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Warning Bells Again - The 'Security' Issue

Discussion in 'Wednesdays with Varalotti' started by varalotti, Nov 21, 2006.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Warning Bells Again – The Security Issue

    When it comes to doing what we love to do, the greatest stumbling block is the security issue. It is pretty basic. We do not want to leave the cozy security of a dull, disgusting, soul-killing <st1:time minute="51" hour="16">9 to 5</st1:time> job, simply because we want to have a basic minimum income.

    Very early in my career I had to confront this problem. I was working for a Rs. 1000 crores corporate (the turnover at that time was some Rs.200 crores) and decided to quit at the least opportune moment. I had been married only for two months when I put in my papers.


    My wife stood by me and lovingly shared with me the consequent poverty. My income dropped to 0 to start with. Then I had to take classes for CA students to augment my income. My Thalai Adi came and I had to buy a saree for my wife. I took up the job of writing accounts for a trader and finished in two days and got enough money to buy a grand saree (I still vividly remember the colour – it was black and yello). And its price was Rs.154.


    It took about a year and a half before my income stabilised.


    But had I let that moment to quit slip by, then I would have been stuck to a typical <st1:time minute="51" hour="16">9 to 5</st1:time> job. I would have been a dull man, a duller husband, who knows I might have even become a bad husband and a worse father. God saved me from all that.

    But this issue of security has always piqued me. It was only several years later that I happened to read Richard Bach’s "Running From Safety".


    The whole book addresses this fundamental issue of security, our need for and and addiction to it.


    Richard Bach was an engineer working for a gigantic Aircraft Company called the Douglas Aircrafts. The company was so large that its car park could accommodate about 3000 cars. And on any day the car park would be nearly full.

    One fine morning Richard decided to resign and try his hand at writing. During the lunch interval one day he told his close friend about his decision.
    The friend was shocked. He took Richard aside and gave him a lecture on man’s need for security.


    To clinch his arguments he told Richard, “Only when you are on the streets looking for a job having nothing to eat and no place to stay, will you understand the true meaning of the word security.

    “I know Richard you will not listen to me and you are any way going to resign. Several years later when you are passing through this factory you will really know the value of security. And when you realise that meaning throw a dime in to this building as a token of having been defeated by life. Will you?”


    Richard agreed. He resigned his job the same evening.


    And then started a life of eternal struggle. He could not make both ends meet by his writing. No one was ready to publish his first book. It can have a place in the Guinness Book of Records of having been rejected by more than 700 publishers.


    He even filed bankruptcy once. But after a while one publisher accepted his book Jonathan Livingstone Seagull. What followed that was history. It sold in millions making him one of the richest writers in the <st1:country-region><st1:place>US</st1:place></st1:country-region>.

    One afternoon he was passing the Douglas Aircraft factory. He remembered his earlier employment and the challenge of his close friend.

    He was shocked to see the factory completely deserted. The car park which used to hold 3000 cars was painfully empty. Yes, <st1:place>Douglas</st1:place> had filed for bankruptcy and was being wound up.


    Richard took out a dime from his pocket and threw into the empty factory compound, thinking to himself,


    “Friend, I now realise the true meaning of the word ‘security’. Security is something internal. Nothing external to us, like a job, Government, a huge corporation, family, nothing can give us the real security if we don’t feel secured within. By the same token nothing outside can disturb our inner security.”


    Richard Bach has understood the real meaning and significance of the word ‘security’. As technically he had lost the challenge (though not in his life) he threw a dime into the factory premises.


    (Words are not exact quotes. I am writing from my memory)


    Varalotti
    Courtesy: Richard Bach's Running From Safety

     
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  2. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Tough task...

