< October 2005 >
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Thu, 13 Oct 2005:

What did you ask for when you joined your current job ? Did you ask for a pay raise that put you above your peers ?. Did you ask for an outrageous 35 days leave per year ? Did you ask for stock options ? Did you ask for a rise in position - did you become manager from being just a tech lead ? Did you ask for better work - more hard-core platform than app development ? Did you ask for easier work hours - 11 to 8 over 9 to 6 ? Did you even think about asking about working from home on monday mornings ?.

Q: Do you have any idea what I asked for ?
A: Nothing.

I gave up a team lead job in Wipro, to join Yahoo ! in a totally different capability, asking for a pay-package which was below what even a fresher was offered (this was offered to an exceptional fresher - but I'm pretty exceptional too). I didn't ask for more leaves, stock options (took what I got by default), took a demotion from module lead to become a mere engineer, didn't get the hard-core platforms stuff I wanted to work on. But I did get better working hours and can technically work from home once I get my net connection and that RSA card. I even got an authorization to work on my open source projects. I was happy.

7+ months have passed by since that day in february. I have done a re-assesment of what I've done here. In those months, I have worked on only one thing which has truly seen the light of day - which is the APC for PHP5. All my other work has gone into hiding, been hijacked or totally open-ended research stuff. Stuff I've done design for is being implemented by strangers (who are barely aware of my existence), other stuff I've done (undergoing much pain and learning a new language - Javascript) is just lying abandoned without moving to production. I'm just sitting in one corner of this huge house being virtually ignored by everyone around. Slowly, I'm developing an apathy towards my job - something which is the antithesis of all I stand for. In short, I'm not really happy.

I wish I was one of those guys who'd consider their job to be done if their bosses have nothing to complain about, the paycheck arrives every month and they can go home feeling happy about playing the system and winning. I'm the kind of guy who gets more of out his job than just money - I want my code to be used, to build something useful for someone (if not for just me), to justify and validate my existence by the things I do. Neglect and apathy is one of the things that just kill my motivation - you could say that my motivation is at rock bottom right now. Obviously that's when you look at what you get from work to justify this kind of death by a thousand cuts approach to my intellect (which has lived a very sheltered life out there in dotgnu). I've got hooked on respect, recognition and that simple feeling of Look ma, no bugs - to give it up for piddling cash, short vacations or flex-time.

Simspons had an episode in which Homer is forced to go back to the power plant and a de-motivation plaque is put on the wall before him which says "Do Not Forget, You Are Here For Ever". Homer had stuck maggie's pics all over the wall till it read "Do It For Her" (the i being start of 'N'). Right now, I don't have anyone to share my work with - not my company, not my co-workers, not the world. Even my open source project is slowly dying out and there's nothing I can do about it - the harder I clasp the more I lose it, like a fist-ful of beach sand.

I've hit a coder's block. I cannot code - I cannot even think in code right now. My brain won't stay focussed - a thing which it has never done before except while on stage. I know for a fact that whatever I write now will be pure bullshit - full of bugs and what not. I can write limericks instead of what were sonnets in the past, quick hacks which take less than an hour - but my work doesn't have any hour long hacks I can start and stop, admire the results and move on. It is the curse of the perfectionist when you lose it and cannot get it back because you are too afraid to face the truth that you aren't as good as you were. Without working very hard, without work pressure, without peer pressure, without enforced overtime - I have burnt out. In hindsight there were ways I could have stepped out, avoided it. The signs were crystal clear - especially in the last month - the hand in bandage, status reports which were partly works of fiction, forgetting documentation details, sleepiness in meetings, general apathy.

Somebody told me it was normal autumn melancholy. Could be true - my body clock now goes on totally differently from the sun or the moon. I just exist in another dimension - the real world just flashes by. I seem to be waiting for the world to make the first move. Hopefully that's not the end.

I just don't care. Whatever

Never look back, the view is never as good.
                  -- About your journey to the crypt, Terry Pratchett

posted at: 16:30 | path: /rants | permalink | Tags:

Do you read any Anne McCaffrey ?. If you have read the Pern series, the Wyrmberg parts of Colour of Magic will just slay you with laughter. I have always maintained that referential humour is much more funnier than the out and out gags. Which is why I like Simpsons more than I like Friends or why I suffer Southpark's vulgarity [read Reductio Ad Absurdum or Simpsons overload - maximum Homerdrive]. Ok, so here's the unique parallel. The dragon lady in Pern is called Lessa, all the male dragon riders have a ' in their names - like F'nor, F'lar. So Discworld's dragon lady are called Liessa, dragon riders called K!sdra, Lie!tt (Dune ref ?). Anyway, I thought the Weyrs of Pern vs Wyrmbrg was too similar to be left alone.

Light Fantastic has wordplay is what I'd call very interesting. Sort of at par with the H2G2 "Like being drunk" quote The part about the talking trees, for example.

'Trees,' said a voice out of the darkness, high above. 
It possessed what can only be described as timbre

Or the intimate knowledge that the author shows about science (a trait shared with the one and only). For example, the knowledge of special relativity in the following paragraph betrays an education in the sciences or at least an interest in them.

And the knife left Trymon's hand at such speed that (because of the 
somewhat sluggish nature of Disc light) it actually grew a bit shorter 
and a little more massive as it plunged, with unerring aim, towards Galder's 

Read relativstic mass and Lorentz Equations for an idea of how complicated the mass and length transformations really are. Though interestingly, at velocities a lot lesser than C, all these equations can be reduced to their Newtonian forms. All of Relativity could be called as a fine-tuning of what Newton put down in his laws.

All in all, nice book to read. I absolutely recommend it to anyone with a night to spare. Just don't miss all these oblique references. Watch out for the one with the rescued virgin, the hardware consultant who's flying in a new stone for the druid's broken circle or the description of trolls (water and rock both) - even the reflected-sounds-of-spirits-underneath.

posted at: 11:40 | path: /books | permalink | Tags: