Looking at myself back through time

Days and months add layers on layers. Bit by bit I change. Changed I get by bits and pieces, and at the end of a year I look back at myself. I ask “Who is that guy?!”.  My older posts serve my purpose of time travel. I go through those to take a peek at my past self. Looking closely I notice the style of writing, choice of words, speed n train of thoughts, topic changes and what it was about. Each one of those tales tell a tale of a younger me and then whatever I be.

Just went through ‘a letter to my younger self‘ . I wrote this back in 2013, the year when I wasn’t employed anywhere. All my friends were working somewhere and there I was, frustrated and jobless. Everyone in my family was trying to cheer me up but I couldn’t be. That self of me in 2013 wrote a letter to another me who belonged to the year 2009. The addressee guy was just in his 2nd year of engineering (halfway though college). Right now, I am observing a guy talking to another guy who exists 3 years back in time than him. All the three guys are the same person but just separated over time! Amazing isnt it? Feels like Looper! But that’s not the point of this post. It is about how different I have become over the years.. How many changes have happened.. How have I been moulded by some seemingly life-shattering events (which of course become just some old tales with time).. Unexplainable. Just unexplainable. Maybe it is but I choose not to. Some feelings are better felt than expressed.. It is deep.

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Settlement balance Zero? or Circle of life?

I work in the cards and payments industry. My job is to develop and monitor programs and Jobs (Yeah,  Jobs! I work with those scary mainframes). After the transaction settlement of all the merchants my programs create their statements and funding notifications. Usually someone gets total credit greater than the debit and for others vice versa. For some both credits and debits balance out and they get naught! Not a single penny! Such cases sometimes throws spanner into the clockworks, and we have to fix it. (In mainframe parlance, those horrific things are called Job Abends)

Usually a job abend means billions of valued transactions held up until we fix it  and time is invariably against us at such times. Late to fix it by a moment and we can hear abuses from halfway across the world! So please, next time your bank transaction is held up, don’t slang us. Just remember, we are on fire even before you microwave us with your anger. Yesterday, we had such a job abend day.

It was a merchant who had nothing but two transactions, one for $ +1.07 and another for $ -1.07. So he didn’t get anything  funded into his account, but he has to pay the fees for the settlement processing.. Sorry, I wont bore you with that. What happened is that we luckily found this merchant’s records quickly in the files, removed him and let the jobs go. Everything went smooth from there on. Something hit me then. A thought.. It goes on as follows.

This guy sells some things to customers. For whatever he sells he pays 2% of that transaction to his card company.  A fraction of that is paid by the card company to my employer. With that money my employer gives me salary. With the salary I then go back to pay the merchant for stuff I buy. From that the merchant again pays 2% of the value and it goes on and on in a circle.. Now do one thing. Just put all the pieces of transactions together and settle it. Calculate, who stands to gain, huh?

The transaction settlement value is Zero! A big Zero! No one is getting anything extra! No one at all! It just sent my head spinning. What the hell are we working for and why ?!

Everyone is actually losing their precious seconds, minutes, hours and days just to keep this circle running, aren’t they?   Or is this what they call ‘the circle of life‘?

3 lessons in a month

So, it has been a month since I became an associate of Cognizant. Some are curious to know how it has been so far, some aren’t. Doesn’t matter, I am gonna say it anyway 😛 .

The learning curve has been as steep as always. But my experience of the last 2 years has come handy. There are several things that I learned, important lessons they are. Sharing three of them with you here. You might ask why three? I don’t know.. maybe today is 3’s lucky day 😀

1. Bad habits don’t make people bad.

People themselves do. I have seen that up close, very very close.. Nothing more on this point.

2. No matter what is happening, this too shall pass.

Being an employee is a hell lot different from being a student, and old habits die hard. So, you can imagine well that many a time my new colleagues have been in trouble (I had lucky escapes so far). I have seen them break down helplessly trying to answer for something wrong they might have done. Seeing them I sometimes became emotional and unstable, but this phrase kept me going. This is something I imbibed in my character during my job-hunting phase.

The last but not the least! This is a sort of strategy. Something I have been using since some time but didn’t have a set of perfect words to phrase it. My good friend Saurabh gave this awesome phrase!

3. Never say why me, say try me.

I am worst at performing arts and we have behavioral sessions twice a week where we have to perform very basic roles and enact situations. The first few sessions were a torture, I used to groan and look at my watch for the end of the session. Being there in front of everybody was like “OMG, what are they thinking I don’t know” etc etc. One fine morning I just felt like “what the hell? I am scared of a few people?!…” . Since then those sessions have been different. I wont say I perform well, but I enjoy them to the full all the while improving myself.