    Dear Sridhar,

    I can understand what you are getting at. But the following are my thoughts. I know you wont take offence.
    True, security is something that every person craves for. Almost all of us must have gone through a phase of life where we have seen hardships at close quarters. Agreed, there must be some priveleged few who may not have experienced it at all. But generally speaking, we have gone through it ourselves or seen our parents/friends/relatives going through troubled times. I know that an aunt of mine managed with about six to ten saris...that was all she had. Life can be very frustrating and sad if one cannot afford even the basic necessities. At one time, my parents did not possess a car and have not attended certain weddings or functions because they were big affairs and one did not arrive there in an autorickshaw! So, no amount of talk about following one's heart's passion and desire is going to work when one is faced with such challanging survival struggles.
    Good for Bach that he realised his dreams and I am sure there are many such successful examples of people who went after their dreams and made a success of it....including yourself. But Sridhar, I am convinced that people like you are specially blessed by the God and He has taken you under His wing. I am somehow not so sure that one can give up one's safe job to follow a passion, especially when there are other dependant mouths to feed. May be I have become skeptical in my outlook, maybe my views are a bit jaded...but the world out there is very harsh and money speaks today. By holding a secure 9-5 jobs, you may not make a fortune, but you will not be clamouring for your next meal either.
    This very sweet friend of mine in Germany used to offer her spacious house for yearly festival celebration to the then small Indian community in the city. She was also quick to invite any visiting spiritual leader or musician for the entertainment of others. Ofcourse there was a nominal ticket amount as otherwise the artistes did not agree to come...can't blame them, they have to pay their travel and sustenance too. There was another friend of mine who did not attend these 'do's as she could not afford the nominal ticket amount. She also did not appreciate the other lady's gestures. She said to me that it was all well and good to be generous when one can afford it, what if one could not? I was taken aback at her acidic remark. But on giving it a bit thought, I could understand her frustration. Can one blame her? I could not.
    I know how strongly you feel about following one's dream and not worry about the security factor. I think we have discussed this aspect quite thoroughly in the other thread on the same issue. Unless and until there is atleast a small security cushion to fall back on, one simply cannot take a flight into the unknown. It's okay to do that if you are still young and have no liabilities like family to feed and clothe.
    Ofcourse I admire your courage for giving up a safe job and pursuing your wish at a critical period. My respects to Indhu for supporting you in all your endeavours. You had an inner confidence in yourself about making it. But I don't know if you would have dared that if you were living independantly in a big city paying rent for your own home and commuting the long distances etc. Maybe you would, I don't know. I only know that it is a very risky proposition.
    Security is something internal. Nothing external to us,
    The above quote sounds good alright. The 'real gifted' persons may have an inborn feeling of security because they may be sure about their talents, it gives them the self confidence. But is everyone blessed with such talents??
    Not all are blessed with an inborn talent like writing, music and fine arts or a special hunch for a particular craft.
    I may be totally wrong for thinking this way. But I am only musing and thinking aloud. Can't help!

    L, Kamla

    PS: I always enjoy reading the various references and quotes you provide as a bonus in your writings. I too may have read or heard about a person/book and manage to forget it just as fast! You refresh the memories and also prod us to inform ourselves more about those people and books. Thank you:)
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2006
  3. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you providing the balance, Kamla

    Dear Kamla,
    You have very beautifully balanced my views and have made this thread round and wholesome.

    Seeing your words I am reminded of Kahlil Gibran's who says,

    "Your reason and your passion are the rudder and sails of your seafaring soul.
    If either your sails or your rudder be broken you can but toss and drift, or else be held standstill in midseas."

    I need to confess I went a little overboard in urging people to follow one's passions. But Kamla, when people swing to one extreme, you need to go slightly overboard on the other, so that there is some change. This wanton excess on the one side has been sanctioned by our shastras as prathipaksha bhavana, or in simple English, contrary thinking.

    I admit that when I threw up my job I was living with my parents and we had our one house without any obligation to pay rent. My father, though not affluent at that time, told me that it is enough if I contribute a fixed amount to the family expenses; but I will have to take care of my own and my wife's personal expenses. This was a welcome arrangement and for the first few days in the month I would be frantically looking for work to pay the monthly amount to my father.

    But I cannot make a similar decision today when I am in my late forties. If we have persons depending on us, mouths to feed, to throw up the security blanket in the guise of following one's passions is rank irresponsibility. Throwing up the security like that would be stupidity. Agreed.

