Feb 28, 2014

A time of change...

"...Do you feel a change coming on,
Rolling out of the blue like a storm,
And it's throwing your dollhouse world in disarray
So you can rebuild or conform

How I wish you'd only see
How your own choices make your dream
Come out shining true before it can leave you
I wish that you could see
How your own choices make your dream
Come out shining true all around you...

I couldn't start this long overdue blogpost better than with the lyrics from "'change'' by my favorite- Poets of the fall; because if a word could describe my life in the last one month, it would be change.

It was on many occasions during my time at Google that i remember quipping "..But who in their right mind quits Google? I'd never do it" and here I am, exactly a month since doing it!

Even though I knew it even back then, it has been only been reiterated and confirmed that what i was quitting was not a company, but a life, a lifestyle and possibly everything I'd ever held close to me in the last four years.

I'd be honest. I have mixed feelings about coming back to family after living a fiercely independent life and yet it feels good to be served a steaming hot cup of chai & not be worried about if you've run out of cooking gas or milk or be inundated with love & licks from my dogs every evening, but I miss my home back in that city that always felt more like home than here. A house that turned home from 2 years of labour of love- right from fighting to get the flat, painting its walls to doing it up with random brick-a-brac and DIY, which I shared with different people who came to be family over the years; from conversations about Dali to the shades of nailpaints, a lot of music listening or just staring into the million lights glowing into the distance on the horizon as seen from my famous terrace, amidst moments, many hundreds of feet above the ground, this house was but a reflection of me and my life.

Then there was the Google life where everyday was almost a cakewalk, almost exactly like a scene out of 'Stranger than fiction' and yet so different. You were chauffeur-driven to the magnificent Google building, with a hint of pride in your head while swiping the 3D badge at the entrance, and just as you were whining about how sleepy you were or how you'd have liked to stay back home and slept some more, the smell & sight of freshly made gourmet breakfast (think organic eggs, jalapeƱo, kiwis!) filled up your senses and you couldn't want to be elsewhere at that moment. I wouldn't be lying if i said i still have dreams about the steaming hot sambar served every single day, the made-on-demand omelettes by the ever-smiling Vijay and the pancakes with the maple syrup- the breakfast I so loved coming to office for! And just as you were still soaking in the aftertaste of the glorious breakfast, you had some or the other big news in your inbox making you swell with pride. Google acquired another company? Hatched up another billion-dollar idea towards world domination? Or wait, another gift or schwags for the employees? Part of the everyday. Normal.

Then came the lunch. 
Another daily ritual of 25 something fancy dishes sitting on your plate, while you sat with your friends endlessly, possibly gloating or cribbing about the job at the best company in the world. Before you knew it, it was dinner time, and you basically went home a well-fed, satisfied, a proud Googler. life at google was but a life between meals and fun.

Cut to today, I'm sitting at my desk at the new job, just about to get into a call with Ogilvy about a creative brief. It's a fashion retail company so I'm surrounded by (arguably) pretty clothes, swatches of fabrics, and discussions that regularly feature words such as "Spring Summer Collection pictures send karna". There's no foos or a barista here and people mean business. 
Google's high-end and then-seemingly normal technology has been replaced with old school system of taking physical notes, screen projectors and actual meeting with people. I feel like I'm back to 2005 technology-wise. 

But on the bright side, every day I'm learning something new about this new world of retail, fashion and marketing and waking up to the fact about how little i actually knew!

From a tech-intensive MNC and an internet giant to an offline fashion retailer from an Indian biggie, the transformation between the careers is ever more pronounced. 

I've made a business one-day trip to Delhi already and felt that the trappings of being a manager are finally setting in. From being one of the 30 in a team to someone making decisions for 30 to follow up on, my first taste of authority and a sudden free will to shape my work after a data-centric, process-oriented work culture feels good but intimidating. 

The aforementioned unlimited, gourmet, tasty and not to mention free food has been replaced, actually not quite replaced by but substituted by orthodox-ically rationed, just about edible and sodexo-coupon enabled "meals" at this company. I still look to make friends or come across a comforting face here, and for company, flip through the hundreds of print magazines lying around here or chat with my boyfriend endlessly because well, now long distance. A
nd while I've discovered a perfect travel companion in him from our trips together, i almost hate depending on technology to connect with him, as thankful I am for our triumphantly digitized contemporaneity as opposed to earlier spending all our time together at office and outside.

Surely and admittedly all this sounds like an enormous sacrifice tradeoff for no apparent reason and while I still have no clear response to people's constant & much animated "why did you quit google/ who quits google/ what's better?" which i invariably get from everyone i feel comfortable enough to update on, somewhere in my head I know i've made the right call. "Magic happens outside of your comfort zone", i'd read somewhere, and while i'm yet to experience magic, i know as an individual and as someone who couldn't be satisfied with being just satisfied, i've taken the right call.  I think it's important at some point to stop feeling smug about WHERE you work and shift the focus to the WHAT you do. There's just an infinite amount to learn and do for one lifetime, limiting oneself to one job is like living 5% of what's possible. 
Career wise, it was also a good time to leverage my skills and innate interests to become a specialist, not a process follower. To choose a life of learning, challenge and DIY over a life of comfort creatures and good food which clouded your judgement of what you were capable of.

Clearly, at this moment, I toggle between conundrums and life of a deep-seated nostalgia and longing for what I've left behind, an intense period of all the adjusting and dealing with changes and a growing sense of excitement about what lies ahead. And while google and my life that existed whilst i was at google still haunts me, while i crave for a spinach-corn croissant from the 1st floor cafe every now & then, i cringe at not being able to see my people as often as I'd like to and still go Banjara hills before Bannerghatta road when thinking of my home, i know but moreover hope that this change is good, for my growth, my dreams and aspirations as an individual. I think i take solace in the fact that, i've moved on from being a cog in the wheel to being someone helping set the wheel in motion.

To change.

No comments: