Why I am going to US?

In last few weeks, I have managed to turned my life into a living nightmare of some sorts. I guess it all started when I took up an assignment on July 2010 for a year. I came back into India for a period of 3 weeks to get Aabhya’s admissions in nursery and get her started on her 14 years of educational journey.

Here I am still in India – for a period of 12 weeks; way more than I could have ever thought about. I have canceled my travel plans twice now and I am staring at travel on March 25 – just 3 days away. And once again, I am going through a phase of seeing Preeti sad and will be seeing Aabhya crying when I am leaving for Airport.

Starting Feb 7, 2011 – till date; I have been thinking about going or not going and I have been oscillating back and forth many times and several times in a day. I had to cancel my trip early March because I just could not take the pressure and thought maybe I can stay back. I was risking termination because of my action of canceling at the very last minutes. However, all things turned out well and currently, I do have an option of saying No to travel for this assignment `at least`. But, once again I am inclined to travel.

Preeti says – she can only see one reason which is “Money” – that I want to earn more money. Well here are my reasons:

  1. Sincerity and Honesty: I have been always sincere in my work – never said something that I could not do and never lied. Until early March when I did lie so that I do not have to travel. And somehow, I have not been at rest since that day. I feel that good things have happened to me in past because I have been honest in what I did; but this time dis-honesty is something that is not cut-out for me. Somehow, inside of me I want to make amends and get done with the assignment that I committed 8 months back
  2. Complacent and Fear: I have reached a point when I have started to find excuses for my doing challenging work – This project makes me work with some of the worst people; who are very politically influenced. I knew this from the start and never wanted to work with them. Last time around, I was kind of forced by fear of termination into this project and when I reached the ground i did quite OK. But, this time I see a chance of getting out and I was inclined to get out of the mess and do something else.
  3. Practicality over emotions: Last week my decision changed because I was offered a set of responsibilities that will provide me an opportunity to work in areas where I have not worked before and may lead me to a promotion by end of this year. I told this to Preeti and she asked me – what are the alternatives; if you do not do this, how long will your promotion be delayed? – I think it may be about another 1 – 2 years. Preeti is right in some sense if I can not sacrifice 2 years for a promotion than leave her and Aabhya for a a period of 4 months. I do not wish to do so because I believe in taking decisions on what I see in front of me right now. I can not foresee any part of the future and hence do not know what is going to be offered to me in upcoming next 2 years. I may or may not get what I am getting now. I do not think I can deal very well seeing people around me grow at a rate faster than me because they lick their boss’s ass and I ca not do that. Hence, my options are fairly limited and this is one opportunity that is going to get me to that place – hopefully.
  4. Career move: After a lot of hunting around in Indian markets, I have realized that there is no future for Architects. That role does not exist in a leadership role – CTO or CIO unless you have your own company or know someone in that position in an Indian company. I have to move over to a Program manager role and the responsibilities I am being offered in my current role, provide me with a very lucrative opportunity to move into that role and still get promoted without loosing any time. If I was to switch into this role now as a PM, it would mean another 2-3 years before I get into a PM stream.

I do see the point that I am going to sacrifice 4 months of my life with my wife and daughter and I am going to loose Aabhya’s early school life. I missed her start of Kindergarten and I am going to miss on her 3 months of Nursery too. I will miss Preeti’s birthday and any other occasions and events that will happen during this time. I will be able to speak to them daily and do video chats as and when possible. I know from past it will not be too frequent given our schedule.

And this is where I get emotional and conflicted. Career over Family? I do not think I am choosing Career or Family. I do feel that I am still choosing my Family over Career because this is step is going to get me to a position in a company where

  • I can continue to work just 8 hours in any given day;
  • Reach a leadership role where travel is limited to once of twice a year for about 1 week at a stretch and;
  • I can not live by a lie and teach my daughter to be of a principle. Although, the lie was for my family  but is a lie nevertheless, a breach of my integrity and ethics. A legacy I do not wish to leave for my daughter. I hope when she grows old she understands me and is able to pardon me for not being for her.

