Moonlighting, an eventuality?

On a lighter note, moonlighting simply showcases the access capacity of a knowledge worker. 

I just googled “Moonlighting” and I got the following:

Moonlighter is “one who takes a second job after hours” (1954), from the notion of working by the light of the moon. 

Moonlighting in which case is more of a side gig done to make the ends meet.

Just imagine a factory worker in the 1860s attempting to moonlight what he/she did after the 12-hour grueling workday was no one’s business. But how would you even moonlight without the tools and assets? Machinery was centralized, thanks to steam engines operating near big rivers. Steam power couldn’t be distributed efficiently. 

Electrical power overcame that barrier in the early 20th century. 

About a decade back when I was working as a maintenance engineer, I remember that a few of the lathe operators worked on their side gigs after their 8-hour shifts. Sridhar had his own lathe machine installed at his home. He had the skills and access capacity as an individual. He simply used them to make more money. 

In the 90s, the internet started gaining traction. Knowledge work started concentrating on office spaces. Companies could afford computers and the internet. Individuals could not. 

In the 2010s internet reached the masses. It could be distributed worldwide thanks to undersea cables and the mobile data revolution.  

You see, the distribution of utilities (Electricity, Internet, etc) has always empowered the workforce. Some humans love to maximize their potential and utilize their capacity, it is their nature or compulsion to make the ends meet. 

It will be interesting to see how the organizations and legal framework put a tap on this.

In the meanwhile, TCS (a Large IT company) has taken a different stance. Here is what they say:

“Moonlighting we believe is an ethical issue and it’s against our TCS core values and culture in general. I’m not talking about the IT industry as a whole, I’m talking about the TCS perspective. We have been communicating this to employees,” 

What couldn’t be controlled by legal means, could be always managed with ethics and values. This is an old trick but works wonders. 

How? just have a look at how religions work. 

What do you think?


There is a part in the marathon where you walk

This was me in my first half-marathon in June 2022. Though I am smiling in the pic, that’s because runners care more about their appearance in the marathons. They pay for the pics.

Under that smile, there is a slight disappointment. I could have done a little better but never mind, it was my first. And given my habit to derive some wisdom from setbacks, I started reflecting on the outcome. That’s me, can’t help it. 

A couple of weeks back I read somewhere that there is a part in the marathon where you walk. Not a universal truth, but in hindsight, it makes sense. 

It was 26th June, and at around 12km, I became aware of the fact that this is not going as planned. Thanks to humidity and the hills. My wife with whom I prepared for the marathon had already taken a 1km lead. 

Things started getting tough after 15km. The 17-19km stretch was a 300m elevation. I had to walk. Even if my brain was pushing me to run, I could hear my heartbeat thumping in my ears. 170bpm, on the watch. I could see other runners walking too. 

When you complete 80% of the distance, the runners around you are very much like you in terms of fitness and willpower. The whole cluster around you behaves exactly like you. Maybe it is their first, they are uncertain, walking seems inappropriate when you have actually signed-up for running!!

It is funny because, at such moments, quotes like “ You are the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with” become more relevant than ever. Except in this situation, it was not by choice. 

Anyway, life is like a marathon. There will be a stretch where you have to walk. Sprints will burn you out. If you don’t walk, you might not survive and achieve your long-term goals. Walking might seem inappropriate but have you walk. 

Just take it slow on the elevations, save your energy and do your best when the road gets better. 

When I met my wife at the finish line, I asked her whether she walked that stretch, and she replied “Yes, I had to” it was crazy! Everyone was walking!


Who is a bad manager?

Do employees really leave because of bad managers?

Who qualifies as a bad manager in that case?

We tend to overuse the word “bad” here because we simply fall short of defining the inadequacies of a manager.

The word “bad” always has a negative connotation to it. Most employees attack the personality of a manager because that is easier. 

People often link the following attributes to a “Bad Manager”.

Takes credit for your work
Doesn’t empathize with you

The list goes on. Just notice one thing, these are all personality attributes that were made popular by TV shows like The Office, Dilbert comics, and Television Ads. 

But how come no one talks about managerial incompetence? Because that is boring. You can weave stories around “bad” managers but stories around incompetence don’t sell so well. 

There is a better word for “Bad” and that is inadequate managers. Following is the list of incompetencies.

Limited ability to plan
Limited ability to offer a constructive and situational feedback
Limited ability to develop subordinates
Limited ability to foster inclusivity 
Limited ability to influence 
Limited ability to listen

The list goes on. All the inadequacies impact the subordinate’s experience at work. 

Employees leave because of inadequate managers. And partly the reason is organizational inability to invest in grooming the managers who are inadequate. 

What do you think?


CTC Vs CTY (Cost to you)

When an organization offers you any position, they primarily pay you to be “organized”. 

You might not take into account the hidden costs of getting “Organised”.

It starts with waking up. Sounds simple, but trust me this is so difficult for some people who are always “running late”.

Collaboration comes at a price depending on the type of team and culture you are working in. You have to adapt, adjust, listen, respond in a certain manner. It takes energy. 

Difficult people consume more energy.

An open workspace might be more distracting for some. The commute and distance matter more than ever. 

The communication intensity and frequency matter. How many emails you might have to write/ respond to on average to get a task done. 

Needless to mention the several compromises that you have to make on your career, core values, and overall wellbeing. 

These are all the intangibles that contribute to the break-up of your (Cost to you) CTY.

When your CTC < CTY, that’s where difficult questions haunt you.

Unfortunately, there is no right way to objectively measure the CTY. And there is no good way to estimate it before you join any job. 

People are not alarmed as long as CTC > CTY.

Once the equation changes, the countdown begins.

How long until your “body says no” is just a matter of time. 

This is where career transitions happen. 

This is where sabbaticals happen. 

This is when we start reviewing our purpose and beliefs. The only difference is that some do it just in time, some take forever, and many reach a point of no return. 🙂

Your expectations are your own creations

Most of the expectations that you live up to are your own creations.

You have a choice to be easy on yourself or stretch when the situation demands.

People only witness the outcome, they don’t have an access to the expectations that you keep in your mind.

You get in trouble when you label your own creations (expectations) as “what people expect from you”.

You eventually take your own freedom. Build a cage and lock yourself in that.

People in general, don’t expect anything from you. You may fail, succeed, get lazy, quit, make money, lose weight no one really cares. 

So get a little creative around your expectations, set them right. Whatever suits you. This concept applies to careers as well.

Where to begin your career? Start with a tool

Just after I graduated,  I got a call for interview from Funskool, a toy manufacturer. 

I went for the interview and the interviewer asked me, do you know AutoCAD? 

I said I do know the basics but I can learn. This was a textbook interview answer. I was not very confident around it, the interviewer could sense it.

The interviewer told me you should know this design tool, it is very important. 

I never heard back from them again.

I was not taught all this at the engineering school. Maybe a workshop or two focussed on the use of various tools. The 4 year rigorous course was more about advanced mechanics, dynamics of machinery, thermodynamics etc. All the high end things that I never ended-up applying. After I graduated, I struggled for a job. 

A few years later, I was studying business. B-schools are all about jargons and frameworks. In the two years I never studied any tool as such. Yes, business is an acumen. You learn the language and skills and all the knowledge that enables you to become a generalist. But you never learn a tool except excel and powerpoint. 

Without a tool, the odds are against you. In the interviews you show your knowledge and personality. Thankfully MBA is more personality than actual skills. It is more about interpersonal skills and influencing and knowledge. I used all this and ended-up getting a job.

But years later I realised you are just going to depend on your personality then you will be always vulnerable. Sometimes the situations around you will not enable you to be yourself. 

In that case, you need a tool or a framework that you master.

If you master a tool, you will be objectively better than your competition. Later on you can use personality to grow in your career but start with a tool.

The three crucial competencies (pick any two)

These days everyone wishes to retire early. People in their 20s wish to retire in their 30s and people who are in their 30s wish to retire in their 40s.

Here are some of the common approaches that are all over the internet:

1. Generate passive income somehow through a side hustle
2. Invest consciously in risky instruments and keep on doing so till the returns match your expected income
3. Create content and monetize it
4. Create courses and sell them
5. Coach/ develop others
6. Influencing/ endorse products

How this is possible?

1. Internet: it allows you to act as an individual unit and connect with millions 
2. Platforms: LinkedIn, Instagram, WhatsApp, Zoom, YouTube
3. Tech: Mobile, Laptops, Accessories 

How people in their 20s wish to retire in their 30s?

