TO THOSE WHO ARE GONE

People say time heals everything. Partly true, mostly wrong.

At first, my maternal uncle took the trip there, nobody knows exactly where. Then, my maternal grandpa. Shortly after, my maternal grandma followed him, like always. And then, I had to bid the toughest farewell of my life. Saying goodbye to my dad. Yes, as time passes by, these people visit my mind less frequently. But when they visit, they visit with all intensity. My dad is leading that team now. As he is the latest member of the gone team, at first, his memory comes to my mind without any consideration to the appropriateness of time and space (say when I am in an office meeting). Then the memories of my grandpa, grandma and uncle come…..altogether.

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A few years ago, I wrote a book on my ancestors. My dad had a genealogy map which he really treasured. But that map only contained the names of my long gone ancestors. I was more interested in the stories associated with those names. For the first time in my life, my research skills came to rescue me for a real life project. I took interviews of soon-to-be-gone ones, read all the diaries and family documents I could gather, visited graveyards to see if the epitaphs could reveal something about them.

I wrote that book. But, I can only share it with very few people. It will certainly upset some people in my family. Nobody wants to hear the dark side of their forefathers. Stemming from the same root (Kishore Mahmood – seven steps above me in the family tree), our family tree spread its branches all over. Some branches became enemies with each other, some branches do not even know they come from the same tree. For all those reasons, in the interviews, I got contradictory perspectives on certain lost ones. Almost all the grandchildren thought their grandfather was a hero, the other guy was the bad guy. The other guy’s grandchildren thought the opposite.

But, good or bad, they are gone. Some of them are gone so far that, without my book, not a single soul in this world would even know that they ever existed! How sad is that! How many of us can tell our great-grand father’s or mother’s name? I know very few of us can reach 100 years longevity and that may be okay. But in less than 100 years time, there will not be a single person in this world who will know my name and the fact that I ever existed! Actually, that realization inspired me to write that book. I kind of wanted to give some of my forefathers eternity. Their names and stories are in (private) cloud now. I really hope my future generations will treasure it and take pride in knowing the stories of their long gone ancestors.

In this write up (I am not sure yet if it will be just a blog post or a book or an unpublished draft), I want to write in a way where I can share my uncle, grandma, grandpa and dad’s stories with other people. I am not going to write their biographies. Biographies are mostly about the facts. But I want to write about the love, the way they loved me and the way I love them.

STAY HUNGRY, STAY FOOLISH (WITH SMART PHONE & DSLR CAMERAS)

First thing first, I am 4,506,396 km far from becoming a pro-photographer (Right, I love making up numbers :/). That said, I have been trying to get a grip on photography for a year or two now and I might be able to throw some tips at you, if you are contemplating getting started with photography –

i. You DON’T need a DSLR camera to learn photography. True that, you need a DSLR camera for fireworks, long-exposure photographies, but for most of the other types, a smart phone should be good. In some cases, smart phone is even a better alternative to a DSLR. For example, “selfies”. Especially Duckface selfies. Don’t you like Duckface selfies? I don’t.

ii. Before buying a DSLR camera, I did some serious photography with an Android phone. At first, I learned the ins and outs of my smart phone’s camera settings. I installed Camera FV-5 app, which virtually transforms a smart phone camera to a DSLR camera. Check it out. When I was sharing those smart phone photography on Facebook, some of my friends were asking me what DSLR camera I was using! (Sorry for the bragging :/ Here I just want to highlight the fact that you can do decent photography with your smart phone).

iii. Okay, this point might offend some people but I have to say it. I often see some people abuse their DSLR cameras! Yes, you bought it with your hard-earned money but that does not give you the freedom to abuse your camera. Show some love and respect to it. Please google and youtube how to use a DSLR. If you are not a Martian, then Google and YouTube should have all the answers of the questions that you can ever imagine. Learn how to change your camera lens. A camera lens is the most sensitive thing in this world (well, in some cases may be only second to your lover) and it’s very easy to get some dust in the camera while changing the lens. Google how to change camera lens. Google “how to change camera lens”. Google Rule of thirds.

