Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Do the job you love & you won't have to work a day in your life! *NOT TRUE*

Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.
Just the other day, the family got together and a distant relative said, “You work for yourself? Must be nice...” My cousin, munching on some cheeda (south Indian snack), immediately butted in “No boss, no schedule and no office.. Waah, what a life”
It was not the first time I have heard this. I have had people from all walks of life telling me something on those lines, just 10 minutes into meeting them. They either think that  
(a) I generally sell my services for close to free or
(b) I am living life to the fullest because I am exactly that, free.
Almost everyone feels that the freelance / entrepreneur life is bliss.
Okay, I shall let you in on a secret. The hustle is on everyday & I am busier than I was when I was employed!
The basic principle of freelance is built on the idea of having more time to do what you love. I took this call to have the freedom to work from home, to be free from spending 4 hours commuting in Mumbai, to be free from trappings of a workplace / job, to be free to do work on my terms.
The core idea is to strike (the mythical) work-life balance. I do not have to build my life around a corporate work schedule and have complete control over my work & personal time.
Yes, I put a tick mark against all those. Yet, a good part of my day is spent on developing more work & filling in that empty calendar.

You see, being a freelancer has its own Pros & Cons. To make you understand this in a better fashion, let me list a few “TRUTHS”
  1. WEARER OF MANY HATS : You are Batman. No, not really. Just like him though, you are a one man army. I need to become the owner, business development lead, strategist, marketeer, troubleshooter, finance guy (No one's gonna help you make those invoices & you gotta file your own taxes!!) and a bunch of other roles. It is a heady mix. Apart from the learning curve involved, a lot of these tasks are transactional & administrative in nature. They take away a lot of your time and don't make you money!
  2. Drive: I am not talking about long drives on weekend. One needs to have a strong drive to make things happen. Many times, I feel that it is less about skill and more about drive that will put you on the map. This is not to say that one does not need skills. You do, as much as any average corporate employee. But, what will set you apart is the drive, the ambition, the hunger to make it to top.In doing many things to achieve success / get paid enough, one may find it difficult to maintain the hunger. It is important to not not succumb to these temporary setbacks and keep working.
3. Managing Finances: Cash flow is important. For anyone who draws an assured paycheck at the end of every month, the worry about finances is considerably lesser. All of us have bills & EMIs to pay, we need to put food on the table and also have enough to enjoy life.
As a freelancer, money comes in when there is enough work. So, making a budget becomes extremely crucial. Some clients pay weekly, monthly or even quarterly. So, the budgeting needs to be done all the time to ensure that you are not walking a tightrope.
4.FINDING WORK / CLIENTS: As an employee, one does not need to worry about finding work. As a freelancer, the No 1 nightmare is finding a continuous source of clients. Why? When you have enough client, you have enough work, and eventually, enough money!
It is imperative that you find high quality, recurring and trusted clients. In a competitive environment, there are people who would be ready to do the job at a fraction of the cost. Hence, convincing the client of your worth and getting paid accordingly is a necessity.
5. PRIORITIZING / TIME MANAGEMENT: Prioritize. It is not something that people inherently do. By default, for most of us, our tasks are in the ‘do it now’ zone. As soon as we remember that we have to do it, we jump to getting it done. There is no one to tell you what to do, no one to count your hours, and no one is checking that you are done the work. If you don’t do it, you simply won’t be paid.
I personally follow the 4Ds theory :
  • Do - Do it now
  • Decide - Schedule a time to do it
  • Delegate - Get someone to do it
  • Delete - Eliminate it
  • Practicing this takes time and planning. I am yet to master this art completely. Baby steps, the, I guess!
This is not to say that Freelancing is all about stress. While it is, initially, about making a lot of adjustments, it does become easy after a while. The important thing here is to go all in at the very beginning to figure out the highs & lows.
Freelance has offered me a great life.
  1. I have control over my time. I get to spend time with my family. Something that I sorely missed while at work. I enjoy spending afternoons with my 8 month old grow. It is a blessing to watch her grow.
  2. I have flexibility of choice. I get to chose my clients, my project and the general niche that I would like to operate in. I also get to chose my work hours. I am an early morning person. My last workplace was a place where work started at 12 Noon! Now, I begin worK at 8 in the morning.
  3. Better Lifestyle. Life, in general, gets better. You get more time relax. The commute is no more a part of your daily routine. Most importantly, I get to eat home cooked food, on time, everyday :)
  4. Break free from rituals. If you are a person who does not like the stress of living out a routine ( 8 AM train, Check in at 10 AM, etc) The whole time consuming routine to & fro from work is gone and you save a lot of money & energy in the bargain :) You do not meet the same people everyday too :)
  5. Set your own income: As a freelancer, you are not only in a position to control your income, but also increase it. Let me also be the first to tell you that earning more comes with experience. When you grow, you may start delegating work to other amateur freelancers. The options are endless.
So, Is freelancing for you?
I do not know that. In my opinion, it is just like anything else in life. You have great days and some not so great days. Sometimes you win & sometimes you let go. Some people prefer the stability & the paycheck that comes along with a steady job and people like me prefer the flexibility & lifestyle that freelancing offers!
Like I mentioned in my previous article, make a priority list, speak to your mentor / partner, consult a friend who is already a freelancer / entrepreneur and then take an informed call.
In the end, What matters is that you determine your goals and plan a way to get there, whatever that looks like.
I hope this helps all of you in a small, but meaningful way. Some of the things were not taught to me. What are the things no one told you about freelance / Entrepreneurial life?
Let me know :)

