THE PARADIGM SHIFT FROM “WORK FOR HOME” TO “WORK FROM HOME”

Being associated with the software industry and remote working experience for a long time, I would like to shell some light on how perspectives changed with the pandemic. 

Prior to the pandemic, I would choose to work from home only if I am sick or just wanted to concentrate on work a little more. During the day, at work there are usually some distractions that could be avoided in an isolated space like home. After a couple of days in a row, it starts to get uncomfortable to request for more days of work from home because there are people around in office who would think that I am working for home than working from home :). That has never been true, but there is no way we can prove the other wise. Apart from these, there are a few stereotypical managers who think folks who are working from home are not working. They would call every hour or deliberately schedule some meeting just to feel good by making sure we are working. I am sure some of you would totally echo the same thoughts as me. I have also seen managers who think people who are sitting for a long time in office are more dedicated. I won’t say all these are myths, but it depends on the person. Some managers totally don’t care about where we work from as long as the deliverables are meeting the timelines. 

One of my colleagues had a baby girl with some medical condition and the baby needed constant care. She requested for working from home for a period of six months and considering her situation that has been granted. It used to be difficult and needed lot of approvals even when a family member is suffering from terminal illness.  Later on she opted only for 50% work as she was unable to concentrate on work. So, this carried on for almost two years, and I heard so many people judging her. Many wondered if she ever works or just wants to keep the job.  As fellow humans we have to be more considerate, but hello! she is getting to work from home for months together and we don’t get to do that even for a couple of days. 

It is indeed convenient at times to work from home if one can,  for a few days when there is a need. If my family needs my presence at  hometown, I want to opt for such adjustments for a week or two.  What has always stopped my manager to agree would be, “what would other people in the team think?. “What if everyone start asking for such adjustments?“. Their main fear is that the productivity would be lost. 

Couple of weeks before the lockdown was announced in India, our company started making arrangements for us to be able to work from home for longer durations. I was dealing with those arrangements starting from remote login to ensuring we have all the required hardware to work from home. After many discussions and approvals, we were almost set before the pandemic lockdown came hard on us. All of a sudden, I saw many leaders/managers thinking differently. Now the thoughts are,” We have to somehow make this work for the business” ” We should not loose time because of logistic issues” “Hope people cope up well with this situation and be able to work normally“. Many employees of our company travelled to their hometowns before the lockdown. We experienced low impact with remote working at least in our team. There will always be some trouble working remotely, but this is where we have to be innovative in finding alternatives. I wonder why it was so difficult to accept these adjustments before the pandemic. Now there is more time for employees also to take care of their health by utilizing the commute time.

In no way, this means work from home is a bed of roses. Despite the challenges we are facing working from home, I think this pandemic has changed some misconceptions. I hope in the new normal, we would have better working relationships and our leaders would trust us if someone says “Working from home” :). Even when the pandemic ends, and we end up spending more time at work, we would have the choice to request for work from home option with head held high. 

Starting to trust and giving employees great autonomy and flexibility allows people to feel independent and empowered

BEING RESPONSIBLE IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF MEDIA

Hello Everyone,

Media is powerful, media can build fortunes and at the same time can bring the curtains downs on an empire.  What is Media at first place?

Definition of media:

Communication channels through which news, entertainment, education, data, or promotional messages are disseminated. Media includes every broadcasting and narrowcasting medium such as newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, billboards, direct mail, telephone, fax, and internet. Media is the plural of medium and can take a plural or singular verb, depending on the sense intended (Source: Businessdictionary.com)

The definition of media shows its importance in the society.  It is a medium of communication that could be effectively used to create awareness, bring about a change, realise dreams, inspire thoughts, put forth the truth and everything in the wake of giving rise to positivity and spreading it across the life of an individual and society there on.

