Friday, February 09, 2007

A Matter of Choice

A passion that doesn't consume is hardly worth having.

This post is inspired by the recent Indra Nooyi interview in ET. Possibly it is the best piece of reportage I have read in that daily in a long, long time.

The second and more interesting part of the interview is that which deals with her work- life balance.

I think, all of us, at some point of time or the other have been faced with opportunities, which present life-altering possibilities. Everyone around me has been faced with this question- where do I strike the balance: do I want to be a CEO? The biggest swinging dick on the trading floor? Do I want to be the greatest Dad ever? Or the best Son? Well…

When I was younger (read pre-30) I had the following view on life.

The thing about making it big in your career is that it takes a significant toll on your personal life. If you are going to try, you just have to go all the way, otherwise there is little point in even getting started- just remain content with pushing paper all your life, bettering the previous years’ performance by a miniscule delta. But going all the way… it has implications. It could mean losing people, even losing your sanity, spending sleepless nights burning in the fire of your obsessions. Going without food, sometimes drink. There were days when I would switch off from the trading desk and realize food had been placed next me hours ago, gone cold, that I had not even had a sip of water. That if I had remembered to breathe, it was just pure luck. It used to make me sad because it meant isolation. And it still does.

Now, to borrow a thought from Bukowski's Factotum, I realize that isolation is a gift. Everything else is just a test, a test of my endurance, or how much I really wanted to it. And once I get there it is just pure joy, and nothing quite compares to it. That it is what comes closest to perfection. The people I lose because of all this are the ones who do not realize what moves me, what matters. They do not realize that just because I love my career, I love them any less. That they do not understand me, that they reject me for that, it is my problem, but only to a lesser extent than it is theirs.

As we grow (and not just in age) we realize that most people don’t matter. You can get away by being just civil to them. But the ones that do, matter a huge fucking lot. And it is because of what Ms. Nooyi put so beautifully: “You know, people like us get very lonely, because you cannot share too much with other people.” Because these are the people who guess my stakes, who can take a load off my mind, knowing very little of what its all about. It is with these people that I must remember that on most days when I get back to them, “I should leave the crown in the car”, and just be myself. Husband, wife, partner, friend, whatever. Of course, they have to stand by me in my big moments, put up with my tantrums when I’m feeling fucked, when my mind is on fire in the middle of a sleepless night, but also share my moment of glory. They have to figure what makes me mad, drives me nuts, or simply elates me, even though they’ve never been there themselves. They have to realize that the most important things in your life are things that might just happen at the spur of a moment- and it is in that moment that I need their “being around” the most.

That brings me to another point in Ms. Nooyi’s interview. She says that if you have to do something on the spur of the moment, everybody helps you out to do things. But if you make that a habit, it just becomes a practice of running from pillar to post- and not a spur of the moment anymore. I realize that each time I make people run around to do such things it drains them, that I cannot make it a habit, and if I do then people value me a little less.

Anyway, it was great reading -stunningly frank and truly inspirational.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Black may be royal.. but it is not easy on the eye... since you write to be read.. it would help regular readers like me.. if the background is changed..

The One said...

What??? No comments on the new layout? Isn't it absolutely sexy?

dazedandconfused said...

I like those smokerings immensely...:)

Anonymous said...

i thought those were masks.. not smokerings!

The One said...

Well...