    But Kamla, subject to this overall limits of prudence I want people especially the younger ones to understand that the security in a typical 9 to 5 job is most times just illusory. I know some of my friends who were clining on to a secured job in Bank Of Madura Ltd, one of the oldest banks which had its head office in Madurai. Some of them had rare skill sets which they could have put to use without much of a risk in the open market. But they did not want to leave the security cushion. They used to say, "Nothing like extending your hands on the 30th of each month, to receive a pay packet. There are very few pleasures equal to that."

    Time went on. In 2001 ICICI Bank acquired Bank Of Madura. Their jobs lost their security edge. ICICI made it clear that their motto was perform or perish. Within 2, 3 years of the take over many of them had to come out of their 'secured' job and are now freelancing as consultants.

    And I know many of my friends who furiously clang on to their jobs in Government Banks finding that they were redundant by the new banking methods and consequently were thrown out of the system

    And you and I know very well that jobs in the IT sector are the least secure. When the economic conditions weaken they are the first to be axed.

    It is okay to look for some minimal security. But it is necessary to realise that no security is fool-proof and we may have to work on our passions, before it is too late.

    Thanks for the wonderful post, Kamla, a post which only the likes of you can produce.
    L,
    sridhar
     
  4. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    My life is a gift to me.

    Dear Sridhar,

    Security has to come from within oneself, cannot help adding, with rational arguing. One must be prepared to take full responsibility for everything, likely to come one’s way. Very often we feel, it is the first step towards being free. But we must make sure that our loved ones or our family will not have to bear the brunt of it.

    When you resigned your job, you must have had the reasoning that you were professionally well qualified & it was a matter of time till things take a turn for better. You were young enough to tell yourself that you can forge ahead and be successful. It was perhaps a matter of time.

    We must tell ourselves that we will be fully responsible whether we suffer or live happily. At times we do feel, unless we decide to do a thing, it is not going to happen. The dream, the plan, the career, the home and all the glory. All that you want, all that you cherish depends on your taking a risk. You risk to grow. Risking is not easy either. If it were, it would’nt be a risk ! A risk can be a leap or a downfall. Making up one’s mind to accept whatever comes our way in either case, arises from security within one’s mind.
    So this decision should come from the head than from the heart.

    You need to risk to find yourself, often. Your life should fulfill your needs and desires and allow you to make your mark and follow your own direction. Believe in yourself. When you lose your direction, look inside to find it again. It will always be in the same place ! You are your direction. Only you have the power to save yourself. But remember that you must take responsibility as well.

    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
  5. ambika ananth

    ambika ananth Bronze IL'ite

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    my thoughts...

    Dear Sridhar,

    Security is a feeling that you are distant from danger and death and closer to life and happiness.
    We can take the life of a circus trapeze artist for example…he performs well because he knows there is a net below to keep him safe and secure even if he falls.. In our lives too when we know that the arms of security holds us when we fall, we will not feel nervous…and
    when we feel secure, we dare to attempt big things, if not even small little things too intimidate us..
    Sridhar, your decision to leave a flourishing company is something truly amazing, but now that we know that you have done yourself really well in life, we may see that decision in bright light….as a right one. But I want to ask you one thing…will Lady Luck favour everyone with the same grace and love…???
    A <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:time Hour="16" Minute="51">9 to 5</st1:time> job can be exciting if basically one has an ‘attitude’ in life to enjoy life in the correct perspective…I know fantastic fathers and fabulous husbands who are in such jobs…

    Running from safety v/s running to safety….given a chance which option will humans choose..??

    Working on one’s passion before it is too late is a good dictum, but not by throwing one’s caution to winds…one hasty decision taken in a ‘passionate’ moment can ruin a whole lot of lives…
    To feel enslaved is heaviest of servitudes, I feel happy that you could break yourself free when you felt like….but I am truly not convinced that it may work that way for all…as Kamla said…you are blessed sir..
    Good to know that Indhu has joined the bevy of beautiful ladies in this site…does she have an individual voice or is she singing your tunes only…hahaha ??? I am eager to hear..
    Regards
    ambika

     
  6. meenaprakash

    meenaprakash Silver IL'ite

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    this one made me think deep.....