It is not about Money; Money is just a bi-product of what is happening. However, it is an important bi-product and can not be taken out of the equation. In all ways, however I look at it – Family always comes first. Nobody gains by leaving their Family behind to become CEO of a company and get lots of money, big houses, fast cars. All those are crap if you do not have your loved ones next to you when you die. And by no imagination do I want to earn that kind of money and give up the opportunity to spend a life with my family. But, then I can not also ignore the part the there are basic needs and we are at a point when those basic needs have found a way of evolving by themselves and we can not control those – Dad is going to get retired some day, Aabhya is growing up and she will have her own demands. Mum, Dad, Preeti and I are getting older and our health will have certain demands too – both time and money. I am not at a place where I can afford to take an average path and still be able to satisfy all those needs. This is one opportunity that will take me to a Sr. Manager position and will put in a place / position where I can move ahead with a slight advantage and deliver what my Family needs from me.

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A new end, a new beginning

I could have never guessed that I would be up at 5.30am on the New Year day; but then I could have never guessed that I would be living in Minnesota for 5 months. Last year has been an year or many things that I never thought could happen to me. But, when I start thinking about the last 10 years of my life, I feel so glad that there are things in there that I had thought of – a good job, loving wife and an adorable daughter are the three things that top my list.

But, last decade was about learning and growth. I moved from early 20s to 30s and it changed my life in many ways. Last few years, I saw myself leaning towards Spirituality and in many ways moving towards to the betterment of my life and my family.

I started the decade hungry of success, and I am starting a new decade still hungry, but of a different kind of success. For starters, I want to follow one of my so many passions that I picked up in years and let them die. I have not decided which one, but it feels like photography is going to be it. So, you can be rest assured that you are going to see quite a few clicks from me in times to come. A lot of those are going to be of my daughter and I try to spend as much time as I possibly can with her.

Living outside of India and my home has never been a thought but it happened in the very end, and I may have to do so again in the beginning too, but something I am not looking forward too very much. However, this decade the goals achieving some higher things in life. Professionally, I consider myself blessed in this last decade. I started off in the year of the dot.com burst, however still I am holding a senior position with a big organization and I think I have earned respect amongst many of my colleagues (if not all). In this new beginning I would like to achieve some more.

Personally, last decade saw me at crossroads many times. Not many would know that, but I went from someone who cant shut up to someone, who does not speaks. I am still uncertain as to if this is for good or not, but introspection tells me something needs a change here – as my mother tells me so affectionately – “you should be more social”. I know she is right but then I am me. I am a different person when I am around my daughter or my friends and I like that person. Maybe, they are not judging me all the time and if they are sometimes I do not care because it is so much fun that way. I believe that for me to be that person all around, I have to do some talking. Something I have done successfully in my professional like in the last decade, and I think I need to so likewise here too.

Friends – wow!! A whole new meaning for me in this decade. Because, in the last decade, I completed a decade long of friendship with a few of my friends and made some new ones. My friends from 90s taught me what friendship really means – it is not about talking a lot, but talking when it makes sense. It is not about having to talk to someone all the time to be friends, but still to be friends when you find it most difficult to be. And, some new ones – when I never thought I would be able to make some new friends in such a hectic life, I actually did. I somehow have started to believe that the word “Best Friends” does not exist. Either we do have friends or we dont. I do not like to name people, but I would do so this time around – Rajat, Deepika, Shallja, Samita, Pankaj sir, Sitija, Babul. And yeah Anurag (even though he is my brother in law) I find myself at ease around him just like I do with friends. When my mother-in-law tells me that she was so afraid given both our nature, we would even tag along, it is surprising that we do go along very well. There are of course some differences and I am the “Jijaji” :), I find myself being very comfortable around him.

Family – I left this one for the last, because this one is never going to end. I started a new decade with just my side of the family and mid-way, I was blessed to have Preeti’s side of the family too. And, it has been wonderful along the way. Preeti herself has been in all ways the “better half” and complimented me in many ways. And when she presented me with Aabhya she just gave me the world. I can not thank her enough for all she has done. Mom and Dad – they have been ever so patient with me all along. They saw me sunk with dot.com, they saw me grow in Sapient and UHG and they saw me change over time and move away from their child to be a father of their grand-daughter and yet they were so patient with me and my attitude (I wish I never had that). Only if I would be half as patient as they have been, I would be a different person. Thank you mom and dad. Aparna – my baby sister and I still call her that even though she is now married and is practicing her medicine in a big hospital. She has been like a daughter to me, but somehow I dont think I ever said those words to her. I think she knows :). Our fights turned out to be some deep talks over the years and then to a silence of respect and love of each other. I cant thank her enough for being their for me and listening however little I talked about. This chapter can go long if I start writing about everyone, so I am going to take a rain-check for now and come back later.

Thank you God, for being there for me all the time and guiding me for the very best. I could not have done any of this without You.