iv. A common amateur misconception about the photography is that, image editing/enhancement equals cheating. Once someone told me, if you edit the photo, that means you are faking the photo by making the photo looking better than the actual scene. I guess, most likely, that person thinks a camera can capture the actual scene, seen by a pair of human eyes!!! LOL. Dear friend, our technology is light-years far from inventing a camera which can capture a photograph in the same quality as human eyes. In most of the cases, an unedited version would do worse job than a nicely edited version in representing the real scene. The edited version would at least please our eyes! I agree, some photographers use image editing for evil purposes. But most of the photographers do image editing just to retrieve the actual scene and feel in a photograph. A DSLR camera is not as smart as our brain (do I even have to say it?). When we see something, our brain knows what to ignore and what to capture. A camera can’t always do this judgment. In some cases, the photo holds a lot of information of the actual scene but can’t display it like the actual scene – and that’s where the power of image editing kicks in. Example, in the image below, look at the “”before” version of the image. Do you see any Japanese letters below the frog? No. But if you were present there, you would see some Japanese characters just below where the frog is sitting. Did the camera miss it then? No, it captured the characters but is not displaying it in the image’s current setting. Now, using an image processing software, I simply reduced the “Shadow” in the image and BOOM! There are two Japanese characters (thanks to the image editing)! Would you call it cheating?

Bottom-lime: Learn some image processing/editing to become a good photographer. My personal favorite is Adobe Lightroom.

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I’d like to close this note with yet another suggestion. We don’t look “cool” just because we are holding an expensive DSLR. At times, I see some newbie holding a DSLR as if it’s a AK47! Anyone can buy a camera. Nothing special about just holding or having a DSLR. There are millions of photographers out there and thousands of them are most likely better than you and me. So, let me remind you (and myself) about Steve Jobs’ that famous saying – “STAY HUNGRY, STAY FOOLISH” (With smart phone & DSLR cameras). Adios :)

Bonus: Here are some tips on image composition https://www.colesclassroom.com/3-photo-composition-tips/

REDEFINING HONEYMOON

IMG_20150719_125239Have you guys had your honeymoon yet?

As the sun is about to make a full circle since Sadea and I got married, we often get the aforementioned Q, which leaves us a little puzzled. What really is a honeymoon?

The popular idea of a honeymoon is to go to an expensive resort for a few days and do some touristy activities and spend some romantic moments. We are not just that sort.

a. We like to claim ourselves as travelers/backpackers, not tourists. Being a traveler and a tourist are two different ball games. Being a tourist requires a lot of selfies. Being a traveler requires only one or two selfies 😛

b. (Kids can skip this point) Our romance is not location dependent 😐 Neither are our mini arguments 😕 If we go somewhere with a “honeymoon mood,” there is no guaranty that we would have a raburabu time. (“Raburabu” is a Japanese phrase…go figure ;))

c. Truth be told, we are too cheap to stay at a resort. Instead, we’d spend this money for food :/ Eating out multiple times a week is more fun than sleeping at a resort for one night. Plus, we have no problem in sleeping at a reasonably priced hotel. Once you sleep, you are just asleep. zzzzzz……………

d. Once we went for a casual day trip in a port city in Cambodia called Sihanoukville. It was dark and raining. We were in a tuktuk (something like a CNG in Bangladesh) and we had no idea where the driver was taking us to. All we could sense was that, it was a hilly road, leading to a beach. In silence, our minds were doing the talking. How on earth did we end up being there at that very place at that very moment? It was not a planned honeymoon trip or anything close like that. But, that was the best moment of our married life so far. The rainy air, twilight darkness, a creepy tuktuk driver, everything was just on the right wavelength. If a honeymoon means having a good time for a couple, we could not have had a better one than that. That said, we have had some boring trips too. Bottom-line, you can’t plan a “good time”. More often than not, “good times” are spontaneous and unplanned.  The so-called “honeymoon” is a business scam, it’s a billion dollar industry.

