Tying up loose ends

I consider most phases of my life (and of my career) as specific projects. Projects which have a certain outcome tied to them. Projects which need metrics to track and project closures which have targets to reach.

In this obsession to be objective about things, I got involved in a couple of projects which were of subjective nature.

What are subjective projects?

Subjective projects are those where the progress of that project is dependant on individual opinions and feelings. An example of such a topic could be Career.

Career fulfillment is a subjective thing. For some people a fulfilling career might be a one which involves loads of payment, for some it might involves getting respect from peers, others might look at impact. You get the drift?

It’s not even about individual feelings as well. As a person supporting a family, the subjectivity is made more complex by not only your belief of a fulfilling career, but also your immediate family’s.

Suddenly, that one question – What does your son do for a living? becomes real.

As a parent, I would love some bragging rights about my children’s achievements. That may or may not be aligned with what my children want to do. So, the moot question was how to go about objectively defining success for a subjective topic.

Numbers help

Some key measures of success do help. Let’s stick with the Career example –

  • My son makes a lakh a month
  • I manage a team of 6
  • My daughter has been working with GDFC Bank for over a decade
  • She got an 20% salary hike this year
  • My son runs his own company that employs 100 individuals
  • I wan’t to be able to take atleast 10 days off in a year to interesting destinations around the world

What’s the problem with this subjectivity?

And here’s my problem with this subjectivity thing. It freaking keeps changing the measure of success!

Sometimes it’s years of experience, sometimes it’s people employed, sometimes it’s cash in hand … and there is no clear metric you optimize things for.

The problem in this world, is where the team which decides the success of this subjectivity has not taken the pains of articulating What is Success.

When this is not articulated enough, you tend to optimize Career (in this example) on some parameters which might be an implicit rubric for you, but may not be understood by everyone else. Hence, the need to articulate.

Another example

Here’s one more example which works for most people.

What’s a good life mean for you?

Can you put down metrics on which if you measure your life, you will be able to answer this question?

If yes (and I haven’t done this yet), then are you doing anything which helps you increase those measues?

In life, or in our Career (my last example), we have these tiny niggling doubts at the back of our mind. These are the loose ends I am talking about.

Can we use metrics and measures to answer and squash these doubts. I think so, but to get there, we need to have a definition of what are our measures of success. I used to post my yearly resolutions for a couple of years on this blog, and then I stopped. Primarily, because of this subjective struggle. No one cared how many posts did I put up on the blog (not even me!), so how did it matter that I post one a week or more.

Measure for closure

So, what are good measures of success for the year 2017 for me? And what would the year 2018 be measured against. Well, that’s what I have a month to figure out!

PS – This is a thought experiment I am doing to see if I can indeed wield measurements and analytics for improvement. It’s a belief that I have long held close to my heart, now I am putting it to the test. Those who know me would know that I am fundamentally lazy and putting in these measurements as a life practice involves a certain discipline. That is my personal challenge.

Aside

Owning a Car or taking an Uber

Travis Kalanick, founder and CEO of Uber, built his cab-hailing startup with one ambitious goal: to stop people from buying cars. And while his ultimate goal could well be achieved globally, India would remain an exception. New research by Swiss investment bank UBS says that ride-on-demand (RoD) apps won’t stop Indians from buying their own…

via The simple reason why Uber and Ola can’t deter Indians from owning cars — Quartz

The investment bank UBS research might be saying that Indians still want a car, however, I still prefer taking an Uber ride over driving. Here’s why –

  • I can sit and read while the car is happily en route to my destination. Taking calls and thinking through things is a breeze.
  • Labor as well as Time & Material are saved
  • Dependency on cash is more or less removed. After demonetization, I have reduced my cash dependency completely, and I am loving it.
  • Whereas, its great to have a car and a driver handy to do on random jaunts like drop the kids to school, go for shopping, et al … however, an on the spot Uber is almost as good

Indians would treat the car as a status symbol, perhaps in the interiors they still do – however, with parking space coming at a premium (last I checked, a parking space in Nariman point as expensive as a 15 Lakh INR) taking an Uber is just more convenient.

Aside

Redefining Purpose

I do not call myself a Content Marketer. Heck, my language skills are not that great nor have I managed to keep honing them so as to write waxing lines of prose.

Most of the blogging I do on this blog, is always incidental in nature. Incidental in the sense, it’s almost always as a reaction to things. If this happens, and if I feel tempted to blog about it, I will post it.

However, this email newsletter by Avinash Kaushik is making me question the way I am writing this blog. Should there be a definitive overarching purpose to the blog … I think so!

What should the purpose be?

Let me think on this!

What Women Want

LinkedIn had done a survey among career women and came out with this brilliant infographic. It’s encouraging to see these trends … stuff such as around half the women surveyed considered their appearances did not play a major role in their career. Was this questionnaire designed by an MCP sexist? Jokes apart, I really like the fact that a majority of the problems faced by women are pretty much the same as that of men.

What Women Want at Work

So, if the answer to this post is what Men want … well, then every one knows that all offices will have a giant screen TV airing cricket/football, a fridge full of beer and a comfortable sofy at every desk!!

Yes, I am still clueless about what they want :-|

Rising Cost of Higher Education

Came across this infographic in my email, worth sharing and something to mull over.

Cost of Higher Education

Interesting to note that the incremental costs of a higher capitation does not necessarily translate into commensurate incremental benefits. Is brand value in education at such a premium?

I remember when I was in IIM Indore, the fees were fairly low and I was happy to get into a first grade b-school at less than 4 lakhs INR. These days when I see the fees, I tell the MBA aspirants that forget a b-school degree, the opportunity cost would be too high. Shouldn’t this rising cost of higher education consolidate somewhere and correct its ever rising trend?

What do you think?