WHEN PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL LIVES COLLIDE

Many of us lead two lives – personal and professional. Our day is split between these two lives. The two sides of us are so intertwined that a problem with one without a doubt affects the other. Small disturbances like occasional fights with significant other, kids falling sick as well might affect us at work temporarily. Can something more severe in degree take away our concentration and dedication towards work? It might be the death of a family member, end of a friendship, breakup or a family member suffering from an illness like cancer. The answer to this mostly depends on whether or not we are passionate about what we do. If we are passionate, we won’t give up on the job but find a way to deal with it.

The last three years of my life had three negative moments which were very personal. The pain of those is still there in me, deep down. There are days at work when I am sitting at my desk with tears rolling down. During that time, I can hardly concentrate on whatever I am doing. I must agree that emotions can engulf us at any time. If the pain is unbearable, I walk up to the restroom, have personal time to cry out. It is very important to acknowledge but not resist the confrontation to our own feelings. It is better to let them out. Shed the tears, holding on to them could be counterproductive.

Some days are a little worse. Either I would have had a bad dream or wake up and feel very low. I pull myself out of the bed, walk up to my plants, water them, talk to them and sometimes I just break down before them. I know that unlike pets, plants cannot understand us, but there is no other soul who I can talk to. Such days when I cannot control my thoughts, I usually opt to take leave from work. It certainly helps to sort out the thoughts and return back to work with clearer self the day after. It would always help to take a break from work, not a long one, but a day or two does benefit us in many ways.

There is one more thing that really helped me over time. Disconnection from social media. It is better to have lesser distractions when we are already fighting to concentrate. Not only that, say, for example, you had a break-up. A few days later your ex posts a picture, is it really important to see that? I don’t really think so. Once we give up on someone or they give up on us, it is always better to let them go not just from life but from the radar of our attention. We don’t really need to spend our valuable time on someone who doesn’t really value us.

Most of the times I pulled it through but there was a time when I just could not deliver at work. I was feeling very guilty. At the same time, I did not think it was appropriate to talk to any of my colleague’s. I was struggling, literally, nothing was working. I could not read a design document or a requirement document to understand them. After some time, I thought it might be better for me to resign, sit at home and return back to work when I feel better. I walked up to my manager’s cabin to tell him to accept my resignation. I tried once, twice but I couldn’t do it, my inner voice was shouting at me to just do it. I finally gathered courage and told my manager the decision. He did not react much but listened to my problem with great interest. He said, “You know what, while I agree that you need a break, I do not agree that you need to resign. This weekend please sleep well, take good care of yourself and we shall talk on Monday”. In our next meeting, he said many encouraging words and gave me feedback which brought me back on track. That is when I understood he was observing me. Our managers/supervisors are not always our go-to people, but they have the right to know why we have been under performing. A good leader would show the right path, so, it is always better to talk to them. We have to be careful about how much we let them into our personal territory.

While on the personal front things weren’t good, things weren’t great at work either. No person used to talk to me (I was new in the team). People had their own doubts on me. Every design of mine was going through several levels of scrutiny. My ideas weren’t even seconded by another person. The problems I raised were unheard. There was neither recognition nor a word of encouragement. I had been through a lot to prove what I am capable of.

From leading one crucial module in our product, two years down the line, today I am technically responsible for the entire platform we are creating for our new line of products. There is an onus on me to deliver. I work for a healthcare company, the first thing I see in the morning is a visual of a happy mother holding her newborn (Imagined visual). The joy in the moms’ eyes keeps me going, on and on. This is possible only because I am passionate about what I do. No matter what happens, how many people say that I should leave my job to get back to my family, my job brings satisfaction to me. I do not need another person to acknowledge how good I am, the added responsibilities at work speak for themselves!!

I AM IN THE SPOTLIGHT – Prerna

First of all, I would like to say, this idea of answering the questionnaire was quite unexpected. For me, it came as a surprise. When I came to know about this idea, I was like let’s see whose questionnaire comes into my account. So, I got Kalpana’s questionnaire. However, none of us knew whose questionnaire we will have and who’s going to have ours. But I am really happy with what I got.

1. Is there another side to you, whom we can only dream to know?

Well all of us have our private life. This private life is not shared with anybody. To world I am an outspoken, intimidating and bold person. My image is of a straightforward and I get to hear so many times that my attitude is harsh.

