About shivam04

Unexplained phenomenon

Fear, again!

It turned out to be one of those weeks that makes you want to tune into a nonsensical Bollywood chick flick just to forget all that happens around you. And dive into some fantasy world that has no connection to the real one. And I’d like to take my family with me to that world, please.

Usually I like to write to sort my thoughts. But these thoughts are so meaningless that it’s a waste to even sort them. Toss them in trash.

Also the ones that needed to be sorted were already discussed with Agam. I find myself hearing all those things I was telling him not so long ago. Well the good thing is I am getting some wise advice reflected back at me 🤣

TLDR of my crisis is – I need to withhold and withdraw my stake in the whole career game. I take it way too seriously, for someone who does not know what a win looks like. Because what’s winning for others is losing to me. And I don’t know what I want from it. But whatever it is should be worth all the investment I put in. But I don’t know what it is. It’s not money, and not progression. And since I am increasingly becoming aware about the lack of clarity of that goal, it bothers me endlessly.

It’s almost like what are you running for? Don’t know. Then stop running. But I don’t know how to walk. But have you tried? No, I am afraid of it.

Fear! Once again! The root cause of all problems is always one – fear! I need to overcome my fear of being an insignificant part of a big system.

Right?!

For 3 hours this afternoon I reflected on what I did for last six months. (1) a lot (2) lots of seed sowing. When you start a new job, you sow seeds and see them grow with time. Today I looked back to see all the seeds I sowed. Some are sprouting and some are reluctant. Some are thriving and some will need a lot of nourishment. But I am growing a few things. And I like to grow – people, ideas, programs. Some blossom and some don’t. I keep moving. What a fascinating and rewarding journey. I’ve grown a lot of things in last six years. In that process I grew too.

Today when I was running I achieved my meta state. I’ve been thinking a lot about races. And today I summarized why I don’t run them or believe in them. A race is meant to be run as per a few rules. Here are the two basic ones – everyone starts together. Everyone has to run the same distance.

Now if we think about our lives. We don’t start our races at the same time. And none of us know how long we will run. Some lives stop early. Some keep going on. So how can people compete in an unequal race? This is a very fundamental flaw. Right?!

I read a bit about fonts today. It’s quite a thing to create. Font designers are much like musicians. Or at least that was my summarization. I always enjoyed the type writer font in IAWriter, an app agam and I use for our creative writing endeavors. But I never quite explored fonts in work documents. Until a few years ago when I observed that my manager picked very unique fonts and it piqued my interest. His usage of fonts and sometimes symbols instead of regular old bullets was amusing to me. I started exploring fonts as a result, and have since enjoyed the variety. Oxygen is my latest favorite. I’ve become quite picky myself. Creative influence, what can I say. And today I learnt that it has even passed on. One of my directs mentioned to me that she likes to read my documents especially because of the fonts, they make the content less dense. I told her where I picked it from. And we laughed at the legacy.

It was only fair for me to pass the credit back to the master. And so I did 🙂 And that’s when I learnt more about fonts.

Imagine being a font designer. Now you cannot possibly take that job, if you are not interested in the field, and if you are not creative. How sad it would be to evaluate a font designer and an ASIC designer using the same rubric! Right?!

Anyways I seem to have a lot of questions today. But no answers. That’s ok. We will learn more tomorrow and become wiser by the day. And for me that’s enough. Right?!

Whipping

Wrapped up work at 6:18. Dinner on the table at 6:47pm. On the menu – grilled salmon, garlic bokchoy, quinoa, with spinach and mushrooms.

Yep, totally aced it. When you have the ingredients, it’s easy to put together a meal. Unlike my perf self assessment. Where I have the artifacts and projects, but I don’t have any will to put them in a story. I mean it’s an optional cycle after all. May be I should just take it easy 😜

Procrastination is usually not my thing. But if only I could whip up a perf write up, like I whipped up this meal. 😆

Chit chat

My basanti is giving me a hard time. It refuses to start. We think it’s the battery. We haven’t replaced it for 11 years after all 😳. But it depresses me to not have my basanti every morning when I go to drop off Tara. Coincidentally, the dealer called over the weekend to check if I want to sell it. Grrrr! Never in my life. But I worry if it is something more than the battery 😞

In the meantime jump started my running routine after a 3 day hiatus. I am definitely not meeting my 80% run days goal for February. But that’s ok. I still have 7 days to make up for the loss. It was an exhilarating run today. I didn’t zone out. But I felt a certain beat that was new and comforting. There were less spikes. Just ten lapses of a steady paced run. Just like it should be, given that I’ve been running for almost 2 months at a 5/7 days hit rate.

If all works out, by my birthday I will compete 150 runs! I want 2021 to be a year of 300 days of running. Let’s not jinx it though. I like goals what can I say.

The weekend flew by. Like they usually do. Cant believe we are already kicking off the last week of February. 10months to home then ? 😃

Rolling stone

Wow what a day!

Let’s start from the beginning. Woke up with a pounding headache. A terrible backache and screeching pain in my shins (from yesterday’s run). Oh also my nose was blocked. So I was having trouble breathing.

I declared myself incapable of sending Tara to school. So Agam took charge and I tried to sleep. The headache was so bad that it was not possible to sleep. It was easier to open my eyes than close them.