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Are you a Career Sleepwalker?

Did you wake up with a foreboding sense of deja vu? Like you've lived the exact same day over and over again? If so, you are not alone.

Before we go any further, Let me give you some perspective.

I met 2 people yesterday. The meetings were held at the same coffee shop. I ended up ordering the same things in both the meetings. Both meetings lasted for 1 hour each. The takeaways from both meeting were, however, very different. 20 mins into the 2nd meeting, I lost interest! I quickly realized that I was talking to a career sleepwalker.

Who is this, you ask? Let me tell you.

A career sleepwalker is a person who has let his / her professional career go on auto pilot mode! These are people who think, 'Life is OK. I do not like job. I am getting through the day. But hey, I get a steady paycheck!' Now, I understand that with all the burdens and commitments (Read EMIs, bills etc), it feels like it is just okay for life to take it's own course as far as there is money coming in. If there is no danger of losing the job, people feel no reason to rock the boat and let the career move on cruise control.

Having spent some time sleepwalking myself & after having spoken to many others over the years, here are some common reasons / excuses:

1) Too risky to switch jobs now

2) Fear of the unknown

3) “I do not want to start over again”

4) Loss of confidence

5) “Don’t know what to do / which career path is right for me”

6) Not skilled / educated enough

Here is what I have to say. It is okay to sleepwalk. It is okay, as far as you realise that. Because, forget the money, you could be missing out on a great career that would make you a happier person.

Gain control of your career! As LinkedIn says, it is time to make a #CareerPivot.

I know that all this is easier said than done. So, I am going to my bit by telling you about how I overcame this and made a successful #CareerPivot!

1) Know the signs: If you find yourself asking the question - “If there more to it than this?” everyday, then there is indeed more to it than you are doing! When you start thinking about this more often than tending to your daily task list, you know it. If you are restless at work, you know it. If you think of a vacation everyday, sitting on your work desk, you know it.

2) Make a check list: Making a simple checklist is probably the biggest and significant step in acknowledging the state of mind. The checklist could include your strengths (that could convert to a career path), interests and look for opportunities accordingly. If you like your current job, but have stopped learning / growing, maybe, look for alternatives / ways to make things happen & not wait for your appraisal to come around! A checklist is like a routine check-up that will put a lot of things in perspective.

3) Research: Once you have something to shoe in the interest / strength column, it is easy to look ahead. Do some research online or get a friend / family to help you with it. Ask around. This could be a good reality check before venturing into the unknown. Aspects like, what designation, salary expectations & job expectations could become very clear and help you make an informed decision.

4) Look for a mentor: Now, this could be a person within or outside of the organisation. An insider could help open a few doors for you, whereas, an outsider, could help you with a broader picture / perspective and help you get ready. Reach out to people & be truthful about your state of mind. It always helps in calming yourself & getting better and quicker solutions.

5) Give that hobby a spin: If you have a hobby / skill that you have been honing for a while and you feel that it has the potential to become a sustainable business, give it a shot at nghts / on weekends. Give your hobby sometime. It helps in de-stressing you and also figuring out if this can become a way of life.

6) Become a part of networking groups:These groups would help you in broadening your network and thinking. A leadership group would push you to think in a way that you haven't thought because you are too stressed with your current role. Surrounding oneself with motivated individuals will certainly help you grow.

7) READ: I cannot stress this point enough. This might not help you in getting a job, but will certainly help you in motivating yourself in figuring out ways to keep climbing that corporate ladder.

It took me almost 8 years to make a #CareerPivot. I too, like many out there, was running on the treadmill with my career going nowhere. With the help of my family and a few motivated friends, I was able to get out of the rut and make a bold move. Yes, I made a couple of mistakes along the way. It is bound to happen, though. Just take the small step in acknowledging that you are sleepwalking and try and move to the next step in a week. I am sure you will find success.

