Thursday, May 29, 2008

One Long Rambling Post

In the few blogposts that I have written previously, most of the time, I have written the title beforehand and then changed it, after completing the post. I don't intend to do that this time.

I indulge in a lot of self-analysis and self-criticism. I like to think that I know very well, my character strengths and deficiencies. There are several "deficiencies" I am secretly proud of. For instance, every 6 months, in my job, I get an evaluation of my strengths, weaknesses and development plan. The latest one says (in the weakness areas):

1. Improve slide-writing skills
2. Improve ability to estimate time required for different activities
3. Be proactive in reaching out to superiors in case, deliverables are not clear
4. Make well-structured spreadsheets that are user-friendly

Now, 1, 3 and 4, I am secretly proud of, and don't intend to change as long as they don't become career-threatening. I personally don't believe in spending inordinate time in making good-looking slides and excels for the benefit of others as long as I know the answer, others be damned. Also, as for 2, I believe in giving myself impossible timelines so that I can make a simple task appear challenging, which might then make it more exciting to me. As for 2, I really hate admitting that I can't get something done and therefore delay going to people as long as I can manage. And am proud of that for my independence.

The above was just an example. In personal life too, I have received feedback around several facets of my character. I don't worry about most of them too much. However, there is something that has and continues to rankle me a lot.

It is that I am very self-involved. Now, this is something I am not at all proud of. Several friends who have known me closely for a long period of time have told me that. My parents have told me that. No, I am not joking. I first came to realise it, when a few years back, my mother complaining over the phone about the fact that I never called her up, said "Beta, tu bada nirmohi hai". At that time, I laughed it off, but to tell you the truth, this statement has come back to me several times.

In 8 odd years when I have been away, I never felt the need to call my parents up, unless I needed something. It is not as if I have something against them. My parents and I have a good understanding and a friendly relationship. We banter and we quarrel and behave like a normal small family (on a side note - now that both my elder sisters are married, I am equal party in all the decisions that are made in the family and since my parents generally end up disagreeing, my vote decides the matter). But I don't ever feel like talking to them - I mean, the thought never comes to my head.

The same goes for my sisters. I don't call them up, I find talking to them a bore. Similarly, I am not in touch with my friends through any of my own efforts. I scrap only when scrapped, and even then, sometimes, not.

I have had strong friendships and my share of personal relationships. When I am with people, I am passionate, worried, happy about/for them. But when I am away, there is no internal voice that tells me to be in touch, talk to someone and want to know what is going in his/her life.

Earlier I would imagine that it was all about finding the right person, and then you would learn to care, and be with that person. But I have realised that it doesn't hold true for me.

Now this worries me, and not a little bit. If I am so insular, what is going to happen to me. Relationships are quid pro quo and without my quid, I won't get any quo. But despite the worry, I can't bring myself to care for people. I mean, I love helping out people. I have the habit of taking people under my tutelage, making them my projects, mentoring them and seeing that they achieve the best. But do I really care for them, I don't think so. Even if those guys were replaced by someone else, it'd be the same.

Therefore, the question is, if one is a self-involved bastard and knows it and wants to change it, but can't bring himself to do something that doesn't come naturally to him, what would one do. Frankly, I don't know.

A few days back, one of my superiors was telling me the benefits of being an "insecure overachiever". I agreed with him, and got what he was talking about. It is "only the paranoid survive" theme. I used to be (and guess still am) insecure, and I don't take too much happiness in whatever I achieve/win. But in the last couple of years, there were several times when I took steps to chill out, you know, enjoy the journey, not the destination etc., but somewhere down the line, I realised that was not me. And I got back to being an insecure fighter.

I mean, I know (even though I hope against it) that I have modest skills and will need to go out of my skin to becoming anything of consequence, and pinning my hopes of happiness on success rather than personal life is a strategy that will fail, I can't bring myself to change. It's almost pathological.

Well, that's my rant. And I take some satisfaction from the fact that I have managed to maintain the title as it is.