Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Work Fun Balance

Allow me to paint a picture for you…

It’s Wednesday afternoon. I just finished eating lunch with a friend, and now I’m “back to work” sitting on a beach in San Diego sipping my ice coffee, typing away. The weather is sunny and seventy two degrees right now and everytime I look up, I see the surfers gleefully riding the waves back home (ok, ok...there may be a few bikini clad college girls walking around too ;)

The picture I've included here is the view from "my office" that I just snapped with my phone.

It’s a tough life I live.

Seriously, there is nothing more satisfying than spending time out and about on a day like this, especially when I know that most of the world is inside somewhere working. Then, I think about what I would have been doing last month on a Wednesday afternoon – writing technical documentation on some engineering project on my computer in my windowless office – and I feel even better!

One temptation to resist though is the inclination to lose productivity. With so much free time, it’s easy to want to waste a lot of it doing frivolous things. The truth is, I have been more productive than EVER these last several weeks. In fact, I watch probably less than an hour of TV each day (if that!) and am constantly on the go.

Sure it takes discipline, but it’s well worth it.

In terms of work, I actually have four things on my plate right now. I have the ebook which requires constant attention especially since I've boosted advertising recently, I’m the Marketing Campaign Manager for another internet company, I do statistical analysis and trending for my friend who is a professional poker player, and I’m in the beginning stages of another book project (can't reveal too much yet!) that I'm working on with a friend.
I love being busy especially when, in the grand scheme of things, I’m working for myself (and on the beach!).

But with work, comes fun. (This is the part where I brag to you about some awesome adventure I’ve just been on)

So, as you may know, I am a self-proclaimed “Tennis Warehouse Legend”! Basically, I worked as a supervisor there for a couple of years and implemented a few new things that are still used today! I also happen to still know all of the managers, the President, and both owners. Since I left, Tennis Warehouse has just exploded in popularity and influence (all due to ME of course).

So, one of the perks is being able to enjoy the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells California (think Palm Springs). I went last year for a couple of days and got to meet James Blake, Ana Ivanovic, and Caroline Wozniaki.

This year was more of the same.

In fact, I got to see a tennis match with four of the greatest players to ever play the game! That’s right. I watched the Roger Federer and Pete Sampras versus Raphael Nadal and Andre Agassi match – from box seats no less! Totally amazing. Although Sampras is my favorite player of all time, Agassi just made the match with his constant joking around (the players were mic’d up).

So what else did I get to do?

Well aside from watching a lot of tennis and hanging out with some old friends, I got to meet and work autograph security for Maria Sharapova, Raphael Nadal, Caroline Wozniaki, and Kim Clijsters (sooo nice!). To be fair, the security thing is really just me standing next to the player as they sign autographs and nicely telling fans to “keep the line moving, no personal pictures, one autograph per person!’ and basically look tough (obviously why they chose me) to make sure nothing happens. All the while, I’m thinking of the one thing I can say to the hot tennis players that will make them instantly fall in love with me.

Nothing came to mind.

But Maria gave me a smile and a wink while we were talking, and last year, Ana Ivanovic said she would remember me (although I missed her this year!). Somehow, we’re going to have to figure out a way to make our long distance relationship work better than seeing each other once a year in Indian Wells.

As we did last year, Nick and I got a little adventurous and jumped onto one of the practice courts exclusively reserved for players and coaches, and hit some balls. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was on the court next to us and watched us hit for a while. I think he must’ve been thinking “who the hell is that really good-looking Indian guy that’s really good at tennis! I hope I don’t have to play him!”

Don't worry, I’ll go easy on you Jo.

A little while later, Alana Bondarenko and her coach kicked us off because they had the court reserved. Oh well. I suppose I can give up the court to a hot tennis player.

To earn my way though, I actually did some free work for Tennis Warehouse including helping customers and stringing racquets. Afterall, I am still a certified “Master Racquet Technician” and several customers were ecstatic with my customer service.

As much as I wanted to stay longer than the five days I was there, I knew I had to come back to San Diego. I needed to preserve the Work-Fun Balance. I didn’t work at all while I was there. On top of that, I didn’t work out other than playing a little tennis, and was eating like crap.

So, I reluctantly returned, jumped back into my two-a-day workouts, and my “hard” work by the beach!