TIP FOR THE NEWLY MARRIED COUPLES: Instead of having ONE expensive honeymoon, go for short trips more often. There are always places nearby where you always wanted to go, but haven’t been to yet. Go, eat out more. Eating out is not just about eating. Go out and walk with your better-half with no destination in mind and call it a mini honeymoon! Don’t fall for THE HONEYMOON hype. Have a lot of honeymoons, every year, every month, every week :)

BONUS TIP: Who said a honeymoon has to be only with your spouse? We really enjoy taking (like-minded) friends with us. The more people you share your experiences with, the more you enjoy.

Is the Android 5.0 Lollipop Upgrade Really Worth It?

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As we are die-hard Android fans, our hearts bleed to write this post. But the truth must be told! Who cares about the new so-called “material design” when you cannot perform the simple tasks you were able to do with a Nokia 1100 in 2003 with a shiny expensive smartphone?

  1. Silent mode with vibration off: Yes, the basics of a smartphone. Before upgrading to Lollipop, all you had to do is press down on the volume button to decrease the volume of your ringtone, and then press on the same button, again, to turn off vibrations. But, as of today, you cannot do that with your Lollipop. If you press the volume button, you will see three options on the screen—None, Priority, and All. Now you are telling us to go through this extra step in order to silence the ringtone on our phones (without stopping the notifications for our alarms)? Well, let us tell you Lollipop! Life is too short to figure out how to silence this phone.
  2. Connecting to WiFi: “What is your WiFi password?” Perhaps, one of the top 10 FAQs in the world. But if you have Lollipop installed on your phone, before asking this FAQ, first you may have to ask “excuse me, do you have WiFi here?” Because with Lollipop, it takes forever to even locate all the WiFi connections that are active in a certain location. So you will be lucky if you can even find and connect to WiFi at McDonalds, by the time you are done with your meal and heading out!
  3. Tethering: If you have unlimited data plan on your phone, I bet you are a huge fan of tethering. And, most likely you prefer tethering via USB over wireless. But it’s 2014 and you are using Lollipop. USB sounds more like a 1998 gadge—at least to Lollipop, that is. Lollipop won’t recognize when a USB is connected to it, almost all of the time. So if you are tethering, you can’t choose to tether using a USB. You will have to choose to create a WiFi hotspot instead, thanks to Android 5.0!
  4. Google Maps and Facebook app: The Facebook app fails to upload new newsfeed, even when you are connected to the internet! And Google Maps has no idea where you are when you turn on navigation. Not sure if it’s due to a bug in the respective apps, but the lack of these basic functions is definitely a struggle to deal with, at times .

All that said, we have to admit Lollipop does have some cool features such as the Battery Saver mode. And so far, the OS seems to be working pretty fast. But it is really striking how Google released such an important version upgrade without tweaking these seemingly trivial but practically big issues! Even worse, although it’s been quite a while since they released it, they have yet to roll out any updates for these bugs. So if you are reading this and have not yet upgraded to Android 5.0 Lollipop and your phone is reminding you to do so, please don’t upgrade yet (you can think about upgrading, perhaps after Google releases an update on these bugs)!

In collaboration with Sadea Shahan

Forgot your password and DON’T want to reset it? Follow these steps!

You have your Facebook app installed on your smartphone so there is no need to sign in every time you want to check your Facebook. Just one tap on that facebook logo takes you to the magical world. If you want to log onto Facebook from your PC, you just type facebook.com and your browser does the rest. Long time ago, you clicked “remember password” and since then, your browser always logs you in automatically. In fact, you clicked yes to that “remember password” option so long ago that you don’t even remember the password itself anymore. Then one day, you need to login to facebook from another device….Now you clearly don’t remember your password. So what do you do?

No! Don’t click on the “Forgot your password” link and go through that lengthy process of resetting your password. There are easier ways to deal with this problem:

Method 1: Sign out from your Facebook or any other account, be it email or whatever. If your password is not visible as it is in the case shown below,

……then do this. Right click on your browser → Click “Inspect element” → Then follow the 3 steps (in red) on the screenshot below

(For better visibility, click on the image)

Show my password
Show my password

You can follow these same steps on Internet Explorer, Firefox and other browsers. There may be slight differences in the interface in other browsers, but the basic idea is the same. Look for type=”password” and change it to type=”text” (step 3 from the screenshot shown above).

Method 2: Once you click the “Remember password” button, your browser stores that password so that you don’t have to retype your password every time you sign in. You can easily see these stored passwords in your browser. In Google Chrome, simply follow these easy steps –

Click “Settings” → Scroll down and click “Show advanced settings” → Under “Passwords and forms,” click “Manage passwords“ → BOOM!!! There goes your saved passwords!

Here again, you can find these saved passwords pretty much in the same way in Internet Explorer and Firefox. If you have any trouble finding them, let me know!

5 tech tips you are going to use (almost) everyday of your life

The following tips will help you get your day to day mundane tasks done faster so that you can spend more quality time on Facebook! (No need to mention it! You are welcome 😛 )

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  1. Paste-as-plain-text in Gmail (Ctrl+Shift+v): Of course you know copy/paste shortcuts Ctrl+c and Ctrl+v (copy/paste – the lifeblood of our student life :p), but do you know about Ctrl+Shift+v? Pasting formatted text is always a pain as the font of the copied selection often pastes in its original font which is different from the current text format of the page. Well, you don’t need to go through that pain anymore! If you are composing an email in Gmail and need to paste formatted text, just use the shortcut, Ctrl+Shift+v. The pasted text format will automatically match with your current text font.
  2. Selecting text (double click and triple click): Before copying and pasting text, you need to select the text first, right? Here is an easy way THE EASIEST WAY to do it. If you want to select just one word, just double click on that word. If you want to select a paragraph, simply triple click on the paragraph!
  3. Hacking the pdf: At times, (in my case, most of the time) we need to merge multiple pdf files. I wish I could do it, right from Acrobat Reader. But since we can’t do it, the easiest way to merge is by using www.smallpdf.com. This awesome tool allows you to split and compress pdf files. Plus, it also allows you to convert from pdf to other types of files and vice versa and you get all that for free!
  4. Sharing tasks in Gmail: We (Sadea and Zilhaz) dream of a day when we can control our entire virtual life in GMAIL! We are Gmail freaks. Sadly, Gmail Tasks is not the best to-do list service in the world but at least we can use it without leaving Gmail! However, we really wanted to share our Gmail Tasks list and to our savior, came the Todoist! Todoist for Gmail sits in the right, bottom corner of Gmail (just like Gmail Tasks) and gives you more control over your to-do-list. It has all the features that Gmail Tasks has, plus a lot more. In addition to being able to share tasks with others, mark tasks as priority, Todoist is also available for use as a web+mobile app and as a Chrome extension.
  5. Archiving in Gmail: We all know about that archive feature but many of us don’t use it. We all love to see our inbox clutter-free but archiving (and/or deleting) takes some extra clicks. Did you know that there is a “Send and Archive” button in Gmail? It does exactly what it says. Once you click “Send and Archive” for a specific email, it sends the email and automatically archives it. Just go to your Gmail settings and enable it from the “General” tab.

Edited by Sadea Shahan

Night of an occasional insomniac

I am an average human and I often get jealous for all kinds of reasons. At times I get jealous of Elon Musk for being such an awesome serial-entrepreneur or I get jealous of that 67- year lady in our table tennis club who plays better than me and smashes the ping-pong balls like there is no tomorrow!

However last night I was jealous of you, if you happen to be one of those people who can fall asleep as soon as they hit the sack. I felt like those people are the most blessed people in the multiverse regardless of their financial conditions or other material possessions. They at least can sleep at their will.

My occasional insomniac night usually starts like this – I go to bed around 11.30 PM and as soon as I lie on the bed I feel there is something wrong, very wrong! Why on earth I Am feeling so active and energetic at this hour! I am supposed to be tired now, just like when I woke up this morning. Why things are going in reverse? But anyway, I should try to sleep.

12.00 midnight. It’s been already half an hour and why am I still awake? I have work at 8 AM next morning and I need to wake up at 7.18 AM. A normal person needs minimum 6 hours of sleep to be fully functional, but I am an abnormal person and I need minimum 7 hours of sleep to be barely functional. I have 18 more minutes. May slumber bestows upon me its blessing.

Night of an occasional insomniac

12.30 AM. Now I am sure this is going to be one of those nights. Why is it happening to me again? Welcome negativity. It starts small. Why that WordPress plugin in my website is not behaving? Why that colleague at office is not behaving? Hang on, negativity is not going to help, I should think about something positive, something happy. I have a wonderful mom, I have a wonderful Android phone (sorry mom for bringing Android in this), once I had a wonderful vacation in Okinawa….. but how possibly I did that silly mistake at my work today? It was like a junior school level calculation…how and why I did that mistake? Hello, you are thinking negative again…but it’s OK to think about it just for a minute, self-analysis is important. it was a simple percentage calculation where I was supposed to find that variable from the ….

Then the big ones enter the stage, the regrets. Back in 2010 University of British Columbia rejected my MSc application, I really wanted to study there. Thomson Reuters rejected me from the final interview, I really wanted to work there. I failed in cricket, I failed in programming. I failed in becoming a normal average human being.

3 AM. I should have tried spiritual way at least two hours ago. But it’s never too late, let’s pray. Now either I am failing to pray in proper way or God has a different plan, God perhaps will reward me for this prayer another day, another time. Not this time, not tonight. My prayer is not being answered at this very moment. I am wide awake in my train-of-thought. My train-of-thought is running through grief, guilt, regret, repentance and all those barren landscapes. There is no light at the end of the tunnel.

This continues till 7 AM. Then my (last) alarm rings at 7.18 AM. Bad morning.

PS: You thought you are the lone member of occasional insomniac club?

The day I flew

(You can skip to 1:05 if you just want to see the moment of dive :p)

I dived from the sky (they may say I just dived from 4,000 meter altitude but I would still say I dived from the sky :/). They also may say they have acrophobia or fear of heights, they cannot imagine doing skydive; however 4,000 meter is a whole different level of height, it’s far beyond that usual acrophobia they feel looking down from a high-rise building’s balcony or rooftop.

When I look down from a 10-story building rooftop I know if I fall down I will just die, full stop. However, strangely enough, thought of death did not cross my mind  when I was flying in a door-less plane and gazing outside. Yes, they didn’t even bother to have a door in that plane! There was just a hole to get in and out, but nothing to shut or open. Crazy people would jump off from this plane anyway, why bother?! It was an out of this world crazy thing. When I looked down from 4,000 meter, everything looked so calm and quiet. The birds were flying lazily, clouds were floating calmly, tiny cars and buses far below were moving slowly, like an army of ants. It was a peaceful atmosphere all around. How could I die?

Then I dived. There was no going back, just going downward. In the course of next couple of minutes, my life would have one of the Boolean values. TRUE: Still Alive, FALSE: Dead. I was free-falling at 194 km/hour speed. Have you ever seen a car racing at 194 km/hour? I had that speed, but on Y axis.

During the training session, my instructor told me countless number of times; before the jump grip your harness tightly, then after the jump, when I pat on your shoulder three times, leave the harness and extend your hands like a flying bird. Before the jump, I gripped my harness tightly, then after the jump, I forgot everything. He was relentlessly patting on my shoulder and I was thinking, do you really have to do this now, before I finally realized oh shit I am supposed to extend my hands.

