6/365: Spell stress for me, will ya?

Posted: January 6, 2011 in Books, Cycling, Family, Misc.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Am I stressed out? Yeah right!

I sleep when I like, wake up when I want to. I eat what I want, when I want. Ditto with drinking. I work when I want to. And I cycle as much as I want to. I have a girlfriend who loved me crazy (though she demands much more in return). We watch movies at a fast clip, rarely missing any good ones. And I’ve got a few disc cabinet worth of sitcoms to help me through alone times. Also, I have a ton of unread books that I’m running through at an easy pace. No, I’m definitely not stressed out.

Yes, I do miss Ma-Pa-Sis back home. Sometimes terribly. I also miss friends and food back home. But otherwise, it’s a good life I’m living here.

But, while I’m not stressed out, I do have periods of stress – the ones that don’t let me sleep at night. Or when I do sleep, haunt me in the form of nightmares.

The main reason for this stress  is – yes, you know it already – the lack of a regular job despite having been in London for almost 6 months. The resultant hammering of my finances, or the lack of their buffering up, is a huge dampener. Just the fact that the world spends its days out there, working, while I languish at home, is another big insomnia pill. No amount of SitComs or books can relieve the boredom of sitting at home, doing almost nothing, while your partner puts in 20 hour workdays. Specially when you have a hyperactive mind like mine.

Applying for jobs is as big a source of stress as not having one. Researching the company and the position just to write an appropriate cover letter. Then tweaking with the CV before realising that it’s now a Friday so have to wait till Tuesday before sending it in. And then the wait. Ahh, the deadly, silent wait for a response from the recruiter. I’ve given quite some thought to which is better – firms that respond to only successful candidates or the ones that send a short regret email. For me, it is clear – even a one line, automated, regret email is a gazillion times better than no response. Yes, the suspense of the wait kills me while I wait for that regret letter, but at least it provides a closure. It is when firms even refuse to acknowledge my existence by sending in a regret letter that it hurts. Hurts me all the more because I’m such an optimist. I never stop believing that they’ve rejected me, just that they have a very lengthy internal review process, on the lines of the soviet 5-year plans.*

The state of my cycle’s rear wheel is another recurring cause of stress. Since mid-September, the wheel has gotten out of shape at least 4 times resulting in an outgo of about GBP 57 towards Evans Cycles’ income statement. Now, I don’t mind paying for these repairs if I had been riding rough but given that my riding is almost completely on city roads and bike-paths in parks, I have a good reason to suspect that either there’s something wrong with the wheel itself or someone has messed with it somewhere. The fella at Trek UK tried to be helpful but I can’t expect them to open a service center just for a low end bike bought back in India.

As if this on-going issue with the wheel wasn’t enough, Evans Cycles added to the problems further more. Last time I gave them the bike for rear wheel true, I got it back with rear wheel almost trued and the front wheel tube changed! Not just changed but stupidly changed from a Schrader valve to a Presta valve one. Yes, you read it right – I asked them to true the rear wheel and they changed my front wheel tube. The only two scenarios that explain this for me are either they were too drunk / tired / sleepy and mixed the stuff up (badly) or they acted with malaise. I’m not running to conclusions just yet but their behaviour when I go back for this to be rectified might suggest at which one it is. However, till then, that’s another one added to my bike-related stress issues.

I guess this is it. These are broadly the 4 main issues that stress me out occasionally, the first two much much more than the next two.

So, there. I’ve turned my 6th post of the day into a rant. Likely because it’s also the first day in over 2 weeks that I’m spending alone at home. Hopefully, I’ll be back to my usual cheery self by the time tomorrow’s post comes around.

Till then, Cheers!

*I realise that certain in-demand companies of the likes of Google & Automattic (there, you know where I applied), might be getting thousands of CVs every day and do not have, or can’t spare, personal bandwidth to respond to everyone. Yet, these are some of the world’s leading technology companies, so I’m surprised they can’t find a solution around it.

Let’s take Google first: That automated email that Google sends out for every application could contain an applicant code number/id which I could use to look up my application status on a simple webpage. Apart from development and deployment of such a system, I doubt it requires any additional effort from the staff sorting through those applications. I’m sure Google has an internal applicant management system in place, this would only provide me a window on my status within it. And leave me very, very satisfied, even if I’m constantly rejected. In the remote case that Google doesn’t have even this elementary applicant management process in place, I should be offering them the services of my ex-consultant self for the job.
However, the fact that Google presents not providing application statuses as a policy, it seems to me that the bureaucrats and lawyers have won the battle for soul of the firm and that much cherished start-up spirit is dead.

Coming to Automattic: I just realised, they didn’t even acknowledge receiving my application – automated or not. Thus, expecting them to send me a regret letter is some way off. But I’m sure I’ll sort out this glitch and put a process in place when I get there.


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