Going by the power media has and what it could do I want to bring forth certain illustrations which stand  as a mirror to how media has played an influential role:

  • Remember the 1999 Jessica Lal murder case?  Had it not been the push of media, victim’s family might have ended up just hoping against the hope.  Media not only grabbed the eyeballs but made sure justice is delivered.
  • Talking about awareness media is pushing its limits to reach masses be it polio vaccination campaigns or Swachch Bharat campaign.  Number of polio effected children has declined rapidly and more and more people getting involved in cleanliness drive prove the incredible role that media has played.
  • When I said realisation of dreams I am referring to that sector of media that gives budding talents a chance to showcase their skills.  It might be a platform of a reality show or a column’s space in a magazine.  The best I see though is KBC (who wants to be a millionaire) which rewards sheer knowledge☺.
  • When the role of media as a tool to inspire (be it a thought or a generation altogether) is inspected in detail the best example that pops up in my mind is that of Mr.Anna Hazare (revolutionary).  Putting aside the word of mouth, had not been highlighted by the media was it possible for his message to fight for truth and a corruption free country to reach each and every citizen of a country of 120 billion?
  • On a lighter note how can we forget the trends that not only received adulation but following too from die-hard fans.

Media apart from bringing about a change brings in pay cheques as well for those who are a part of it.  Be it any form of media (television, cinema, magazines, billboard and so on) provides employment to n-number of skilled/unskilled professionals.  So media is not just a source of communication but income too.

Having said and seen a lot about how media is an influential, integral part of our (democratic) society it is really important to understand that presence of a responsible media is indispensable for the uplift of the image of the country.  In this context there are certain things that need to be dealt with an iron hand.

  • Yellow journalism should be done away with.  In order to sell more number of newspaper copies or to get highest TRPs the relevant bodies of media try to sensationalize every bit of news (even if it is not meant to be).  In fact they feed on rumours, exaggeration, scandal mongering.  They are going to the extent of creating need if there isn’t any only to be the talk of the town. For example a pet dog of an actress is ill, it’s a news (sensational, mind you!). Time and again pictures of the pet along with the owner are shown with a tragic music running in background with a caption ” actress is in deep trauma these days”.  You would know the reason and truth only if you watch it. This is a technique to grab attention which is unethical and unprofessional at the word go.
  • Showcasing a human as an object: Human, I am talking about in this context is “woman”.  I fail to understand what is the need to show a woman dancing around in an advertisement  which is meant for promoting men’s product.  Be it a shavin cream, undergarments, men’s wear etc.  The portrayal of a woman as “item” in songs, to show women running for a man by the intoxication of his perfume or just because he is chewing or smoking tobacco of a particular brand is very derogatory.  It sends across a false notion.  Many people among audience form a perception that woman is just an object of desire.  I mean it, it happens.  And it is harmful for the society.
  • Publicising lives:  I understand that lives of celebrities are always under the radar of public eye. And media is a connecting pin between public and celebrities.  But does that give right to cross the line and step into private space of celebrities?  Aren’t they human like us? Don’t they deserve some private moments away from the shutter bugs? Paparazzi is a new age word given to stalking of celebrities by media literally everywhere , invading the personal space which is morally wrong.
  • Promoting clichés like fair is beautiful or handsome, loans are meant for marriage of daughters and education of sons, slim and fit would be more welcomed is totally unacceptable.

Conclusion:  Media is eye and an eye opener for public as through media it sees what’s happening around.  Media is the mouthpiece of nation, through media opinions are voiced.  Media is ear as it is the receptor of facts, concerns, emotions that matters. Ok, I won’t do the anatomy further😀 but all I want to say is being an important part of state machinery it is the responsibility of media to be responsible especially in a democratic country like ours where lot of faith have been resting in this powerful weapon called “Media”.

THE BEST TIME TO LEARN FROM A REGRET IS NOW

I had a serious interest into biology. I have no idea how many books I would have read related to anatomy of human body. Spent hours in lab dissecting cockroaches, frogs. May be, I was just mad about becoming a doctor. But, when it was time to make a career decision, reality was different. I realized,  I cannot get enough finances to support my dream. I didn’t have a choice but to choose an alternate path. Whenever I used to cross the medical college en-route, saw junior doctors with stethoscopes and white coats,  it used to hurt me to the core. Regret number 1.

Electronics was my second love. I graduated as an Engineer with Electronics as major. This wasn’t very bad, I am still going to do something I love. Huh !? Only if life had the same plan laid out for me.

A sweet surprise was waiting for me.

Though I have landed in a job, it has put me into a very strange situation. I am a Software Engineer. Some people in my position would have jumped out of joy, at the glance of the fancy title. But, I wasn’t. I was expecting a VLSI Engineer position. I was so upset with that job, I used to literally cry and struggled to figure out how to deal with it. I disliked being a software engineer. Regret number 2.