Free-falling lasted for 54 seconds, the best 54 seconds of my life. But even in that 54 seconds, the best part was the first 4 or 5 seconds. After the jump, I flipped in 360 degree for twice! What a moment that was! Actually 54 seconds was quite a bit of time. After first 10 seconds or so, I got over the initial shock and started to enjoy the experience. In the video you can see how the wind was distorting my face. That blow of wind was the only thing getting in my way of enjoying that epic moment of life. Then I decided to face it, literally.

There was a bird’s eye view of mountain range and sea, and above of all, there was that experience of free-falling at 194 km/hour speed, literally facing face-distorting nasty blow of wind. The earth below was zooming in, like zooming in Google earth. Gravity. In physics I studied g = 9.80665 m/s2. In skydiving I felt g = 9.80665 m/s2. I wanted to keep falling like that forever, or perhaps for 1 more minute, 1 more minute would have been feel like forever, I had no sense of time, What was time? Who was Einstein? What was I even thinking about? Did I get crazy? Absolutely.

Suddenly parachute opened and pulled me few meters upward. Then there was silence. Absolute silence. I was just floating in the air. My instructor asked me if I was OK. I assured him. What the heck had I just done with my life?

The rest of it was pretty nice, floating in the air with parachute while enjoying the awesome view of earth and sky. Everything was under control and soothing. The extreme excitement of my life just had ended. In the next few minutes time, I landed, safely.

So, did that experience change my life? On my way to skydiving center, the taxi driver told me he knew of a guy who skydived once at the same skydiving center where I was heading to. Before skydiving that guy used to have a miserable life, he was struggling at his work and in his personal life. But after skydiving his life had changed.

Unfortunately, except my Facebook cover page, nothing else has changed in my life significantly after skydiving. People might think I became braver after skydiving. Not at all. At our office, we have to give a three minute speech once a month. I still hide my hands during that monthly speech, because they shiver. For me the fear of public speaking is still far more severe than skydiving.

The thing that drove me to Skydiving was sheer curiosity. I am an overly curious person. I just wanted to know how it feels to Skydive. A FAQ I have been being asked since the day I Skydived, how did you overcome fear? With all the honesty in the world I am saying, I was not scared. It surprises me too, why I wasn’t scared? Perhaps because I have endless trust in Japanese safety? I don’t think there are too many countries in the world who care about safety like Japan does. If I died that day, it would have meant I was destined to die that day :-S I know it does not make much sense and perhaps you are thinking what the hell this guy is talking about! But trust, belief these phenomenons are always like this. We cannot express/explain them with words or algorithms.

Another FAQ I have been being asked lately a lot, what’s next? I don’t know and I don’t plan. I am not saying not planning is a good thing, but I just don’t. I don’t want my curiosity to become a burden for me. However, I wish I could do wingsuit flying someday. I wish I could experience zero gravity someday. But they are not in my bucket list. In fact I don’t have a bucket list. However, I am always ready. The other day I met someone who does kickboxing. In a week time I ended up learning kickboxing at a kickboxing center. It’s just like that. I am always ready. If there is a new thing, I will go for it without thinking about return, consequence and stuff like that. Is there anything new you want to go after?

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Talking “TED Talks” and speaking “Geek Speaks”

I am an avid fan of TED talks. I love them! Watching at least one TED talk has almost been a nightly ritual for me for quite some time. And, still I am on the proponent’s side of the recent debate that accuses TED talks for oversimplification. Most of the TED talks are the summaries of lifetime works. However, TED require the presenters to present those works in such a way (e.g use of layman terms) so that their works/achievements can be interpreted to a greater range of audience. There is no doubt about the good intention of TED, however more often than not many of the TED presenters’ talks consciously or unconsciously hide the true story of raw hardcore labor they put into their work. They mostly talk about what inspired them to start their journey (which typically starts by “when I was a child….”) and what keeps them motivated to pursue the journey amidst all sorts of difficulties and agonies.

