People are facing hardship in their works. To be free from that, and to be happy in life and work, one just needs to follow one simple rule
“What are you doing Mr. Vakaenan? We believe you are more creative than this. You are an employee of Access-Soft! Please bring back a better idea” TL’s softly handled my not-so-efficient prototype. What he meant is “What the hell do you think you are doing? How can someone useless as you are still an employee of Access-Soft? Get lost from my sight” in a modulated tone.
This is not the first time I’m hearing such words. I’m struggling for the past 6 months to be creative and competitive with my teammates and colleagues, but I’m facing hardships doing it.
Initially, everything was good. Being a new employee works, and that feeling drove me for a year. As the freshness starts to fade away, the feeling of emptiness starts to kick in. whenever I open my laptop, something in me screamed: “this is not where you belong”. This gets reflected in my performance.
Working with such a mentality didn’t allow me to reply to anything. I returned to my cabin and rested my head facing the ceiling. Every word is been replayed in my head, which returns me to the questions “what’s making me lag? What do I want? How can I be happy doing a work?”, that I’ve been asking myself for the past six months.
I tried to work, but stressfully couldn’t. so, I logged into Twitter and get to the trending column and see #prayfornesamani trending worldwide. Seeing that, the MEME Engineer in me woke up. After enjoying the funny hashtag for some time, I created a few memes and uploaded them with the same hashtag.
I’ve been creating memes from college. It started as a fun activity for teasing the politicians’ talks and irresponsible behavior. Later, it turned out as a medium to show my political knowledge and now, I’m using it as a stress buster. As my friends and family are more into Cinema and gossips, I find memes as my only medium to politically, sarcastically, and creatively involved.
I’m the admin of the meme page HitlerChap-s with 60+k followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on average, in each. “An Identical man with two faces” is the justification I give for that name. where Chap is Chaplin in it.
The meme I uploaded starts to bring in more likes and fun, I moved to the cafeteria to enjoy the time being distracted. I got a coffee and sat on a table following all the puns of the hashtag.
While doing it, my team-mate Vineeth showed up and accompanied me to the table.
Vineeth: What’s going on Vake?
I: Buddy, look at this hashtag. This is the funniest thing of the year. (showed the twitter trend to him)
Vineeth: Yeah dude! People are becoming more creative in sarcasm.
Vineeth is a star performer in our office. I thought about sharing ideas to extract ourselves more in what we are doing with him.
I: Not as creative as you buddy. They aren’t the star performers. It’s you.
Vineeth: Stop kidding ya.
I: come on! You know I’m not kidding. You are doing great. If you share your secrets, I might perform to that level and avoid my name from getting damaged with TL and Manager.
Vineeth: Anything special today?
I: As usual.
Vineeth: Oh! Sorry, buddy.
I: I’m used to it, bro. now, share your ideas.
Vineeth: What exactly means “Ideas”?
I: How are you get going with your works? What makes you creative? What’s kicking you from within?
Vineeth: If you ask like that, I’d say “the work itself”. I just love doing what I do. Whenever I woke up, the work I do kicks me to do more. Coming to the creative part, I’m not that creative. I just relate things whatever I hear, see, and thought about what I’m doing. Sometimes it hit the deck. That’s it.
Though I commented on it and carried the conversation funnily, I know that these are the main reasons for him to be successful. Because none of his words was my thing and I can relate to it.
I might be punctual, but that doesn’t kick me from within. I might complete my tasks, but that didn’t make me creative. I might maintain strict discipline on my own, but that doesn’t make me enjoy what I’m doing. The more I think about it, only one thing sticks stronger in my mind- “I’m in the wrong profession”.
By 7:15, I started to leave. I checked my phone where I saw a few notifications from Iniya (Iniyaal), my girlfriend. She has reminded me about the dinner we planned 2 days ago. I’ve to there at 8 considering all the traffic and junks. Have to hurry-up, else I can’t avoid the lovable words from her which will be worse than what I heard in the morning.
Around 8:10 I reached the spot. It is a roof-top building with a calm warm lighted ambiance. She looks stunning in her green overtop tees and black jean. Her hair floated in the air while I spotted her. I silently took my phone and shot a pic. Stupid shutter sound turned her eyes on me.
