Saturday, August 16, 2014

The First Job

For many of us so called freshers back at B-School, the idea of The First Job was extremely intriguing. A lot of it had to do with the idea of The First Paycheque. However, every climax is preceded by a character, a story and a situation. In other words, a foreplay.   

For starters, life as a professional earns you the respect of one and many and many but one. Your subordinates glance at you, smirk at the volume of work you do and get shocked at the money you make. Your boss is shocked at seeing you work, glances at the volume of work you do and smirks at the money you make. This is so unlike college where your friends would smirk at seeing you work, yet get shocked at the volume of work you could muster and then just glanced at the grades you received.

Mathematics seems all too easy at college. You have the skill to work out many a tough problem on your fingertips. Post college, however, even the alleged simplest of problems such as conversion of CTC to take-home salary seem the most arduous, even with the most advance calculators.

However, contrary to popular belief, spending on ecommerce decreases. While you do have the money to move products from your Wishlist to your Cart and the capacity to choose Debit Card instead of Cash-on-Delivery as the mode of payment, no one is home when the shipment is delivered.
With extra income, come added expenses. New outflows such as house rent, food and transport crop up out of nowhere. With them, comes the realisation that electricity does not come free, water shortage is the country’s bigger problem than its ability to win Test matches abroad, cost-effective and high-speed Internet is one adjective too many for your budget, credit card interest rates run higher than Rohit Sharma’s batting average and if one rupee is equivalent to a foot, then your education loan EMI would stack up as high as Mount Everest.

And once you see your hard earned salary being taken away from you even before it hits your bank account, you start empathising with the businessmen who stash their black money in Luxembourg and Switzerland. How does it matter what colour the money is as long as it’s green?

On the bright side, at work you do meet a lot of new and interesting people. There is always someone who you aspire to be like. You call her/him the MD/CEO of the company. Then there are some you never want to be like, but are certain to become one. You call her/him your boss. Finally, there are those you never want to see again. You call them colleagues.  Outside of work, too, the new phase would ensure you meet people from all walks of life. There are landlords who are omniscient when it’s the first of every new month and disappear from the surface of the earth when the kitchen sink has a blockage. Then there are electricians and plumbers who, no matter which part of the city you live in, always seem to live in the diametrically opposite side. And then there are property-brokers, who, true to their name, lease you a property and make you broke in the process.

Work life also sees a lot of new people take up far more important positions in your life. The maid becomes the lady you now cajole the most, for she is your dish-washer, your vacuum cleaner, your washing machine and on most Mondays, your morning alarm. You can live with an upset sister for a week, an upset mother for three days and an upset girlfriend for two…but an absent maid can take your life in just under 24 hours on account of either skidding over the dust brought by your shoe-sole and consequently hitting your against the shoe stand and/or chocking on the dishwash bar left at the end of the spoon after a failed attempt at doing the dishes yourself.

The one thing, though, that remains constant is the quality of food, which, like Dhoni’s captaincy record overseas, hasn’t improved. During work, all you get is food for thought and post work, all you have is thought for food. However, unlike the option to dine thrice post dinner that you enjoyed back at the dorm, you get just the one shot now. And hence in the struggle to decide between eating the inedible and waiting 30 min and making a hole twice as big in your pocket, Nestle and ITC make merry yet again!

A rather less common change is the shift in prime mode of time wastage from laptop to television. Laptop has just the three channels: TV Series, Movies and Porn; first two of which are limited by the capacity of today’s memory disks. Television has many. Plus, television is the medium where you would find all the recent works of Sunny Leone.

The final avenue of change is social media. No, Facebook is still the dominant medium and LinkedIn is used only when you wish to know which donation college your boss passed out of. Yet, a lot of friends are checking in at restaurants and theatres with their graduation friends/colleagues you know as little of as the friend himself.

Having said all that, there are plenty of silver linings too, I think. For starters, you divert all your hatred from people to occasions such as Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. There’s also the added excitement for waiting for that SMS at the start of the month. Even the alphanumeric codes such as 80C, 80CCC and 80CCD (the last of which bears no resemblance to a popular cafeteria chain, living or dead) all make sense now. 

Eventually, you realise that the high-school Physics formula equating Work to Force times Displacement is the greatest discovery ever made. For even if you think your Force is unstoppable, the targets are usually immovable. Naturally, your boss sees you as a lazy bum who does no work. Remarkably, another high-school Physics formula comes a cropper. Power isn’t the rate but the rank at which you Work.