Monday, May 21, 2007

Work Life Balance in the IT World

The topic of achieving a work-life balance is so close to each one’s heart and I am sure everyone would have an opinion on whether current work circumstances allow us to achieve the same in the IT World. I have captured some of the possible theories of the as-is and the desired to-be work life balance situations...

Work-Life balance in the ideal world
Theory 1: The Work – Life Balance

  • 06:00: Wake Up, Brush, Take Bath, Shave etc.
  • 06:30: Update yourself on GK and current affairs with “The Hindu”
  • 06:45: Idly / Dosa / Vada + Sambhar / Chutney cooked by mom
  • 07:00: Travel at 80 kmph to office on your super-bike or fashionable car
  • 07:30: Settle down in place with a cup of “Coffee Day” coffee
  • 07:45: Finish off all previous day mails
  • 09:30: Greet people coming in with a huge grin indicating that you have finished off most of the work in a quiet environment while they are just coming in!
  • 12:30: Hog to glory in the canteen / Dhaba next to office
  • 13:15: Chat about non-work related topics with colleagues
  • 13:30: Back to work
  • 16:30: Travel back at 60 kmph (till Madhya Kailash) & 30 kmph (till home)
  • 17:15: Go to gym to show off those biceps
  • 18:00: The second bath of the day to freshen up
  • 18:30: Time to spend with family, friends, kids, grandpas, grandmas, etc. + Watch Tamil Serials + Eat Light food + Browse the net / computer games / read the latest Harry Potter => Basically have a good time
  • 23:00: Sleep like a good kid after your prayers for the night
  • Weekends: Go for a short trip / Play games / Go to the movies / shopping / restaurants etc.

The real world offshore – Faced by thousands
Theory 2: The Work – Wife Balance

  • 07:45: Wake up; Brush & take bath if possible and if in mood to do so; Make sure your wife does not find out that you didn’t do either
  • 08:15: Run, run, run till you are just able to shout to the driver to stop the bus
  • 09:15: Stand at the end of the breakfast queue at canteen in a sweaty shirt
  • 09:45: Stare at your angry boss as you enter your place
  • 10:30: Get reminded by wife about dinner outside at night
  • 13:00: Go for lunch at canteen if you have the time, else settle for a bite at the pantry
  • 13:30: Back to more mails and stares from boss and module leaders
  • 14:30: Get reminded by wife about kid indulging in some pranks in school and hence the need to attend the PTA meet this time
  • 17:30: Team meeting where boss says that nothing in the project is going right
  • 18:15: Call with onsite to check out what is the problem (they are the more informed of the people around)
  • 19:25: Run for the bus only to realize that the clock at the security gate seems to be showing a different time today, so you just missed your bus
  • 19:28: Crib to wife about how the bus guy was really mean to you; Hear a bang of the phone on the other end
  • 19:30: Go back to your place since your next bus is only at 20:15
  • 19:35: Pick up the phone to get more requests from onsite
  • 21:00: Finally take the bus back home
  • 21:50: Reach home after a combination of bus + walk + auto
  • 21:55: Listen from your wife on how you had ditched her for dinner
  • 22:30: Settle in to have a cold dinner at home
  • 23:00: Watch TV
  • 23:02: Sleep off with TV and lights on
  • Weekends: Same as weekdays; If the project has good times, then you can hope to sleep a lot of the time if you don’t have to go shopping with your wife.

(Disclaimer: This is applicable to husbands as well for the ladies, just used “wife” for rhyming purposes, so the ladies please excuse)

The real world onsite
Theory 3: The Fork – Knife Balance

  • 07:15: Wake up after the tenth alarm
  • 07:20: Brush, take bath, shave etc. in the biting cold cursing all the while that you don’t have an option to not do these at onsite
  • 07:50: Make your own badly done breakfast with just two options – bread or cornflakes; Practice eating it with a fork and a knife
  • 08:00: Catch a tram + a train + a bus to finally arrive at the workplace
  • 08:30: Stare at the same three faces in office
  • 10:30: Pester the client(s) for a meeting or a project
  • 13:00: Lunch with the client where you have to eat even a chapathi with a fork and knife
  • 14:00: Run around for the nth registration form and the mth office in which you have to reinforce that you are not a native of the particular country
  • 15:00: Settle back in office to maybe talk to offshore
  • 18:00: Finish up all calls, mails and chats with India
  • 18:45: Buy vegetables and other groceries on the way back home.
  • 19:30: Reach home after a combination of the three modes of transport.
  • 19:45: Start the long cooking phenomena
  • 20:45: After multiple design, construction and testing cycles, settle for a rice that is half-cooked, a sambhar that has a vague taste of the sambhar powder and a vegetable that may be a bit too deep fried
  • 21:30: Finish off the food by watching the only English channel on TV, CNN
  • 21:45: Settle down to see what you need to get / buy / finish for the next day both on personal and work fronts
  • 22:45: Iron out a pant and a shirt for the next day; After multiple attempts when ironing one side spoils the other, realize that you can’t do any better and stop for the night
  • 23:30: Crash on your bed
  • Weekends
    : Sleep till evening and catch up with everyone online after that;
    Sunday: Do the laundry including washing, drying and ironing

I am sure a lot of different people would have even more thoughts on the same. Do post your thoughts in the comments section...


Dhananjay said...

Dude, tell me where did the kids come in from. I Know you are on fast track, but on this as well comes as a surprise.
Honestly, I always find it easier to have a work life balance when onsite. I have more time to do things I enjoy like reading. Only drawback: You interact with friends only on chat.
Cooking is no longer an issue, as I can safely say that I am an accomplished cook by now.
So when is madam joining you?

Jeeves said...

madam has already joined me... and this is a very generic piece of writing and need not be applicable to me!...

Dhananjay said...

Dude if madhu is already there what are you cribbing about?
Anyways how are things in Zurich?

Jeeves said...

madam came much after i originally wrote this :-)

Monsieur K said...

where does blogging figure into the work-life balance? ;-)
feels good to read your posts. enjoyed reading them thoroughly, especially the one on cricketers :)
look forward to reading more n more of your stuff!

Amit Gokhale said...

Dude.. Gokhale here... I follow the option no.1 listed.. and it truly rocks !!!!!!!... cheers..

Jeeves said...

belated thanks ketan!!! and gokhale in a newly married world option 1 works but soon it will shift wowards option 2!!!

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