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Monday, September 10, 2007

Flipside of corporate honeymoon

I resigned from my current job couple of weeks back and that began my 30 day notice period otherwise known as corporate honeymoon.

During this period no one asks you what time you come in, what time you leave, since typically there is a handover involved you dump a lot of the work on the new guy. In mycase since my team is in a mess, there is no replacement for me and thus there is no handover involved (there is no work either).

Now a lot of people enjoy this period, why wouldn't one. You have no responsibilities and no deliverables and you still get paid! However, I have been wanting to get out of this place sooner and not because I am very eager to join my new job but I am finding the environment very frustrating and choking to be honest and this is not necessarily due to the fault of anyone - things just automatically would play themselves out this way.

The reasons for my frustration are straightforward - the very same people who would go out of their way for knowing what i thought or felt now no longer talk to you (don't blame them, they don't need to talk to me), the work I did and which was valued uptill now (apparently i must say now) is no longer acknowledged - they don't need too.

And partly this is my fault. I genuinely cared for my team and the work that we did. Now I am no longer part of it. In fact I am on my out to another firm (and team) which technically is a competitor. But I still want everyone to treat me as if I am still a part of my erstwhile team. That can't happen - no one has anything against me personally, this is purely professional stuff and I can appreciate their view point. It's just that I am taking time in gulping down the 'real world' consequences of my actions.

And it's not as if people are behaving strangely at a personal level. No, at a personal level I still mingle with everyone, we go out for lunch together. Will have a farewell party and I (and them) would be sad to see me part - but that is purely at a personal level.

I will get used to it the next time I am in this situation - but then again I won't be in that situation. I am much more likely to be on a gardening leave (yeah cutting grass on my lawn)! However at present I have to get through the last few days here, take a break and then I am live at Nariman Point!

That's it for now...

Friday, September 07, 2007

Free trade and Stephen Covey

I find it surprising that people who otherwise are in favor of free markets go in defensive mode when it comes to free trade. I have interacted with quite a few people (who are well educated) who support markets and competition but when it comes to trade some how their nationalist feelings get activated and they go into protective mode.

In my view this arises due to a mistrust and a narrow view of trade. Somehow buying goods from a foreign country is bad but selling goods to them is good. Somehow an Ambani making crores more is considered preferable to a Walmart making a few crores - what difference does it make to ordinary Indians on whether Walmart makes money or Reliance or Mittal or Tatas or Birlas?

In my view this mindset can be explained from an analogy borrowed from Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People In that he had argued that humans have 3 states of being - dependence, independence and interdependence with each being a higher/more effective state of being as compared to its predecessor state.

The fact that at a personal level, interdependence is a higher level as compared to dependence or independence is fairly trivial and easily acceptable to everyone the problem comes when you extend it to countries and trade.

Interdependence is at the heart of free trade and most people miss this point. They look at trade purely from a narrow dependence vs independence angle (completely missing the interdependence angle). If you are not independent then you are dependent is how most people view things and hence they chase self sufficiency. Self sufficiency is a mirage and a costly one at that...

There is no point chasing self sufficiency just for the heck of it - not even in food or oil. We should stop viewing America or Europe from the old imperialist angle and be proud of the fact that they are also dependent on us just as we are dependent on them - making us interdependent and intensify our interdependedness...

That's if for now...

Sports vs Soaps

I have always considered myself as being a more 'intellectual' or 'forward' person due to my dislike for Soaps and preference for Sports as a choice of viewing on television. But is that really the case?

My arguments for my views has always been that sports is more action packed, its uncertain - so more excitement, it is a test of skill of the players and so on...

But when I think about it - ultimately both soaps and sports are designed for entertainment. Sports in fact is increasingly getting more and more entertainment oriented rather than skill oriented - 20/20 cricket for example. Skill etc is incidental.

Further these days soaps are also full of uncertainty with the directors responding (playing) to their audience views/expectations.

I am amazed to see how dramatic turns a particular soap takes just when everyone was expecting things to play out in a certain manner. It is this ability of the directors to change the script and respond to viewer fatigue that keeps interest in soaps going. In a lot of cases these soaps are more interesting than a boring one dayer between Australia and India wherein the result is a forgone conclusion or those boring F1 races when Schumi was winning 80% of the races from start to end.

I believe this superiority complex that i have is just my mental construct than anything tangible. The key take away for me from this discussion is to put things in perspective and not to mentally degrade the intelligence of people who are very much into soaps vis-a-vis sports.

That's it for now...