In the life of a cubicle dweller, we are often faced with many existential dilemmas. In the course of a working day, if we are not distracted by test cricket or perhaps the foreign minister of some friendly if misunderstood country, we tend to ask ourselves these existential questions:
Do I love my company?
Does the company love me?
Is this job going anywhere?
If I wear a monkey cap like this, drape a suit jacket like this, and take my CEO’s iMac home inside this large bag, will they recognize me on the CCTV camera?
Now in most cases this internal CBI inquiry is normal and should not be taken too seriously. Human beings are, after all, introspective creatures. We constantly seek to optimise our existence. If we did not occasionally ask ourselves searching, seeking questions, what separates us human beings from the Lok Sabha?
Also Read | Sidin Vadukut’s previous columns
But then there are questions, I was reminded recently, that must be mulled over at great length. Earlier this week I had tea with a friend who recently quit a fantabulous investment banking job to do...well, nothing in particular. She was going to read, cook and travel for a few months, tapping prudently into her non-insubstantial savings. And then eventually, she hoped, she would find her “calling in life”.
Now I bring this up to convey two thoughts:
1. There is a vacancy currently available in an investment bank. If you do the needful through Western Union I can do the needful here.
2. When do you know it is time to quit your job?
We spoke about many things over tea and a plate of those ridiculously delicious Portuguese egg custards, but especially about when and how you know “you’ve had enough” at work.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “Man! I swear! I also want these Portuguese egg custards...”
My friend told me that she knew she had to jump overboard when she realized something. She had practically no memory of her last two years at work. Nothing. And perhaps no clear memory—cherish-able or otherwise—of life itself. She was shuttling from work to home to work to home with metronomic regularity and robot-like passivity.
One day she decided enough is enough.
So how do you know when you’ve had enough? When is it time to move on to a new job? Or at least, more importantly, when is it time to escape from the old one?
Let us contemplate upon this.
There is only a small portion of our cubicle lives when we are not thinking about quitting. To be precise this is the period between swiping in, and lunch break on our first day on a new job. Things usually go downhill from there.
But how can we tell a “I hate this job today” feeling from an “Ok, this is not working out any more” feeling?
Thanks to years of sitting in office mulling over resignations, I might be in a position to offer some pointers. Ask yourself these three handy questions and you might find your answers.
1. What do you feel like doing when you wake up the first thing in the morning?
A reasonable amount of depression is to be expected. Staying in bed is somewhat more enjoyable than dying on the Harbour line, taking a Hawkins Pressure Share taxi from Dadar station to Bandra Kurla Complex, and then allowing a spreadsheet to slap you around the face for eight hours.
But if your first thought on waking up is a tendency to slash a large vein of some kind, then you need to pause.
Perhaps you might want to keep a morning depression diary of some kind where you rate your first emotions after waking up on a scale from 1 (fake an illness) to 10 (axe murder).
Too many high scores might mean it is time to have a chat with someone.
2. Is that beautiful, glowing, joyous feeling viral fever?
Suppose you are diagnosed with some minor illness of some kind? Perhaps a viral fever or a hairline fracture of some kind? Do you notice that while your family is milling around you with concern, you are secretly overjoyed that you don’t have to go to office for a week?
It could get worse. Maybe you could get viral fever and secretly pine for a benign form of typhoid that could mean a much longer break from office.
If you’re seeking further severity in your illnesses, for the sake of sick leave, that chat is imminent.
Bonus hint: You are jealous of your wife’s maternity leave.
3. Do you often find yourself alone at dinner time?
Wife/Friend/Significant Other: “What do you think of the lasagna?”
You: “I am thinking of fire-bombing the 7th floor where Marketing sits.”
W/F/SO: “Ok. And the salad?”
You: “Do we have any lighter fluid at home?”
W/F/SO: “I don’t think I can be with you anymore...”
You: “Wait. There should be some ground chakkars left over from Diwali no?”
Me: “Seek help dude.”
Cubiclenama takes a weekly look at the pleasures and perils of corporate life. Your comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org