends. Right from the day I can remember I have had a bevy of them.

There has never been dearth of friends and I think I should thank God for that!!! Some of my best moments have been with them and also some of the lessons that I have learnt have been in association with them. You can tell them things that otherwise would have been buried in your heart.

I have a friend with whom I can converse / argue for hours together on any bizarre topic under the sun and we do it with so much vim. I really enjoy it (I hope its vice versa too:)). This friend of mine is someone who thinks I am a good egg even though he knows I am slightly cracked :)…That’s what I think is a characteristic of a great friend.

The only way to have friends is to be one and then you will realize that they are a creed of people who are laudable because they are always there to provide you with that lambent light during adversity.

Enjoy with your Buddies!!!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Why do I keep doing this???

I actually wanted to write something else but an incident that occurred yesterday preempted my thoughts.

There are things in this world that you may not achieve irrespective of how hard you try…like talking more carefully or reaching out to only those people who actually respond / care enough to talk to you.

Yesterday’s incident was a result of failure to achieve one such habit. I try to think before I talk, so that I don’t offend others but this is something that has eluded me for quite sometime. Inadvertently I say that extra word or a sentence, which will annihilate the relationship. Nowadays I do not even spare e-mails.

A few days back I had received an e-mail and as usual I replied back with a few jokes and smileys to add humor to the content. This I thought would bring a few smiles on their (readers) faces and brighten up their day, but maybe I sometimes overdo it.

Yesterday I had a perfect Wednesday until late in the night I received a call from the recipient of the e-mail accusing me of writing something that I couldn’t even comprehend. The only thing I realized was that they were greatly offended by my “joke”. I was appalled and addled by their reaction. Even after the entire conversation I still did not get what was the cause for all the commotion. As far as I was concerned it was just yet another simple joke.

Now Who Is To Blame?

Definitely not them because they are perfectly entitled to their interpretation!!! So does that mean I am the culprit? Somehow I can’t agree to that too, as I was perfectly innocent and did not intend any harm…These things happen even during normal conversations. If you tell people what you really think they get hurt and stop conversing with you instead of feeling happy about having a friend who actually speaks his heart out.

So What’s The Solution?

The best method maybe is to just keep quiet and not get into any such mess. Each time I try implementing this I miserably fail. Further I honestly feel it’s a retrograde step, which actually removes the spice out of life.

So the apposite solution would be to make an effort to “think everything you say” but that’s easier said than done especially for me…and hence the spice, excitement, the pain and the frustration will continue as long as I continue my asinine remarks….

Monday, April 17, 2006

My New Year Resolutions

“No Habit can be removed but only be replaced”
“Anything done continuously for 22 days will become a habit or a routine”- Robin Sharma in “ The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”.

I think everybody knows what “New Year Resolution” means but I am sure half of them wont know how far it dates back!!! I was actually one of them till I started writing this… So for those of my friends who have absolutely no background on them here is a small write-up, before I go into my New Year Resolutions!!!

The tradition of the New Year's Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 B.C. Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar.
With two faces, Janus could look back on past events and forward to the future. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and many Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies and also exchanged gifts before the beginning of each year.
The New Year has not always begun on January 1, and it doesn't begin on that date everywhere today. It begins on that date only for cultures that use a 365-day solar calendar. January 1 became the beginning of the New Year in 46 B.C., when Julius Caesar developed a calendar that would more accurately reflect the seasons than previous calendars had.

That’s enough of History…Let me jump straight into my resolutions..Year after year I have been making New Year resolutions…the list usually used to be endless…But this year I wanted it to be different. So I took almost 20 days to come up with the 3 most important things that had to be done immediately and the goal was to complete them as soon as possible. All the 3 were the most difficult things that I had postponed for quite sometime. I have tried writing about each one of them, sorry for being very cryptic but I still have not reached a stage where I can pour all my feelings on the blog!!

I am sure all of us would have experienced situations where you exactly know what needs to be done but you don’t do it for fear of failure…This was exactly the case with me…It was one of the most important decision that I took as part of my first resolution. It was something that was eating my head so much that it resulted in a lot of disappointments and sleepless nights. Even though it was a huge risk that I was taking it had to be done, irrespective of whether it goes well or not. It was done within the next 10 days (6th of Feb to be exact) of making the decision but don’t ask me the result or what was it. Maybe sometime in future I will be writing a full story about it…

Anyway I was at least happy to have completed the first one. The next one was something that would take at least 10 months to complete. The important thing was I kick started it immediately. Felt really good, but somehow lately I have become lazier and motivation has started to fade. But its still on and am happy to say that my second resolution is still on…

Third…Hmmm…This is a resolution that lasts for a lifetime. It’s a struggle / battle everyday. As usual with full josh I started it, a lot of things in-between has resulted in its derailment. But to be honest the reasons for its derailment was not in my hands. Anyway after almost a month break I have started it again.

