Thursday, August 19, 2010


Starting with my Reiki initiation years back, I tried to pay attention to the order of things around me. I realized that if I was starting something good or wholesome, somehow the things ran smoother, the doors opened easier. On the contrary, if what I'm doing wasn't eventually good for myself of for the others hurdles, delays and hindrances would start to pop up.

I would know that simple, tried and tested actions are good for me or not. It's common sense to know that lying, back-stabbing and gossiping will eventually hurt me or someone else. But how about starting something entirely new? There was a time that I was completely exhausted by my corporate work and decided to start up my own consulting company. In a country where bureaucracy is famously complicated, things ran thunder speed and I received so much help from people around me. Even before I had time to worry whether I was doing the right thing, the company was established and clients were coming in. It was impossible to predict how well I would do before I started, but the signs gave me the encouragement that I was doing something right.

Since I came to Dubai about 6 weeks ago, things have been going very slow. Things get lost, key people leave on 3-week vacations, papers don't get signed, you name it. At some point I was drained and wanted to feel bad and sorry for myself. I wanted to whine and bitch and point fingers. I couldn't... Because it was almost funny how things completely outside of my control were going wrong as much as they could. 

Then I started thinking; for the last few months I was seeking signs where I should be. Dubai felt right in some ways and horribly wrong in others. The signs were not really clear before I landed here. But recently they were as loud as a Metallica concert and I was still not getting it. I kept pushing and pushing with not much luck. So was I really not meant to be here, was there another place and another plan for me? I felt relieved to reach this understanding and shared it with a few friends. They had a totally different perspective. They thought they were the challenges  sprinkled along the way to demonstrate my persistence to stay here and to teach yoga. They added that far from being some divine signs, the delays I was experiencing were related to the usual slowness of Dubai summers. They said that if  I quit now and leave Dubai, I would have never really given myself the full chance, that I would have given up just before the crack of dawn.

When it comes to viewpoints, there is no absolute right or wrong. There's only what's right for me. I don't know what's right for me so it's confusing. I've been a quitter at the first sign of resistance for most of my life, so really what I'm going through can be a “test” of how much patience and perseverance I've accumulated. Or it can be a reminder that I need to be kinder to myself, not push for things that feel abrasive and  wrong for me.

Deep down, I still don't know where I want to be now and what I want to do, so I keep seeking external signs. I had the slightest hope that putting all that down in writing would help me organize my thoughts and lead somewhere. It didn't really work this time.

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Monday, August 09, 2010

corporate "security"

If you ever worked in an international corporation, or known anyone who worked/works there, you would know that it comes with a shiny bunch of perks other than salary. Depending on the location and the industry, the benefits can be anything like shuttle buses, valet car parking, all-day free drinks, paying full tuition fees of your kids, dry cleaner on the premises and 24 hour emergency hot line. Plus you get discounts on many things because your corporation has deals with other corporations. The bigger the corporation gets, the more the benefits are. It takes care of you in so many ways, almost like family. Yet again, the  bigger the corporation gets, the more it resembles an over-protective mother. It handles everything for you but once you call quits to your cubicle, you are like a fish out of the water. You need to pay the tuition for your own kids, make your own travel arrangements, buy your own mobile, take your car to the service by yourself, etc etc... It can become quite overwhelming. For years you lean your back against a solid wall and now you need to stand up on your own two feet.

I've read quite a few theories about this. Some say that corporations offer these perks to attract the best talent in the market. I'm not sure if really talented people are attracted by dry cleaning services.

Some say these are benefits to ensure that you dedicate all your time and energy on your work. When your attention is not interrupted by when you need to change your winter tires, you can be be more productive in your work. Maybe; then again that makes me wonder how resourceful you can be when all you think and do is predefined by a single-page job description.

Some say that by taking care of all your needs, the corporations actually take away your self-reliance. Spending 12 hours in an office for your office work and have other people take care of your “actual” life can eventually be quite addictive. Once your are used to the illusionary ease of having things done for you, it's difficult to get your hands dirty and do your own things.

At some point, you may start hating your job or your boss. Yet you start working even harder and look more dedicated. You don't know what else you can do if someone notices that you dislike your boss and you're fired. As the hate grows, the mask thickens to cover it up. This is a deep dissonance, which creates an even deeper frustration.

It feels easier to get used to a negative environment as compared to stepping out and taking responsibility for your own life – relying on your own capabilities. At the end of the day, when you look around which one do you see more? Corporate slaves with grayish faces, complaining all the time about their work yet boasting about their 5-star tropics holiday last summer, or content people who are firmly on their own feet, not dependent on some other source to take care of them for all their neediness? Come to think of it, who actually needs valet-parking, unlimited free coke, discounts at car rental and 12 different lunch menus?
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