Without saying anything she gasped at me looking at her wristwatch.
I: Dude, it’s just 10 mins.
Iniya: late is late.
I: I crossed my hands and pinched my ears (for saying sorry)
Iniya: you never learn
That exact word remembers the words of my TL and turned me down. I sat opposite her remembering the scene.
Iniya: what happened? You seem dull.
I: (damn it. I should avoid being obvious) nothing dude. I’m cool (said and turned away)
Iniya just waited for my words to come out silently.
I sensed her look on me. I tried to avoid taking the conversation there yet she seemed to not give up, so I did.
I: those are the exact words from TL today morning.
I: for the nth time.
Iniya: finish your project and change your team
I: I think I’m in the wrong profession, not on the wrong team.
I: this is what I’m thinking for so long. Since morning, I’m planning to quit my job da
Iniya: Don’t be emotionally weak. Control your thoughts.
I: I’m trying, but couldn’t
Iniya: first let’s eat something before spoiling each other’s mood. Ok?
I: good idea
Iniya ordered a Crab soup & Fish fingers and I went with Tandoori Shawarma. We had our talk paused for a while, which leads me to my killer habit, Memes. While I was checking the trend, she resumed the discussion by asking “what have you planned after quitting your job?”
I: I don’t know. Just wanna quit it for now. I will think about the rest later.
Iniya: Later? Are you serious?
I: I don’t have any plans dude. I just need some time to think.
Iniya: How did I end up with such careless persons out of all men?
I: Maybe with my Personality!
Iniya: Personality your ass.
I: I’m a bit, blank dude. I just don’t like what I’m doing. If you know something, please guide me.
Iniya: Commitments apart. Your job is the one which is showing you as a responsible person. Make a plan. Get to a possible distance in your passionate field, and then decide about leaving your job.
I: with the work pressure I face, it is hard for me to even think about anything else da. (while I completed, my phone started beeping as my meme started pouring in likes and comments)
Iniya: Can you please turn that down?
I: just a Meme notification
Iniya: Memes? You were playing with memes while we discuss your career? If it is that much important, why don’t you find a career in it and settle for god’s sake
I: Dude. Sorry. I didn’t mean that way to hurt your feelings (said with my eyes looking at the comments)
Iniya: Hell with your memes and interest. I’m leaving now. Bye.
She cleared the space within seconds after that even after my tries in convincing her. My upset level once again pops up. I rested my head in the table placing my jaws above my arms looking at my meme page.
“I should be angry with you for disturbing my space. But you know what? You are the only one being with me in my tough times. You are the only reason for my stress management as well. How can I be angry with you? Look at what people are saying. They wanted me to end up with you in my career. Do you think that possible?”, I was talking to my meme the whole time. Suddenly the words recollected. Especially the question “Is that possible?”.
I soon left the restaurant and headed my room. All the way, I was thinking about the same question “is that possible?” repeatedly. This gets me to things happened while I was in college.
Back in those days, while my meme page was in the initial stage of popularity, some advertisers, product sponsors, and even political parties. That’s the time I came to know that, even meme creators are earning, and that’s more than a regular IT employee’s salary. Before agreeing to it, I consulted with my fav prof. Sandilyan.
He asked me to decline that offer by saying “You should consider any forms of money through work other than your scholarships while you are studying, especially if it is high paying”. He believed that money has a major influence in most drop out cases.
It all seemed meaningful so I did as he said. I reconsidered the offer whenever I needed money, but something in me stopped at that time. Maybe the respect on prof. Sandilyan or the fear in me, I don’t know.
Those thoughts rolled back. But I can’t reconsider it still now, as it is not a sustainable model in the long run. So, I searched for various forms of meme creations and similar works after reaching my room. I came through various names like Graphite Artist, Digital Cartoonists, and many. While going through the roles, in a fluke, I came across the word “Independent Journalists”.
In my college days, after viewing my memes and my political interests and Ideologies, many people said that I should have gone with Political science or Journalism. Since then, I have a silent crush on the word Journalism. After viewing that, and studying about the things it plays, my mind kind of fixed me to the idea of becoming one.
