Friday, January 13, 2006

Tale-Spin

My phone rrrrrriinnggss… I pick up the phone – it was my boss at the other end of the copper. “Rahul, I would like to meet with you today sometime, around 4PM; can you make it ?”.

“Yes”, I responded and after some status updates back and forth we ended the conversation.

Before I go on, a little bit of myself. I work in a multi-national in a middle-management position. You could call me a more than moderately successful professional. I had joined another firm as the shop-floor design engineer, apparently showed a lot of promise, as I had taken some initiatives on automating the shop-floor processes. My manager liked my idea and relieved me of the shop-floor design duty and moved me into the IT department to actually develop my idea into something that they can use. A year later, after most of the bugs had been killed, the software I was primarily responsible made its debut. It was reasonably successful and saved a ton of money for the company. During that one year I had enjoyed the work and the creative energy it gave was tremendous – it was being on endorphins the whole year ! And then came the let-down – since the company itself was not an core IT company, I needed to move back to their core business or maintain their existing IT infrastructure and the application; that’s when I left and joined an IT company…

…which is where I work now. In the new place, for the past 8 years, I’ve had a successful career rapidly growing into the middle-management position. Along the lines, I developed other interests like learning keyboard and rediscovered some other like quizzing due to a keen interest in trivia and curiosity; I ensured that I had some other interests outside of work that anchored me to reality and kept my general engagement levels higher. I also believed that extra-curricular things kept my mind fresh and be able to successful at work.

For the past 8 months or so, I had developed a new interest. I had started writing – stories, musings, observations, articles and such. That couple of them were published peaked my interest and motivated me to write more. I began to read a lot more than I ever did before; particularly some of the editorials in the papers for the vocabulary and style. I started looking at people and events all around me with renewed interest and for angles to feed my stories. I started noticing strange behaviors and sometimes in office meetings looked for plot-lines than the content of the meeting itself. Sometimes I did believe that I over did it, since I had slipped up a couple of times at work on what was expected of me. My boss was not exactly happy, but he was ok I guess, since I did not see him giving me great grief over it.

I had also started giving gyaan to other aspiring writers and bloggers who were never published. There was this colleague of mine, who I thought wrote really well, but was uni-dimensional. I had advised him that he needs to have couple of more ingredients in his writings other than just tickling the humerus bone; My advice to him was that he focus on two things – that he also let his writings appeal to the sensitive and emotional side of the people – at the end of it, they should feel what he feel, be it happiness, sadness, sympathy and so on; and the reader should be transported to the emotion the writer had. The second advice was that he needs to have a ‘spin’ in the tale. Like Jeffery Archer said, A Twist in the Tale. Take the story in a direction and then spin it a bit for a surprise ending, which the reader has not had an inkling for. That, I declared, was the key for a successful writing.

Thinking about it, a new idea forms in mind – its about a well planned life going awry. I tentatively label it “Tail-Spin” and start writing the outline.

As I do that, I realize it is almost 5 minutes past 4PM, I realize I’m late for my meeting with my manager. I rush to his office and by the time I get there I’m 10 minutes late. My boss seats me across his place and shuffles through a set of papers.

He looks across me and starts off about my performance in the past 9 months. He talks about how my output has been declining, milestones being missed, the results not up to the quality of what is required and how I had messed up couple of key deliverables (if I may add around the time my stories got published) and how it had lost some money for the company and so on and so forth. I tried to make some excuses and started saying something…

He just looked across, stopped me and said, “Rahul, we have gone through this discussion a couple of times. I would really like to have your resignation, so that…”

His words trailed off as I sat there shell shocked and dazed; the irony of it all hits me: my career story is in a spin and ending…

3 comments:

banana tree mama said...

I have been struggling with my job "I think" I know how you feel. I thought this is what I wanted but even as things seem to get 'better' business and work wise... I keep feeling worse about myself in the "work life" I have been living. Hang in there and if you find the secret please fill me in :)

EnGeetham aka "My Song!" said...

The fun part for me is that I do enjoy the work *and* writing :)

Anonymous said...

Is this autobiographical-- fully or partly? Seems like you are worried that you might end up like Rahul...I too have conflicting emotions wrt to my job tho' I lov it..Now I realise I am not alone...
That itself is encouraging..