    Hello Sridhar,

    beautiful replies already & they say it all.
    how many men have such beautiful ending as yours. you've been lucky Sridhar.
    when we hear such success stories from different corners & feel good about it, there seem to be equal failures too. working on one's passion is okay but one needs to be responsible toooo. for, if their dreams doesn't realise then they shld be ready to change. instead we see a lot of them put their family and their near & dear ones to suffering & shame in their attempts to chase their passion.

    Unfortunately, in this uncertain world, we do have certain basic necessities that needs to be taken care of & any responsible & experienced & mature individual will try & weave a safety net for his family before he leaps to chase his passion. I'm sure if we look deep , we'd find a lot of examples wherein people stayed on the path of security & realised their dreams too.

    It is probably easier for a man who starts from zero to take all the risks when he fancies. If things doesn't turn out good, he is anyway back to square one. But same time we should n't forget "Big results require Big risks".

    The whole fun I think is in the journey to achieve and not in the achievement.
    To reach the goal there are many ways, like many roads to Rome.
    Not knowing the end or the future is the whole thrill we enjoy during our journey and the path we choose is based on our exposure, experiences, our capability to endure and our persistence.
    STRUGGLE IS GOOD AND NOT SUFFERING.

    Regards,

    (Your post troubled me a lot & now, I can rest and have a good night's sleep..)
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2006
  7. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Again a balacing post!

    Dear Chitra,

    You, like, Kamla, in your own way have tried to add balance to my post. Agreed that the loved ones and family should not be made to suffer. I will talk more on this in my next replies as the ladies have more vehemently argued on this.

    When I resigned my job not only I had the confidence and the qualificaitons but also two powerful factors were present

    Number one, I had nothing to lose, almost nothing to lose. I was not on a Rs.12 lakhs per year job which might have thrown me and my people out of balance. My lifestyle was then very simple and I could have lived with far less than what I do today.

    Number two, any time, I feel that the experiment was not worth it I could have gone back to work. The same company had offered to keep its doors open for me. I and my partner decided to have 6 months as a monitoring period. And join a company if within that period we could not make it in the profession.

    Risk, a concept which we cannot avoid while talking about security is a wonderful food for thought. Now that you have provoked me with your words, my next post would be on risk. I might even prefer writing a story on risk. Just wait and see.

    Thanks for advising that we should take responsible risks in life. But many a time, we would know whether our risk taking is responsible or not only in hindsight.
    regards,
    sridhar
     
  8. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    You ladies have made me think deeper!

    Dear Ambika and Meena,

    Thanks for thinking so deep on my post and in turn making me think and re-think on what I have written. Your posts along with my original thread constitute a complete article on security, risks and going after one's passion.

    Please let me have the liberty of bunching your posts for reply (and I used the recently introduced multi-quote facility; Induslady, it works well and is very convenient to me, thanks)

    Ambika, my decision to leave a flourishing company is not that amazing. And neither my success story so remarkable. I will tell you why.
    I succeeded in my venture precisely because I took all the precautions as far my security (and my family's) was concerned.
    First as the trapeze artist I saw the safety net. I was a professional with a good academic record. Hence I could have entered the industry any time. In fact my boss opted to take me in if I wanted to come again.
    When we prepare project reports for large, risky ventures we always picturise a worst-case scenario and then provide for a number of fall-back alternatives and back-up measures. I had that safety net.

    Second, my jump was not that daring. If I had decided to quit my profession to become a full time writer, then that's some thing. Incidentally I have never had the desire of becoming a full-time writer. The preface to my first book says, that we part time writers have an unfair advantage over full time writers. We can gather our materials while at work in the day and start writing in the night.

    And third I had nothing to lose. The salary was not that high. And for my simple living (at least at that time and at the price level of those days) only a minimum amount was necessary.