I fixed it the moment I saw it. Yet, I looked for the ideas and roles played by it in different regions and opportunities it gives for a long time. The time is 3:30. I wanted to say this to Iniya immediately, so, called her and said: “dude, I wanna become an independent journalist”. After a minute of silence, she cut the call. I thought she slept while answering the phone. So, I dropped a message saying “Call me right after seeing this” and lied down.
After 20mins, I got a call from her
I: you up?
Iniya: can we talk face to face?
I: now? Shall I come in the morning?
Iniya: you don’t need to stress out. Just come down. (she cut the call)
“WTF? Did she come in this odd time? Doofus woman” I thought within myself and rushed downstairs. She was partly standing with her scooter right in front of out PG gate.
I: you mad?
Iniya: what you said on the phone?
I: (after a small reluctance) dude, I think I should be an independent journalist.
Iniya: what made you think that way?
I: your words
Iniya: my what?
I: you said right? About finding memes as my career. Something in me pushed me to see the available opportunities in that form. After a long search and deep thinking, I end up choosing this. Also, it is demanding the necessities, which are my core interests.
Iniya: what guarantee you have on not leaving this role like your current work?
I: right now, I don’t have anything. But I’m sure that, if I can’t sustain in this, I can’t sustain in anything else.
She didn’t say anything. after a few mins of silence, she started her scooter. Before leaving, she said “give me 2 days. let me think about it. until I call or message, you should not do. ok?”
I just answered with a nod. she then left the scene.
2 days went like hell. It was really hard for me to think about anything other than searching for independent journalism and stalking at her profile. Each minute, the feeling grew stronger towards both.
3rd day, by 6:30 PM she messaged me “I’m waiting down”
I ran down praying “please don’t say break up” until reaching her. She’s standing as usual in her scooter, tapping the dashboard.
Before I open my mouth, she saw me and started “I was thinking about it and looking for the opportunities the whole time. I have collected some contacts and will send those to you. I’ll give my support from the financial side whereas you step down to some low profile in your company. Give more time concentrating on your passion and soon after you have confidence in making money from that, leave the company and work on it full time. Clear?
I’m just smiling with my mouth wide open. I didn’t have anything else to say. In the meantime, I said “I’m already planning to become support engineer”
Iniya: stepping down is fine. But as long as you are working here, you should do that role with a proper attitude.
I assured her with a nod and realized a fact that she’s not here to break-up. She’s here to take the relationship to the next level.
Within a week, I stepped down as a support engineer and opted for work from home.
I invested more than 10hrs a day doing my journalism works and 6 hrs a day doing my office works without breaks. Just after 3 months of hardship, I started making money. It was not capable enough to take care of me even for a week, but I was happy doing it.
It’s been a year. I’m into full-time journalism and have married Iniya. I started making enough money to take care of us for a month and sufficient enough to handle a few projects. To get me going with a full swing in my passion and to take care of my health, she compelled me for marriage and supporting me ever since.
We are in our new home (rented). While returning home, I often see my opposite house kid, staring at me at the gate with a basketball in hand. He should barely be 7 or 8 years old. One day out of curiosity, I headed towards him and asked: “What are you looking at young man?”.
The kid said “you look happy all day from work. I just wanted to ask how?”
I: (with a confused look) why do wanna ask that?
Kid: once my teacher answered “whoever seems to return home with a happy face are the people who enjoy their life, and can live their fullest. Those types of people will be happy in their life” for the question “What kind of people will be happy in their work?”
I: oh! So, you wanna be happy?
Kid: will I be happy when I become like you?
I: you’ll be happy only when you become yourself.
Kid: I’m already myself
I: I mean, when you find what you like most, you become yourself.
Kid: I like basketball the most.
Kid: because I love to play, and the players in the T.V looks tall and well built
I: do you like playing the most? Or wanna look like them the most?
I: ok. If you don’t end up like them as tall and well built, would you still love to play?
Kid: because I love playing.
I: then you’ll sure be happy in the future.
Kid: by becoming a basketball player?
I: yes, little champ.
With a smiling face, the kid thanked me and went inside shouting “Mommy, I’ll be a basketball player”
When I turned to my house, Iniya was standing there holding the gate. There was a smile on both of our faces. I recollected the kid’s talk and laughed for a second. All because of this iron woman standing in front. For that, I had and said the only word. That’s “Thank you”
P.S: Happy Women’s Day.