After spending  5 years of professional career as so called software Engineer, by this time I got used to being one, I had an unique opportunity. Software Engineer for a healthcare company making medical products.  I had one more offer with another technology giant with double the pay than the offer of the healthcare company. 

I strongly regretted not being a doctor and being a software engineer,  both forcing me to learn to live with a regret.  But today, I am at a juncture where I can make a choice. A smart choice which is an amalgamation of something I love doing  and something I am OK with. Naturally, whom ever I talked to gave me a suggestion to accept the non healthcare job. But, I knew it’s a good move to enter healthcare industry..I would be a stupid to not see the obvious.

Getting into my current role isn’t luck or something I was destined to. There were a lot of hiccups. I prepared myself for it and looked for good opportunities. Thanks to my current boss who saw the potential in me. Today, I am working for a healthcare company happily coding,  juggling with micro-processors, enjoying the soothing sound of soldering,   fulfilling patient needs. All my love for serving the society and playing with tiny wonders of electronics world came true. I get to see medical procedures and I love watching them. (Though performing them would have been better). I have worked on my regrets, changed the direction in which I tackle the regret and I did end up in a much better place.

I do have much larger regrets than my career. All of us have regrets, whether we accept that before others or not is a different issue. A regret is a consequence of our choice, reasons could be many. Every choice of life we make comes with a cost. When we try to compare the cost of one choice to another, usually we end up with regrets. If we become too careful to not make mistakes or take risks, we may end up not having regrets but then we have stopped evolving.

I completely agree with both Chiradeep and Sulagna. Having a regret isn’t bad at all, it’s a realization. If we can learn and make appropriate choices, we may not see immediate results but all our efforts would be paid off at sometime in future.

“The only victories which leave no regret are those which are gained over ignorance.”
Napoléon Bonaparte

CREATE A DOCUMENT OF YOUR LIFE

All of us have big wishlists. I want a lot of money. I want to look pretty/handsome. I want to lose some weight. I want to travel the world. And a lot of such things.

There is nothing wrong in having wishlists, in fact that is the first step to actually realizing what you want in life. The problem is most of us stop with just the wishlists and do nothing to make those wishes a reality. Even worse, most of us blame the circumstances for not being able to materialize those wishes. That’s just human nature.

There is only way to make it happen, to make it possible for you to live your wishes – by creating goals for life. This is the way to go about it:

Create a life document. Imagine that you are at least 20 years more than your current age and think what your life would look like. Open a notepad and start with the sentence – “In year 2035, I will be 50 years of age and will have…. ” Start completing this sentence with every wish you have. Be as specific as you can be.

Now imagine that you are 15 years from your current age and think how your life should be then to achieve what you wrote in the previous page. Start the sentence with “In year 2030, I will be 45 years of age and will have… “. Again be as specific as you can be.

Now imagine that you are 10 years from your current age and repeat the same exercise. Then imagine that you are 5 years from your current age and repeat. Next for 3 years, then 2 years and then the goals for next year.

Once you have these documents ready, you can revisit them every month or quarter and check your progress with respect to your goals.

This is by far the easiest way to realize your goals and fulfill your wishlist. If you really follow it to the core and do not change your wishes often, there is high probability that you will achieve what you wrote in the first document 20 years from now.

Have this life document and keep it alive at all times. Make it the vision of your life. Imagine and live it every minute and there would be nothing that can stop you from achieving it.

SCALING THE PEAKS

Mountaineering is definitely not a child’s play!

The great men and women of the world, many of whose names do not always make it to the newspaper headlines brave the icy winds to scale the steep slopes. As a mountaineer climbs higher and higher the weather conditions become worse. Along with the extreme cold, often there are storms and rain which deter their path. There is a constant threat of their supply of oxygen running out mid-way. Many of them battle frost-bite.

More than these external challenges, the internal phantoms are the ones they need to deal with. Death stares at them every moment. They never know whether they would be able to return alive to their loved ones or not. The terrible sight of the lifeless bodies of those other mountaineers who were not able to reach the peak or even if they did, didn’t return alive creates a sense of dread.

However, those brave hearts who battle and overcome these extreme challenges of the body and mind every moment of the climb, are the ones who scale the peak. There is no gain without pain. Who else can explain it better than a person who has conquered the peak!

Endure the pains of life. You’ll emerge a conqueror!