    And now to Ambika and Meena, as you said that not many people can have success stories like mine. And Ambika like a typical poet you have cautioned, one hasty decision taken in a ‘passionate’ moment can ruin a whole lot of lives…
    To be very frank my decision to quit though routed in passion was made to pass through the test of reason as well. Before I took the decision I filled up two sheets of paper listing in detail the pros and cons of my quitting. I spent a few hours explaining them to my wife, at that time, my brand new wife. I don't know whether she agreed to stay put because she understood all the complex reasons I advanced or because of the blind love which only a wife of two months can have for her husband.
    The fact that we were living with my parents and our daughter was not born at that time also helped matters.
    This is another quote of yours which I think I should reply
    I know fantastic fathers and fabulous husbands who are in such jobs…
    And many of them are so in spite of their 9 to 5 jobs. I know many who have failed in their careers, being stuck to a no-prospect, soul-killing 9 to 5 jobs, but they were fantastic fathers and fabulous husbands. It is quite possible because it is only out of their great love to their wives and children that they have stuck on to those jobs.
    And Meena, as you have rightly pointed out that it is okay to risk when you have nothing to lose. For even in the worst case you are back to square one. And to struggle and suffer - you have brought the difference well.

    Now two beautiful ladies, please listen to my side of the argument.

    There are many people who are literally trapped in their jobs. Their jobs are not rewarding and they drain them emotionally. Still they are in not because of security reasons - for they have amassed enough savings to lead the rest of their lives comfortably. But if they quit their "standard of living" might come down. Which will hurt them and their family.

    I will be the last person to advise people to take a rash decision to quit their jobs and make their dear ones suffer for even basic necessities. But at the same time if security means retaining the same standard of living, then no one can take any risk in his or her life.

    I dont know how women feel on this; but for a man work is an inseparable part of his personality. If he is not in a job that he loves to do, then that will not only affect him but also percolate to all this relationships - especially with his wife and children.

    I know my friend who is a CA and was working for a public sector bank. In those days only the banks paid well and he wanted a job with the maximum salary. I visited his house in Bangalore some 25 years back. He was no doubt living in style.

    But a bank work does not satify a CA but for some rare exceptions. Over the period of time he got frustrated with his job. But neither could he quit the job because his children were in college.
    He built up enough savings for his family.
    One day he simply ran out of his house. Nobody knows where he is. His family has got enough money. But he is not there.
    This is an extreme case of pent-up passions frustrated by a mundane job. By avoiding some basic financial risks we should not unconsciously expose ourselves to this kind of a risk. That is my anxiety.

    Now ladies, thanks for listening the prosaic words of Sridhar. It is time for some good poetry. I am now quoting from Kahlil Gibran


    .....

    And what is it to work with love?

    It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.

    It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.

    It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.

    .....


    Work is love made visible.

    And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.

    Thanks once again Ambika and Meena, you made me to do some honest soul searching this morning.

    regards,
    sridhar
    PS Meena, I hope my reply will not affect your sleep.
     
  9. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    No no, not that!

    Dear Sridhar,

    I am enjoying this thread. Your replies show how passionate you are about your thoughts and totally convinced. Another great quote from Gibran, nice one. Can't say the same about the below quoted sentence though:)) How can you Sridhar, you are from the temple town of Madurai? Already the que of beggars outside the temples are long, can't imagine the length if all the unhappy people would leave their jobs and join them...it is like almost the 90% ( well, don't take me up on the statistics!) of the world population! We will never get the darshan of the Diety ever...

    Worried.....Kamla!

    And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.
     
  10. meenaprakash

    meenaprakash Silver IL'ite

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    my question...

    Hello Sridhar,

    I agree with the Man and his Job values.
    But let me ask you one important question.
    Does every man chooses his career and goes forward or settles with the job offered and goes forward ? Most of the men settle for a "better paying" job and lose the sight of their career. It is only the few determined men who refuse to take any job offered, no matter what is the money offered, but stick to career.
    They are ones who are ultimately successful.
    Any man who jumps from one job to another for monetary benefit or some such justification without the career in mind is always bound to be a LOSER.
    So, what is there if there is some frustration in them which is the compensation they are paying for their decision ?

    Regards,
     

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