Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Youthful Sojourns of Life :)

I am always apprehensive when I try to mention this to anyone as inevitably they think that I am boasting. But what the hell, I am perceived to be a show-off anyway, so let me write about it.. especially as I have been thinking about this the whole day.
I am too young for the job I do… to the extent that it’s the first thing people notice when they meet me at work. To give you a rough idea, I am the youngest person in my team and the person who is second youngest is around 9 years elder to me. And in case you find it amusing, or think it’s a nice situation to be in , let me tell you, it’s the worst thing that can happen to you if you happen to do the kind of job I do..
Well I will admit it’s a flattering thing to blog about (ah, I just told you in my last post that I was successful dude didn’t I.. yes I am such a narcissist), but in the real world, well lets just say it causes a lot of issues. I run the risk of not being taken seriously, of being labeled as immature, ‘too young’ to do a high profile task or being included in a high profile team and lately ran into a guy who told me that I was an “angry young man” and cant be taken seriously because I was a bit assertive at a meeting.
“Ageism” can be as bad as racism. But everyday I realize that being young gives me such an edge over people who are elder to me. And so I never really complain about being the youngest in the team. But it also makes me wonder.. will I feel insecure as I grow older and there are younger Merlins vying for the wizards position in Arthurs court? Maybe, but who cares. I am still at the age where I can shrug and say ‘who cares’ :).
Apart from the serious effects it has in my job role, there are some very amusing incidents related to it. Like the first time I joined this role and uploaded my photo on the company portal (its kinda mandatory.. I like it actually, its like having facebook on ur company portal). It is then that my new Swedish manager called me. Swedes are extremely polite. They are soft spoken and very refined. This manager was someone who adored me and had a very good opinion of me, so he took extra care to not offend me. So heres how the conversation went:
Manager: Isnt it a better idea to put up a semi formal picture?
Me: But the one I have put up is semi formal.
Manager: Yes it is, but you have short hair and a t-shirt
Me: But you are also wearing a t-shirt in your pic and how does the short hair matter?
Manager: Umm.. its not abt semi formal actually, I was thinking a different look would make people take you more seriously
Me: (confused) Different look?
Manager: Yes.. like you can wear a suit, take a pic now with your longer hair, maybe wear specs
Me: Ah, you want me to look older?
Manager (blushing): Yes.. I mean.. I don’t want to offend you but you look pretty young don’t you think, especially as you are in a role where you make decisions and influence senior managers on the client side
Me: Not really but that’s ok, I will change the pic

So I have a pic in a suit with a serious growl on my face, and I hope now it doesn’t remind people of Cerelac anymore. SIGH!
Another one was with a lady colleague who belongs to a different team. I exchanged e-mails with her for nearly a year on formal matters. And then there was an escalation and we had to meet up to decide how to address it and so I went to the pre-booked meeting room.
Her (As soon as I enter): I am sorry but this room is booked
Me: I know, I booked it myself, you must be Rachel.. I am Merlin.
Her (shakes hands with a surprised look): You are Merlin??
Me: Yes, you seem to have a doubt?
Her: No.. er.. you seemed totally different in mails, you don’t look like Merlin?
Me: And how should Merlin look like?
Her: Er…. Maybe a bit older?

At least she was honest. Most people aren’t, but I know the look which says ‘You are Merlin??!! you gotta be kidding’.

My gtalk status reads “Mid month resolution.. I will blog everyday :)” and I get a lot of sarcastic comments on that (Some have commented in the posts below) because for some reason I have given the image that I am a very busy guy. I don’t deny it, but I firmly believe that every man should have the time to love his girl (if he has one), talk to friends (he should have some), spend time with his parents/kids, and blog. If he cannot do these very basic activities, he should reconsider his job, maybe take a sabbatical and spend a year being with his loved ones and blogging. On a serious note, I want to blog everyday because I like blogging. It makes me feel that I can think of things beyond my work issues (and being the youngest in the team is not really a work issue). It makes me feel freshened up just putting my thoughts down. My dad practices Yoga. My mom believes and spends time in meditation. My best friend writes morning pages. I blog. It is an equally spiritual and refreshing exercise. For those of you who are bloggers, I don’t need to convince you, for those of you who arent I will say.. try it. For those who have tried and given up, well, even yoga and meditation are not meant for everyone.
Today was a sunny day and it was positive four degrees. One of the brightest days so far. Hence I have forgiven fate for bringing all the escalations and work related tensions in my life. As long as there is sunlight, a nice home to come back to, some interesting people to chat with, and space to blog in, I am a happy man.

Quote of the day:
“"I worry that all of my wisdom is derived from bad analogies."
"Ratbert, sometimes a good wine has to age before it is perfect."
"So... I'll get smarter over time?"
"To the extent that you are like a grape."
- Ratbert and Dogbert in Dilbert