1. Create kickass content that goes viral
2. Invest in Bitcoin (or other risky instruments) and hope that Cryptocurrency rules the world in their 30s
3. Create organizations, processes, and systems that disrupt

How people in their 30s wish to retire in their 40s?

1. Use the skills they developed in their 20s and teach-back/coach
2. Invest in equity/SIP/small case(or relatively less risky instruments)
3. Build businesses that offer sustainable returns in the 40s
4. Invest in disruptive businesses (eg Tesla)

What people in their 20s might lack?

Focus/attention span, the value of perseverance, and patience

What people in their 30s might lack?

Exponential Mindset

Two broad themes emerge here:

1. Create/curate content and distribute it to the masses
2. Channelize your funds towards businesses/technologies that are promising 
(Pick one)

Three competencies that will make you win at this age:

1. Learning agility 
2. Financial Acumen
3. Creativity
(Pick any two)

Leave comments. 🙂


The other side of COVID

Until early last year, Everest Kanto Cylinders was an obscure small company manufacturing seamless steel cylinders to store oxygen, nitrogen etc.

Today, the share price of Everest Kanto Cylinders company surged by almost 20% 

1 year returns? Over 800%

You don’t need to be a scientist to figure out why this magic happened

Thanks to surging COVID cases 

Last week as I was enquiring for life insurance policies for me and my wife, I was told that Insurance premiums are bound to rise steeply. This was owing to steep rise in claim settlements.

It is interesting to see how the economy is accommodating the impending onslaught of COVID or similar events in the years to come

There are rumours that Zomato (a food delivery company) will be a $50 billion company in next 5 years

The organised restaurant chains would grow multifold

#Zoom Video Communications Inc is almost a 100 billion dollar organisation today

Last year around this time Zoom was worth $20 billion 

Am I trying to show you the positive side?

Not really

I am trying to appreciate the velocity at which world is trying to adapt and move on

Had it been 1921, it would have taken decades altogether to fight COVID-19

Let us hope for the best 🙂

Bernie Sanders Vs Entrepreuners

“We are at a time in #American history where two guys, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, own more wealth than the bottom 40% of the population of this country. That level of greed and inequality is not only immoral. It is unsustainable,”

This is how Bernie Sanders expressed his annoyance on Twitter.

Well, that logic is slightly flawed, here is why

Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk hold huge amounts of stocks in their respective companies

Amazon was not profitable for more than a decade since its inception

Only in 2020, #Tesla reported a net income for the first time

This implies a significant amount of Bezos’ and Musk’s wealth is locked in the overpriced stocks of their respective organizations

For instance, Bezos owns 10% of #Amazon

Amazon is worth 1.5 trillion dollars

Who else owns these stocks?

Mostly the citizens of the USA.

These people have parked their hopes in these stocks. And since 50% of Americans hold stocks, you get the idea where the disparity in wealth comes from.

It comes from the “collective #greed” of millions of people

hence, it is not correct to hold #entrepreneurs accountable for wealth inequality 

I wish I could explain the Indian scenario with the same logic 🙂

What is the future of Theatre Chains?

I had to kill two hours before meeting someone.

I headed to a nearby mall, watching a movie was the best option.

I enquired at the #Inox ticket counter. There was just one option Wonder Woman 1984.

It was a weekday.

Bought a ticket for 99 Rs and selected the gold seat; a recliner at the very back. Back in the pre-#Covid days, this recliner was a luxury. 

Sir, if you add 40 Rs we offer Popcorn.

I declined. Popcorn in a theatre was gold too, back in the days.

Anyway, they checked my temperature and let me in. One of them asked me to download Arogya Setu if I haven’t done so.

A few minutes later, I was on the recliner.

There were only two other people in the theatre.

One guy was seated on the extreme left, the other on my extreme right.

Gal Gadot was spectacular but the movie was a disappointment. I had 0 expectations.

I tried to get some sleep on the recliner. I wish it had a massager too.

When I woke up, I lost the track of the plot.

Well, there was no plot, to begin with.

I stood up and stretched, wore my shoes, and left the facility.

I wondered how these theatre chains even break even in such times.

Still, they are running the show.

Hope? Or irrational optimism?

A long and painful wait till things turn around?