Take steps to stay active in your career, so that you are happy everyday in the work that you do. #YOLO could be a popular hashtag, but that does not mean you can have only one career. Make that move. Life will be better!

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Terminator Genisys (2015) Movie Review: We get it, the machines (who wrote the film) have won!!

Terminator Genisys Poster 2

Sample this: Terminator 2 (Judgement day), till date,is the only sequel to win an Academy award when the previous movie was not even nominated!
You have this movie & then you have Terminator Genisys  (2015)…The Terminator promised us 24 years back that “I’ll be back”. Without venturing into the 2003 & 2009 trainwrecks, he is, inevitabily back. He stumbles back from the mess of the previous “sequels”& tries to salvage another trainwreck. Does he manage to do it?Well, not really.
Here is how the story goes. At least I think so…

After three decades of movies (and The chronicles of Sarah Connor TV series), the franchise is simply a confusing and convoluting mess of timelines. After  (yet another) assault on a Skynet facility by Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) and his friend / Son,  John Connor (Jason Clarke), someone must travel back in time to 1984 to save John’s mother, Sarah Connor (Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke / Khalisee), from a Terminator. So far,so yawnworthy. However, this time Sarah Connor isn’t a waitress carrying humanity’s savior in her womb. This time she’s been living with a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who was sent back even earlier to protect her from anotherT-800 (also Arnold Schwarzenegger)—one who had been sent to kill her exactly at the point Reese travels back to in the Genisys timeline.
Confused?? Don’t be, It doesn’t matter. The plot of every Terminator sequel has been absurd. And that’s because the plot of The Terminator itself (the future comes to the past to change the future, but that means the past is changed, so the future is changed??) was absurd. All this culminates in Terminator Genisys, which erases the scars of the last two movies and fundamentally retells the first.  It relies on time travel and computer technology to explain how people (or machines) could know things they don’t know how they know, but not know other things that the movie doesn’t want to bother explaining. Terminator Genisys is a plotless, aimless, meandering, unclear, unpleasant mess. While I have tried to put together somewhat of a plot-line above, I do not really any clue what objectives the characters (even the villain) are pursuing, how they are pursuing them, or what will happen (or not) if they fail.
The sequel that comes closest to this movie is Dabangg 2. Not kidding!! Just Like Arbaaz Khan replicated the template of the original, here Alan Taylor recreates Cameron’s style of filmmaking. This is the most risk-averse sequel ever made (well,just forget Transformers for a moment). You have pretty much the same story-line,an old Arnie pretty much doing & saying the same things that he has done in the previous installments.
Coming to the rest of the cast, the fans of the franchise are pretty much going to be unhappy with everyone. The current crop who get to play Sarah, John & Kyle are no match to the people who played them in the past.Fans of Game of thrones would walk in expecting Khalisee to kick ass, but all you get is a middling, baby- faced Sarah connor who is… I do not know. I just could not accept watching her as Sarah Connor. Linda Hamilton, you spoilt us.
Kyle Reese, played by Jai Courtney , is mildly irritating,largely boring. The fact that you remember him from the super bad Die Hard movie does not work either. He plays Kyle Reese in the MOST boring fashion ever.
As the trailer has already made us realize that John Connor is no more the savior of humanity, the twist does not come off as an “oh-my-god”moment. Well, he gets to say the same things about going back in time and then gets his own 15 seconds of CGI fame. That is that. No more.
At this point,I cannot even get started about how bad the rest of the cardboard (characters) are. They just make up for the numbers. The machines at least look better.The rest of the cast is just a waste. There is J.K.Simmons in the film as well.He gets a 3 minute part !!
Terminator Genisys Poster
One more thing that has not changed is the CGI.. It doesn’t look to have evolved much from Judgement Day. The film feels soft and phony. When the movies is full of time travel mumbo jumbo, you expect the action to be kick-ass. You cannot blame someone for expecting a terminator movie to have a few good action moments. Alas, what you get is a set of completely unimaginative, “been there-seen that”, boring action sequences to make up the time. That said, they have checked almost all boxes. You have humans hitting cyborgs, cyborgs hitting cyborgs, humans shooting at cyborgs (3 decades worth of knowledge has not made them aware that bullets are of no use!), car chase, helicopter chase,  exploding vehicles, exploding buildings etc etc..Nothing you have not seen since the evolution of cinema. Yes, we saw better action in the movie made 24 freaking years back! Arnie flipping that shotgun still looks cool.
This is the worst movie of the franchise. That is something, as we have seen some bad, bad movies so far in the same franchise!! Arnold’s Terminator keeps saying,”I’m old, not obsolete”.. Well, truth is that he is both old & obsolete.
Know what is worse??There is talk of 2 more sequels. They are under production!! Our future is indeed bleak.
#Note: This review first appeared in . You may find my reviews here -