Friday, March 18, 2016

Corporate Musings: The Friday Syndrome

                  Corporate Musings: The Friday Syndrome

Whenever I find myself reflecting deeply on life or searching for that "bigger purpose" or my "true calling" or such jargon straight from a Paulo Coelho work, I discover inevitably it's Friday. Sometimes, the week has trundled along. Sometimes it has whizzed past. And there have been occasions where the week has remained stationary for several weeks. Yet when the week halts on a Friday, aspects of routine life which remain conveniently hidden (or blended) in the background, suddenly take foreground and force introspection.

It invariably starts with blaming the Bangalore traffic. I'm sure it has been the same on a Monday or a Wednesday. But somehow it draws special attention on a Friday. It is probably because it serves the first reminder of how mundane and monotonous yet hurried and complex our lives are. (read corporate lives).
Thoughts start intruding at the work desk too. Probably because Fridays are a lot more relaxed at work than the rest of the week. It usually starts with "Why do I have to do this?" and ends up at "Why am I doing this?" I look back at a fledgling career of two and a little years, as though I've spent two odd decades. And because I have the luxury to reminisce on a Friday, I look back at those unfulfilled little dreams: starting with a novel I have a vague outline about to a membership at the gym that has been lying idle for the last couple of weeks to an unplanned trip to the Himalayas that has been long due. Everything seems so possible if and only if I was not spending most of my life working and shaping a career.
The "Shaping a Career" takes a different connotation as well on Fridays. Having been forced to think along the lines of well set processes in an organization, I start to crave to do something creative(Forgetting that the most creative I've been in the recent times is writing crap about Puppets that talk all of a sudden) I want to solve a "Real World Problem." It sounds too cool. Thanks to the morning, Bangalore traffic takes first place again. Then I read a report on Modi and my mind drifts to agriculture. A farm hundred kilometres from Bangalore, a chance to be my own Boss and employ a few people. A serene life with green all around - what more could I ask for?
After meandering on the web for a while, the browser lands on the inevitable these days:"Start -Ups". Nah..not about starting a "Start-Up." There are people who can afford the risk. I suddenly want to be employed in a startup. I convince myself I want a more dynamic environment where I face "challenges" each day. (The last time I faced such a challenge, I had a verbal battle with my boss and quit the job a week later). I open LinkedIn and hit numerous likes. Also say "Please review my profile" to a stranger's post which already has two thousand seven hundred and thirty nine people doing the same. I lookup key people from a few organizations and endorse their posts - sometimes adding  a cryptic two lines that seem extremely knowledgeable yet completely unfathomable. The Friday drowsiness helps all this.
The week ends. Finally. After shutting down the laptop for the last time in the week, I trudge along the dusty roads - still engrossed in a weekly battle, trying to figure out where my life is headed. I pass by a few street-side vendors, with little kids who often smile and wave at me. That is when the "Friday Syndrome" hits its peak notes. My heart goes out to those kids. I want to quit my job, go to a remote village in some corner of India and start teaching. I would start teaching first, then gain the trust of the village and revolutionise the village. That village would be a model village for the entire country. Centuries later, it would still have my statue - with a laptop in one hand and a sapling in the other.
I get into the Metro, still thinking about in which region of India this village would be. Somewhere in the Himalayas would be my preference. I try to find out if I have enough savings to last me for a while - till I get to the village, start teaching and the village pays me. I make a decision to quit worldly life and pursue my goal of educating India. "Educating India" would be my TED Talk which millions of people would Google after a couple of decades. My mind starts painting a picture that convinces me this is the route to take. I plan to tell my parents tonight, convince them over the weekend and hand in my papers on Monday.
I play and replay the dialogues of that conversation, starting from "I hate corporate life" to  "I need to discover myself" to "I want people to remember me", as I sink my teeth to the delicious Golgappa on  MG Road. The Golgappa vendor's marketing plan that I started working on a couple of Fridays ago seems so mundane now. He asks me about ideas for improvement I had promised that Friday- after a bout of that week's Friday syndrome. I say "I'm working on something more important."
I climb onto my two wheeler and ride back home. All the way playing the conversation with my parents that would happen once I reach. I would want to travel second class to Delhi and then on top of trucks and buses. I remember Bollywood movies along the way.
While excited about finally pursuing my dream, I feel a little heavy about leaving home. It wouldn't be the same again. I press the doorbell and Mother opens it. Once I freshen up, I start checking my messages on the smartphone. One particular message catches the eye. "An amount of....has been part of reimbursement..." it goes on. A different part of my mind lights up now. And the conversation is eternally postponed.
For this is no ordinary Friday, it is Friday the 25th!
                                                                                    - 18th March, Friday
Disclaimer: The thoughts and ideas in this page.....are not just mine alone :P

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