The only thing that matters at the end of the day is our happiness & that’s what I want to achieve with these resolutions. I am sure by next year I will be able to write about each one of them in detail as they would have been obsolete by then (except for maybe the first one)….
But the bottomline is for the first time i have actually completed all my resolutions within the first cople of months & thats what i call an ACHIEVEMENT...Hip Hip Hurray

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Great Leveling

The rise of India and China and demise of America is well- trodden literary territory. But the focus of Thomas Friedman’s “The world is flat” is along different lines…This book is not about what “will happen” but its about “what is happening”. He wants to tell you how exciting this new world is, but he also wants you to know you're going to be trampled if you don't keep up with it. This is “THE” book, if you’re a Bangalorian (and for that matter an Indian) and are looking for some ego boostJ.
He talks about everything that has made globalization possible, from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the explosion of the internet to the dot com bubble and bust and outsourcing of jobs to India and China, globalization has evened the playing field for many emerging economies.

He talks about 10 different events / factors that has made the world flat and its well researched. It will give a very good understanding on how we have benefited from all of them. It gives an insight on how we have been able to generate a lot of jobs right from research (high end) to call centre jobs (low end)…But this article is not about this book but my thoughts on the subject…

These are a few questions we should be asking ourselves…

Is this what we want?
Is the society improving as a whole?
And does it really help in the long run? If not how do we adapt?

There is no answer to the first question but I feel we have got more than what we have lost!! Here are some pointers…
Isn’t it better to have a job even before we graduate?
Isn’t it better to be well paid for the work that we do instead of being hardly paid for the same amount of work?
Doesn’t it feel good to spend and save simultaneously at such an early age?
Isn’t it better to try some of the opportunities available, learn from it and decide the course of your future rather than spend the prime time of your career in searching and then stabilizing in a job?
But India's Y2K windfall could be read just as easily as a sign of dependence, of reliance on tasks that American workers no longer want. Friedman rightly notes that "low-wage, low-prestige jobs in America . . . become high-wage, high-prestige jobs" when outsourced to India. But in an era where, both pride and humiliation get served up to you via fiber-optic cable, it's not at all clear we'll like the long-term geopolitical consequences of having emerging powers reliant on scraps from the American economic table.
But the whole point is that we are better paid and are well off for the work that we are doing…
As far as health and other personnel factors are concerned we cant have the best of both the worlds so the onus is upon us to develop a strategy to balance out both the worlds (work & personnel). This is anyway easier said then done… But I think we will eventually get there…

Don’t u think the society as a whole has improved?.
Just imagine what the current youth (35% of Indian population) would have done if the Indian economy hadn’t opened during the nineties…. We might have become another Pakistan for all u knowJ In spite of these new opportunities we see that the unemployment rate is still high, so we can as well imagine how it would have been without the outsourced jobs…
The overall economy is booming, the GDP has improved and the spending capabilities have definitely increased. All these factors have made us one of the most preferred destinations.

Is the honeymoon going to last?
The term “honeymoon” itself, indicates that it’s not something that might lastJJ
The advantages that we currently have are
1.Low wages
2.Low cost centre
3.Talent and HR.

Except for the third one the first two are temporary…our wages are approximately one fourth of US wages. But during every appraisal we are nearing their wages. Its been forecasted that in another 7 years time we will be almost half their wages and in 13 years time there will no such advantages.

We are already losing out on the low cost advantage. A sq foot of office space in Bangalore currently costs $20 but in Massachusetts (supposed to be one of the prime hubs) its about $16. So as soon as we catch up on their salaries we will loose the first two advantages to other low cost centers like China, Vietnam, Brazil and even Russia.

End of honeymoon doesn’t mean the end of Marriage…Now comes the time of consolidationJ
We still have the third advantage and that’s our “talent”
We can’t prevent companies from shifting to other low cost centers, which will eventually happen in another decade. But the advantage we have is we still have time on our hands…we have to improve on our knowledge base. As Indians we are born with the talent of multitasking and survival is in our blood. The Indians in US have always survived the Layoffs and that should inspire us.
The major threat will be for the low-end jobs. Most of our youth join the call centers as a stopgap solution until they decide what to do with their lives, but with the easy money flowing in and laziness creeping in it eventually becomes permanent. The problem is in due course there will always be resources in other countries who will be ready to work at lower costs. But if we don’t have the desired skills to survive, then by the time the realization starts to sink in it will be too late.
We have to work hard and diversify so that our children are not in the same state as the Americans are currently in. Having said this it doesn’t mean America is loosing out, the American economy is highly benefited from the entire process and if their economy doesn’t do well then the entire world market will be affected. But their problem is that they are loosing out on all the jobs that can be outsourced which eventually will happen to India too.

Thus we must start building expertise in areas, which cannot be that easily outsourced. We must become an economy that the world cannot neglect and we must start tapping our own consumer base. The Indian population (and the percentage of youth) is only going to increase and so will their spending capabilities and hence the market will only improve. But it’s upon us to constantly improve our skills and broaden our horizon.
We are seeing a kind of growth that we didn’t even dream off a few years back. Now it’s our responsibility to at least sustain this growth by constantly innovating.