Life Work Balance

lijoe's picture

I had my first exposure to pre-planned travel in the US. Its really out of the world how everything is done with least fuss. The procedure of travel for the perfect american who spends his weekends;Rather perfect anyone who wants to enjoy his life in US! Well like all my travelogues earlier said, people here love to travel and their only excitement in their lives are the weekends when they throw everything else away and just travel.

Their perfect travel methodology :
1. Go to Orbitz or some similar site.
Select the dates, select either car or flight to the destination of interest.Either book a car or else book the cheapest flight.
2. Select the best deals you have in hotels to the place your going and what you plan to do.
3. Google on the net and find out its attractions and there you have your perfect holiday. Now thats one way. Or if your new to a place ,just ask a local about its attractions and you will know how to spend your weekends.

During my short stay at Phoenix,I went on a hike of Squaw Peak with Mark Gordon who works at a company called Telesoft . He is terrific guy.He has been a part of Telesoft for the past 15 years and still today continues to churn out code like a teenager attacking his burger! Now let me say a few things that stand out a lot. His life routine goes like this; He wakes up at 5 am in the morning, goes to the gym for forty minutes before he comes to work.Once he comes to work, he is here till 5 pm and usually his working hours are 10-12 hours a day and sometimes when difficulty comes in its about 16 hours. Every friday morning he goes to hike small mountains in and around the area like the Camelback Mountain and once every three four months, he goes with his wife to hike a higher mountain or some nice place for 3-4 days.This is the life of a software engineer here! I was like thinking what is the difference he has. Well come to it he has two-four houses (exact numbers with held!) which he has given on rent and he paid it all through mortgage(home loan) and has planned his life financially so he can live comfortably when he retires.

A little about telesoft is that the company has been existence for about 20 plus years now and the way they have still survived, having businesses worth over ten to fifty of million dollars annually has been because every four five years they reinvent the product or services they do so that they continue well and no lay offs are needed.At same time people get change of work. Then there are the projects they do, revamping existing products etc that adds revenues. Their senior employees and people who interact with customers understands what their customers need and gives ideas for the new markets.

I was thinking of the concept why Poornam hires engineers and remember Amar's words on why, its because he always feels outsourcing is the best way to cost effectively do technology & research works and at same time we have the professionals who can reinvent the wheel and change over to the next technology without incurring much loss.Sometimes it takes time, sometimes we need the ability to persevere but its a good food for thought.. Coming here, I met an Indian couple working for IBM. They took us out for dinner but even then they were on the phone working with the client and updates from India. They are all so hectic be it day or night and live with the pressures of not being able to spend quality time freely unless they go out of town.They too do keep fit, adopt the same American lifestyle of working like crazy for a few months together, all the while planning one day trips to places close by and then go for a four day tour to some place far off. This is the same life we Indian Engineers do in India except that we go home to our parents each time rather than exploring outwards.Instead of just going to shopping places or places where our friends are there like Bangalore or some hill station, for sightseeing, we too should go far off so that we can do things differently and enjoy it.Do adventure activities and come back to work all refreshed! Another good thing about the people I met here is their absolute lack of ego. They are happy to do anything right from taking their dog to walk, waiting patiently as it sniffs around, to doing part time jobs. In US the poverty line that the government has declared is USD1500 per month.Its a rich man's salary here :).A person in US earning less than that is said to be living in poverty.And its true these people need lot of money due to the cost of living! Now when we first started looking at recruiting people for our American Phone Support for the post, we got ladies applying, who simply wanted a pay because they had no job and had four children at 25 years and were in social aid (A poverty alleivation program where government gives food coupons and aids to single mothers etc). When we see such people in US we feel bad cause according to us, its a developed country and your not supposed to expect that.

We then had recruited a 59 year old man for the post of CSR and his experience is :
1. Started with 2 years work experience with Intel
2. Went on to work with Honeywell, AT&T, Allied Signals etc.
In between this he took MCp, completed MCSE, and CCNA. He started as a mainframe programmer and then moved on to end as a network engineer.But outsourcing etc made him lose his job and at this age, he has now to apply for a startup job :). The irony in all of this is , he is very happy saying, he knows all the job losses were because the technology changed and he was slow to learn it before hand.But at the same time he is healthy enough at 59 to look forward at life and live it fresh unlike us Indians who would feel it too low a job to do so. By 60 he will have a good retirement pack, but thats not at all in his thought of mind, he is ready to work in the most entry level post so that he can have the extra cash and a purpose in life to live. Something we Indians consider as horror! This is where we differ in our ideals and ego. But he was an example of someone in the software field whom we can relate to, in the sense, that he had seen the technology changes and adapted and is happy today. He too said the same thing of how the Americans live their life. :) He spent three years between all this to work as a translator from english to chinese in Taiwan so that he can do something he enjoyed.

The hike with Mark of Telesoft too was similar a very eye opener about the life that we so dream off, only thing is they do it by ensuring they know how much they put to savings and how much they put to enjoy their life and then plan to keep along with it. Same time the thought that even 15 years of a deskjob means no backpains no medical leaves of any sort shocks me and makes me realise we are being dumb by not taking care of our health and blaming it all on the profession! And thats why like the Apple CEO says, the main thing about software engineers in US are usually people who are from creative backgrounds like artists, painters etc and hence they seem to churn out excellent ideas. They enjoy life and are more creative compared to us.Some people are musicians who play music in small clubs in their free times, some people go fishing for the pleasure, others mountain bike, still others hike and visiting place is a special thing they do occassionally. I feel seeing all this, in India mostly we are in some sort of rat race to make more money and prestige than living our lives to the fullest...

This new adventurous life cycle is now starting to rear its head up in India with sites like MakeMyTrip and more and more US returned Indian Software Engineers leading the way..

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thanks sojish

Sojish,

Thanks for pointing it out, Its done

Lijoe Antony Chakiath
 "To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world..."

uh... formatting.

Uh ... chakky , I lost it half way through. Format this please.

:-)

With a smile
Me
Sojish.com

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