TURBULENT TIMES AND THE SPARK OF SUCCESS

“Sweet are the uses of adversity

Which, like a toad ugly and venomous,

Wears yet a precious jewel in its head;”

William Shakespeare, through the mouth of Duke Senior, in his famous play, As You likes It, Act 2 Scene 1.

Yes, you are right!……the same old words. Your eyes and ears must have passed these words several times in your career, although William Shakespeare wrote them way back in 1599, and not until 1623 did it make its public debut. Some of us have even read it as part of our English curriculum in School. Two days back, when the very same words, crossed my eyes, for the umpteenth time though, in a newspaper column, it forced me to rethink its meaning in new light. Turbulent times, if endured are definitely the gateway to success.

World renowned American Author and Motivational Speaker, Og Mandino, once said, “Obstacles are necessary for success because in selling, as in all careers of importance, victory comes after many struggles and countless defeats.” There was a phase in my surgical career, wherein every Suprapubic Prostatectomy, i.e. Surgery to remove enlarged Prostate Gland , that I did was ending up with bleeding and eventually getting re-opened. It was just not happening for me. I wasn’t sure whether it was wrong technique that was causing this or poor assisting by my surgical assistants or a combination of both. Slowly a sense of fear crept in and it forced me to avoid doing Prostatectomies anymore. 

I could not sleep at night because doubts about ability and technique crept in pretty quickly. I called my Boss, to watch over me while I operate in order to catch any wrong steps, but alas! None existed. It led us to go back to our books and resources on the net and after exhaustive reading we made some procedural changes. Its been 4 years since that epochal day and not a single Prostatectomy patient has bled. Those procedural changes have become very popular among many surgery specialists. Had my patients not bled a better procedure would never have evolved.

The other day watching an interview of World famous, Skier and Olympic Gold Medalist, Jean-Claude Kelly nailed the idea completely. While skiing, some of the most treacherous runs on Earth, something remarkable happened with him. Out of the razor’s edge, where he felt his greatest discomfort wherein his limiting beliefs started to scream through his brains and tell him that he would never make it down, it was at that opportune moment that he felt the most alive.

He said, “The fear you move through when you go to the edge of your limits actually causes your limits to expand.” This is true not only of Skiing but life as well. That expansion leads to not only better work but greater performance. As Nietzsche said:  “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” 

Most people hide in their shells when the going gets rough. They retreat into their bunkers. They push away anything that’s pulls them the least bit out of their comfort zone. And sadly, in so doing, they push away their chances for growth, mastery and lasting achievements. The brave don’t run. The brave eat their fear before their fear eats them.

If that’s not enough, deep change is a purifier of sorts. Yes, it can tear down the very foundations on which your thinking and way of operating have been built. But just maybe those old foundations need to come down to create space for even better ones to be installed. And during the transition process that lies between the old structures coming down and the new ones being put up in place, it’s a real stress filled, uncertain time. But just maybe it’s like the transition of the Caterpillar morphing into the Butterfly. It looks like a mess but something beautiful is being created. As Novelist Richard Bach, once famously said, “What the Caterpillar calls the end of the World, the Master calls the Butterfly.”

Author’s Bio: Dr. Anupam Dey is a General Surgeon in a Mission Hospital at BISSAMCUTTACK, ODISHA. He is a thinker and a thought provoking writer.

PRACTICE MAKES A MAN PERFECT… GOOD HABITS MAKE EVERYTHING PERFECT…

Habits can be good or bad depending on its ultimate effects on our lives. Sometimes our habits affect our behaviour. We become habituated with certain kind of behaviours. A habit of taunting or making fun of others becomes our behaviour when we do that always. Sometimes it is pleasant or unpleasant to others.

Aristotle says, Good habits formed at youth make all the difference.”

Sometimes a deliberate action of helping others, maintaining a routine or time become our good habits & practices which ultimately affect our behaviours in a positive way.

Sometimes habits can be shocking when we discover it for the first time in different persons.

Newly wedded couples get amazed seeing each other’s peculiar habits and practices as they start living together. They either laughs at each other when they see those habits or feel alarmed, thinking how to bring the change in their partners. Have you ever thought whether your partner is affected because of your bad habits?

What I really want to say here is that, our habits do have a direct impact on our lifestyle, behaviours, our surroundings and on the people related to us. We discussed that yesterday also…

Practice makes a man perfect… Good habits make everything else perfect…

Stay Blessed!