Friday, May 26, 2006

Quit work

Today is my last day at my current job and firm. I have quit job and have decided to take a break from the hectic schedule. Wanted to enjoy the leisure at home for sometime before I can get back to career. Feeling relaxed and happy anticipating the less hectic life from Monday. I will have enough time for all my hobbies and interests now.

Friday, May 19, 2006

On the eve of our first anniversary

It is the eve of our first wedding anniversary and the tragedy is that both of us are at our work places doing regular work. Bharath is on call with his US conterparts for some complicated proposal delivery and I am supporting customers for their production hiccups while implementing the help desk software.

But we both plan to enjoy the day tomorrow. We are strictly off the phone for official calls (corresponding superiors please take the hint) and I am taking an off tomorrow from office. We have both our families visiting us. Hope to have a gala time tomorrow - our second wedding day. It just feels great realizing that we have completed one full year after marriage.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Balancing work life and social life

I got a fwd from Bharath about a topic on Late Sitting and what the Infosys' chairman and chief mentor Narayana Murthy felt about it. Am just quotting it below:
Infosys' Chairman and Chief Mentor Mr. Narayana Murthy's Speech on Late sitting:

I know people who work 12 hours a day, six days a week, or more. Some people do so because of a work emergency where the long hours are only temporary. Other people I know have put in these hours for years. I don't know if they are working all these hours, but I do know they are in the office this long. Others put in long office hours because they are addicted to the workplace. Whatever the reason for putting in overtime, working long hours over the long term is harmful to the person and to the organization.

There are things managers can do to change this for everyone's benefit. Being in the office long hours, over long periods of time, makes way for potential errors. My colleagues who are in the office long hours frequently make mistakes caused by fatigue. Correcting these mistakes requires their time as well as the time and energy of others. I have seen people work Tuesday through Friday to correct mistakes made after 5 PM on Monday.

Another problem is that people who are in the office for long hours are not pleasant company. They often complain about other people (who aren't working as hard); they are irritable, or cranky, or even angry. Other people avoid them. Such behavior poses problems, where work goes much better when people work together instead of avoiding one another.

As Managers, there are things we can do to help people leave the office. First and foremost is to set the example and go home ourselves. I work with a manager who chides people for working long hours. His words quickly lose their meaning when he sends these chiding group e-mails with a time-stamp of 2 AM, Sunday.

Second is to encourage people to put some balance in their lives. For instance, here is a guideline I find helpful:
  1. Wake up, eat a good breakfast, and go to work.
  2. Work hard and smart for eight or nine hours.
  3. Go home.
  4. Read the comics, watch a funny movie, dig in the dirt, play with your kids, etc.
  5. Eat well and sleep well.
This is called recreating. Doing steps 1, 3, 4, and 5 enable step 2. Working regular hours and recreating daily are simple concepts. They are hard for some of us because that requires personal change. They are possible since we all have the power to choose to do them.

In considering the issue of overtime, I am reminded of my eldest son. When he was a toddler, if people were visiting the apartment, he would not fall asleep no matter how long the visit, and no matter what time of day it was. He would fight off sleep until the visitors left... It was as if he was afraid that he would miss something. Once our visitors' left, he would go to sleep. By this time, however, he was over tired and would scream through half the night with nightmares. He, my wife, and I, all paid the price for his fear of missing out.

Perhaps some people put in such long hours because they don't want to miss anything when they leave the office. The trouble with this is that events will never stop happening. That is life! Things happen 24 hours a day. Allowing for little rest is not ultimately practical. So, take a nap. Things will happen while you're asleep, but you will have the energy to catch up when you wake.

Hence "LOVE YOUR JOB, BUT NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR COMPANY" (Because you never know when it stops loving you !!!!)

- Narayana Murthy
Reading this I was reminded of my collegues who put in so many extra hours of work and look so haggered. After the 2 days weekend, they come in so fresh. As the week progresses, they keep putting in so much of extra hours of work and by the time it is Friday, you feel sorry for them. They look as though they are gonna crumble the next minute. And as mentioned in the above speech, some of them crib about their collegues not working that long and other such problems.

Why do we torture ourselves to such long hours? An interesting quote that I came across which may be related to the current post:

"Twenty years down the line you will feel sorry for the things that you did not do than the things that you did. So never postpone a thing for future."

Always ensure that you strike a balance between your personal, official, and social life. This makes your life enjoyable. And probably it is time to realize that extended hours does not increase productivity... Instead it will only reduce productivity as it paves way for increased human error due to fatigue. Ponder!!!!

Also the quote that he gives at the end of his speech is also a point to ponder and a quote that is close to my heart.