Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A single page

As part of a  C E N S O R E D  process, I was quickly scribbling down a brief history of where I've worked - names, places, designation, duration, salary, etc. I have most of it scanned and ready, so didn't take too long... but somewhere, that page started getting heavy

It carried over a decade of my life - why wouldn't it feel heavy? Every figure, every word on that page came with days, weeks, months worth of history. The salary negotiations. The resignation dates. The pitifully short breaks between jobs. The names of reporting managers - good ones, bad ones. Months that gave up years' worth of excitement, fun, learning, hard work, heartbreak, drama, action. Years that simply faded away into the ennui of repetition and and boredom and left me with a few months worth of stuff happening. 

Every shift was literally the high point of the year - the reasons that would lead me to quit, the bitter, voluble daru sessions that preceded it, frustrations coming to a head, the interviews, the final offers, the quitting, the new places and people, the learning curve... 

It's just in the last few years that Life has had more to add and contribute than Work. More stuff has happened outside the Office than inside - and I remember the times when the Ofiice was literally all there was, and home was a place to crash and drink, and weekends were for catching up on sleep, getting smashed, recovering from hangovers, or putting in overtime. And maybe the occasional movie. There was no TV, no gaming, no interior deco, no family stuff, no quality time. 

There was, however, the ubiquitous, all-powerful cig break, the glue and the cornerstone of Office life and growth. There were the industry parties and the outbounds. All your friends worked where you did, and traveled together, so there was no 'commute', just extended timepass. Bosses could be angels or demons, but you always had less to worry about than them, more spare time than them, no matter what they did. Little things would be HUGE - road trips for a special tea or dhaba or snack. A weekend trek. A visit home. They'd sustain you for weeks
And the learning curve. Everything was new. The admin staff, the networks, reports, presentations, fieldwork, data entry, cold calls, warehouses... it was all a mysterious new world filled with drama, excitement, and above all, something new to learn every day. 

Then you shifted, and suddenly your world fractured into new and old. Then into Work and Personal. Then Work, Personal, Family, Friends, and the To-Do List. You feel sliced thin now, spread out over too many shifting textures floating on an unstable sea, pulling together the drifting loose barrels under your raft. It's more stable, bigger, but... there's something missing. Like a stage-one rocket, the first few career years drove you howling into space, and now, drifting in the silence, you miss that drive. It consumed you, that pillar of fire, changed you, took you into a place you never thought you would reach... but sometimes you wonder if the journey cost you the destination. 

It's strange how all that can fit on one page. 


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