But only a few know how empathic and emotional I am. It really disturbs me to see any human or any animal in pain. I feel as if I am going through the pain. Every time I see people or animals in pain, the only question to the Almighty is, “Why can’t you take away their miseries?”

I like keeping this side of mine hidden. Only few can know but now I have answered this question and so it is no longer hidden.

2. The proudest moment of your life?

Actually, I am still waiting for it, I guess. There were some moments when I was proud. Recently, it was when I came to know, a guy started to write after getting inspired by my writings. And this really means a lot to me. 

3. Have you ever regretted helping someone, I mean anyone whom you realized later isn’t worthy of your time?

Yes, I did. Not once but several times. As I said, I am empathic and so I help those who are in need of help in every possible way. But it’s not necessary others will be like us. Initially, I do whatever I can do for the person who needs help. Eventually, I get to know the one whom I helped wasn’t worth it. It makes me sad at first but then I realize, not everyone is intended to stay in our life. 

4. If not present profession you are in, then what you would have been?

This question is really interesting. And I like it the most. During our childhood, all of us thought about being whatever seemed exciting and interesting to us. Well, I genuinely wanted to pursue law as my career but due to some circumstances, I couldn’t. Although I am fine with what I have now but I wanted to be a lawyer. 

Interestingly, when I was in my teenage, I wanted to be a student at Hogwarts- The school of witchcraft and wizardry (according to the famous Harry Potter series). Even now, when I am a grown-up, I still wish for the same. I know it’s fictional but I wish it was true. 

5. Your greatest weapon/trick up your sleeve that never fails you, whatever you do?

I think it’s my confidence and my fearlessness. These two behaviours of mine have always helped me in achieving what I truly wish for. Whenever I feel, I have no choice but to give my best, then my confidence and fearlessness never lets me down. 

6. If you are given a chance to change one thing about yourself, what it would be?

Actually, I love myself the way I am. I always have had pampered myself and loved all my flaws. I believe, my flaws are the most beautiful in me. Through my flaws, I get a feeling that I am strong and determined. So, I am not going to make any changes in my physique or appearance but yes if there really is a chance, I would like to change my impulsive attitude. I would change it into a very calm and serene attitude. 

7. Your Inspiration to write?

The credit for my inspiration to write goes to my urge to express my thoughts. I can never walk to a person and speak my heart. This is because I am a reserved person when it comes to expressing feelings. Only few can know and those few may or may not be always with me. Therefore I thought the best way to express is to write what I feel. Moreover, I loved reading, so it also counts to the inspiration. 

8. Intelligence (smartness) or honesty that could land you in soup- what’s your pick?

I would go for intelligence. An intelligent person is the one who can win over any situation. Intelligence always attracts me and I consider it to be the most prized possession. 

9. What is your biggest regret in life?

I think everybody has some regrets in their life. So do me. The biggest regret that I have is not one but two. The first regret that I have is: I had a pet named Bruno. Bruno was a small and an adorable puppy. To me, he was like a bundle of joy. The first time I saw him, I couldn’t stop myself from holding that little being into my arms. I used to cuddle him and together we would muffle in my blanket. One day, after feeding him I went on to the washroom without knowing that the door was open. Bruno went out and met with an accident. The poor being was slowly and excruciatingly moving towards death. All I could do was cry bitterly and pray for his painless and easy death. Had I been a bit cautious, my pet would have been with me. 

The second one is: It was the time when I was moving to a hostel for the first time. I hugged my parents and my brother before going. My grandmother was also there. She handed me a little bag full of some fruits and the snacks that she made for me. I touched her feet and took her blessing. I wanted to hug her but I don’t know why I didn’t. This was the last time I saw her alive. She died 22 days later due to cancer. This shook me and till today I feel sorry for not hugging her one last time. I could have told her, how much I love her and what does she means to me. But I didn’t. 

10. Which lane of time you want to visit and stay there forever?

Life is all about moving along with the time. It is not wise to hold on to our past no matter how beautiful it was. There were many beautiful phases in my life to which I am really very thankful, as well as there are many more to come. Also, we should look forward to what’s next. Therefore, instead of wishing to visit a lane of time and staying there forever, I would choose to wait for upcoming moments. However, sometimes I imagine how good it would it be to look at my writings and relive these days.

Thanks, Kalpana, your questions were really brain-storming. Though unintentionally but you succeeded in knowing my secrets. During answering these questions, I really felt like being in an interview. This was so nice.