When you are constantly slamming (fn+C) on your Mac, you know that your work (where you use a Windows PC) has completely consumed your life. I could try to get a Mac at work as well or switch to a Windows laptop at home, but I wouldn’t. I am one of those people who likes to keep work separate from life because when you mix the two, you are bound to be partial to one over the other and it’s not fair for either. For the past month, I have everything mixed up so badly that it breaks my heart when my 8 month old daughter constantly crawls up to me and tries to shut my computer, even late into the evening. This is also probably why I haven’t written in the longest time, because I’d rather play with her in the little time I see her awake than tap away on another laptop.
A lot of people like to make their jobs, their entire existence. I, on the other hand, is always fighting to make the two disjoint. I fundamentally believe that a job is a means to fund my living and as long as that job is making a net positive contribution to the world, I am doing the right thing. We trade our skills for money because we can then trade our money for happiness, which seems a bit convoluted but given that Tesco on street won’t give me a bag full of groceries in return for my number crunching skills, I am forced to rely on money as a middleman. Having said this, I’ve always had a choice in terms of what skills I trade for money but apart from changing the perception of contribution I make to the world, this doesn’t change a thing about wanting to strive a work-life balance.
I know that the west and east differ very much in terms of how we view our jobs, and so my view of this could be severely culturally biased. I am reminded of something an ex-colleague once told me, “I have a side business because I can’t live the life I want with the salary my employer gives me. I only work for money, and if my employer needs loyalty, they should hire daawgs (read kannada accent)”. I will not speak for the entire world, or for the east or for India, but I play many roles apart from being an employee – a writer, a thinker, a painter, a cook, an organiser, a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a grand-daughter, a daughter-in-law, a niece, a cousin, an aunt, a friend and much more. So it’s very important for me to be able to make time for everyone in my day. The only way I can do this is by living every role as efficiently as possible.
Whether as an employee or as an entrepreneur, I simply hate carrying the burden of my inefficiency at work into life or the other way around and so, this commitment to be fair to every bit of me makes me try harder to be as efficient as possible, on an average. I am nowhere near the efficiency I’d like, and hence, I continue to constantly fight to keep every bit disjoint.