And that’s when I remembered that I was hungry by the time I slept after a long evening of back to back meetings. So I ate a banana and sipped a shot of espresso.

In an hour the pounding morphed into a dull ache in my forehead. I haven’t been able to get rid of this dull ache all day. Although the back and the shin are fully recovered.

A day that starts like this can only get better by the hour. But then Serena Williams lost the match to Naomi Osaka and choked up at the press conference when someone asked her about retirement. She is 39. She is still playing some of the best tennis anyone has ever seen. But since she lost, and she is not expected to loose, she is being asked the terrible set of questions. I also choked up watching the video.

And then, Janaki pinged to share that the woman at the NASA control room leading the Mars Rover landing is an Indian (with a cute little bindi). We tuned into the last 10 min of the flight, and watched the countdown while eating lunch. I was so proud of this certain Swati Mohan who was likely making a father proud somewhere back home. She must’ve dreamt of this day and worked hard to make it happen. Or at least that’s the narrative in my head. I hope her father is alive to hear her ecstatic voice telling him all about her adventures at NASA.

Now how does one recover from this? You don’t. You push through. You just keep rolling like a stone. You cannot stop or you might not be able to start again. So I pushed myself one meeting after another. With a dull headache, tired eyes from the Serena Williams video, and a heart craving for a father, I kept rolling. And I am still rolling like a stone. Momentum… is a crazy thing.

Now I need to keep rolling for another 24 hours and then we will recharge on the weekend.

Tamasha

Tamasha – one of my all time favorite movies. Every time perf season comes around I think of this movie. It reminds me of the meaninglessness of this system. It also kindles in me in this question of what would I do, if I could do just about anything? Perhaps become an independent consultant who does not have to write self assessments to prove that I am valuable to my employer (in this case, myself).

My spin on perf is that it is about celebrating talent. I enjoy the sessions where I go deep into my reports talent, and their achievements, their skills, their unique abilities and how they add value to the team, org, and company. And I really do enjoy this season as a manager.

But as an employee, I still struggle. I struggle with the frameworks that measure a fish by its ability to climb a tree. May be it is my natural disposition to not fit in. And when I am chiseled into a box that I don’t like to constrain myself to, I revolt. And I have been revolting for six years. Why do I keep dealing with this? For the golden handcuffs? No, not entirely. But I’d be foolish to not accept that they have a strong role to play.

Perf overwhelms me. I have the writer’s block. I hate the check boxes and the artifacts and the formalities of writing down what you did in the last six months. It is a little bit better this time. I am not as scattered as I was before. But I still don’t want to take the hours to write. I wonder if someday I can quit this system that promotes narcissism, while breeding self doubt.

Well that day is not today, and the deadline is fast approaching. I don’t want to spend any of my weekend on it, so I plan to order food on Friday night wrap it up in an hour.

Quite paradoxical that I love to help people with their perf anxieties and self assessments when I am most anxious about this topic myself. Perhaps someday karma will pay off. Or perhaps I will find a way to end this anxiety once and for all before that happens.

Dialogues in my mind

Why don’t you run in this race?

It’s not my race.

Which race is yours?

Haven’t quite settled on one. But this one is not worth my time and effort

But you will be left behind

I will still be ahead of myself every day

That’s all philosophical talk. You will be passed on for opportunities.

I have all the opportunities I want to explore today. The ones I want I know I won’t find here anyways.

That’s today. People will be ahead of you taking dibs on your opportunities very soon.

Let them. There is enough for all of us.

Again, philosophical talk.

You are afraid of something. Failure perhaps.

I have failed enough in my own eyes. This failure does not matter.

Then why not throw the dice and see what happens.

I will when I am more certain of the outcome, and what will follow, after the outcome is achieved. Until then, what’s the rush.

You don’t like when you see less capable people ahead of you.

I don’t like when I limit myself to what others are capable of.

Again, philosophical talk.

I want someone to tell me why I should do it. I don’t want the money. I don’t want the title. I don’t want the power.

I seek influence, I earn it. I seek respect, I earn it. I seek appreciation, I earn it. I seek sponsorship, and may be someday I will earn that too. And that’s when someone will tel me I am ready.

Wishful thinking.

Perhaps. Keeps me sane. I refuse to run this race as a narcissist. I play for the team. Team owes it to me to bat for me, when they think the time is right.

Haven’t you learned enough already?

Apparently not 😉

pleasing the beng

Every Valentine’s I cook a meal for the one and only love of my life. This year the menu aimed at pleasing his Bengali side of the roots – Machh bhaja with Khichuri and Rasgullas 😉 What’s not to love?! The damn bones on the Rohu that prick me despite being at it for now 11 years 😉

Walking & Talking

These little tiny feet hiked 5 miles and some incline, and did not even complain once. We enjoyed a wonderful hike and a delicious lunch with friends today. It was such a delightful afternoon that refreshed all of us and raised our spirits. Something about wondering wilderness that just cleans your mind and senses.

Valentine Weekend

I’m giving up sugar for lent. So before we start on February 17th , time to make room for some indulgences. Agam and Tara baked these with very little help from me. We have Bob Uncle from the Red Mill to thank for the gluten free mix.