In fact, even though I don’t have any “regular” job that I have to be at, I still set my alarm and wake up early in the morning to start my day. I go to the gym and workout first thing in the morning, then do some work for a couple of hours. It certainly does take some discipline to go to bed at a decent hour each night and wake up early, but it’s a healthy sacrifice I’m willing to make to successful at the “non-regular job” lifestyle.

So far, I can’t complain ;)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Exercise Your Freedom

I think most people would agree that among all big picture goals, Freedom is probably at the top. We all want freedom. Freedom from monetary constraints, freedom of time, freedom to travel, or freedom to do any damn thing we want.

A lot of people lose track of the fact that Freedom can frequently be a choice. They become stuck in a life with limited Freedom because all they know is a life of constraint and venturing out seems riskier than it actually is. This is the same reason that long time inmates struggle with life once they leave prison. The World and its opportunities are overwhelming and the regimented world they became accustomed to, has disappeared.

The chains that prevent most people from being totally happy, are the ol’ occupational bindings. I would venture that most people do not enjoy their job. Working seems to be a sacrifice that we must make in order to have money to enjoy the rest of our lives. But when you consider that we spend about half of our waking hours working, and then a bunch more time thinking and dreaming about work, it seems like a travesty that many of us do not enjoy what we do.

I was in the same boat…until I quit.

I spent the last four years of my life working as an Engineer. In college, I began to realize that I disliked Engineering. Working as a Logistics Engineer validated my initial inkling as well as enlightened me to the fact that I hate corporate culture.

When I told people I was quitting, they thought I was crazy. Quitting a “good” job in this economy? Admittedly, the company itself was pretty good. BUT, I hated the work I was doing and I wasn’t a fan of my Supervisor. The bottom line was, I hated Monday mornings, and time spent at work felt like such a waste.

Most people probably would have stuck with the company. I never hated going to work, but I certainly didn’t enjoy it. The money and benefits were good too. BUT, going to work didn’t excite me. For a while, I never really considered quitting. I thought this is how life is supposed to be. Grind through work, and enjoy my evenings and weekends. Use my Paid Time Off, to go on nice trips, then come back and earn myself another vacation.

Then I started thinking. Why should the enjoyment I feel on weekends and vacations only be fleeting? People who get to work from home all the time are so lucky! People who love what they do are so lucky! People who became successful at their passions are so lucky! Then I had a mini-epiphany.

It’s not luck.

Most of us are too scared to exercise our Freedom and really pursue what we want to do. The more I thought about things, the more I realized I could come up with no good reason NOT to quit. But first, I needed a plan.

There’re certain things I wanted in a job: lots of interpersonal interaction, autonomy, time off, a high degree of personal interest, and yes, a lot of money. So I’ve decided to become a College Professor in Organizational Behavior and Management. I love teaching and Professorship would satisfy the interpersonal interaction aspect. Professors have a high degree of autonomy with scheduling and curriculum. Obviously, there is ample time off between holidays and summer break. And, as an Organizational Behavior and Management Professor, my interests would be satisfied (I love sociology which is a major aspect of O.B.). Oh, and business Profs make top dollar as well  As a bonus, the scheduling flexibility would allow me to continue to exercise my entrepreneurial spirit!

I wrote in detail about my decision to go back to school over a year ago.

In the last year, I’ve also made some very beneficial moves financially and entrepreneurially that have me in a position where I can live comfortably while waiting for school to start. I certainly wouldn’t have quit my job had a not had a stream of steady income set up.

To be fair, some people have a lot more obstacles to hurdle in order to exercise their freedom. Many people don’t have the money to quit, or are supporting a family. As an independent 26 year old, I am lucky enough to have very few responsibilities to worry about. To those who DO want to exercise their Freedom but cannot due to supporting a family or other circumstances, I would say that you should ALWAYS keep in mind what and where you want to be. EVERY DAY you should take a step to move closer to be in a position to exercise your freedom. If you want to start a business but don’t have the money, set a bench mark then work towards earning and saving enough to reach the bench mark. If time is an issue, dedicate 10 minutes everyday that you will fully commit towards positioning yourself for freedom.

So for the last two weeks, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying life! Monday mornings feel like Saturday mornings and aside from my own personal work and projects, I have a lot more free time! I am enjoying the fruits of my freedom! AND, I’m excited for school to start in the fall! So from now until September, I’ve got a lot of time to adventure and travel.

I’ve already had one little adventure, and a couple more are in the works! Stay tuned…