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Then at the other extreme of this importance of motivation spectrum, some people say “Losers wait for motivation. Winners just get shit done.” Well, I don’t quite agree with this notion either for the obvious reasons. However, most of the TED speakers oversimplify their work using the words motivation and inspiration. Like, if only you are motivated enough you can get there. I don’t think so. What about facing this truth? I (or anyone for that matter) might not be just good enough! Talented enough! With all the good intention in the world, those TED presenters want to convince us “you can do it”! Thanks for your nice sacred intention of motivating me, but that’s a half-lie. Please don’t oversimplify! Certain goals might be attained just by sheer hard work but not always. Let’s accept it.

Now, let’s speak about “Geek Speaks”. People usually use the phrases Geek Speak or Jargon in a negative sense. However, often I see someone is being accused of using jargon when actually s/he is just using the right terminologies which may not be familiar to a mass audience but just an everyday-word for the people involved in that field! So the person who is giving the talk, just unconsciously use those words. Well, there are certain complicated phrases/terms that should be explained in layman terms (when addressing a non-expert mass audience) and recognizing those terms actually distinguish a good speaker from the average ones. But, at times some people (audience) don’t even try to exercise their brain to understand a complex issue and instead they put blame on the speaker/presenter saying s/he is using too many jargons. That’s unfair.

Admit it or not, jargon (or whatever you may call them) actually helps. Often people ask me for their daily-life IT related problems and in most of the cases I don’t really know any solution for them. But I just Googled those problems and in 90%+ cases the solutions appear on the first page of search result. So, why don’t those people just Google their own tech problems? Because they don’t know the right keywords!

By no means, I am against the concept of simplification. But I am just not sure if oversimplification always helps. I am not also saying that using technical terms with the sheer purpose of displaying your wisdom is something good. All I am saying is that, we should think twice and use our brain (or internet) before labeling something as jargon or geek speak.

Chasm between a dream (personal) life and a dream career

I had to make a choice, in 2012.

I love IT stuff. I always wanted to build my career around IT domain and I got a web developer job at a startup. I’d not say I found my dream job but that was pretty much closer to what I wanted at that point in time. I really really loved the job content. It was daylight clear to me, that particular job content was the perfect stepping stone to lead me towards my desired career path. On the flipside, I was not quite impressed with that company’s business philosophy (I know it’s a vague term but I don’t want to get into details with this point now). However to me, that was one of the most important factors, if not the most important factor of any job. Also, the location of that job was in the middle of nowhere. The place was so remote that even a guy like me who does not give a damn about social life got a little bit concerned about the social life!

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And then, I got another job offer from Japan, almost the opposite corner of the world relative to where I was residing at that time (UK). The job description of this Japanese one was nowhere close to what I wanted! However, prior to the official acceptance of the job offer, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with the people who would be my team members. I got a feeling that they would be very nice people to work with. Location-wise, the job was in Hiroshima – a city which is not really a busy mega city and also not a middle-of-nowhere type place. The scenic beauty of the city is really top-notch!

I signed out from that web developer job and signed up for Hiroshima job.

It’d be an exaggeration if I say I am leading a dream life now but I do not really have much to complain about my life as it is now. I have got here just about the right number and type of friends, I am doing more sports than I was doing in my university years and I have just about the right amount of pain and dissatisfaction in my life which is required to keep the life in balance. Yes, I chose a relaxed life over a hectic but most likely rewarding career. (Some pople might say what a shame!)

Before going to further discussion, please let me clarify what I mean by the phrase dream life in this post. By saying dream life here I mean you are living your non-working hours in the way you really want.

So, dream life and dream career, are they mutually exclusive? For most of us, I think, Yes. The definitions of both of the terms dream life and dream career are quite subjective. However, one thing is for certain that, a dream career does not necessarily mean an easy career and more often than not, pursuing a dream career interferes with personal or after-the-work-hour life. A dream career often pays a very handsome salary but does not pay you enough time to live a relaxed life. If you are a reader of Harvard Business Review sort websites/blogs/magazines, you must find a lot of talking and writing on work-life balance. I think if you claim you have work-life balance I would say you are doing something wrong. Your work and your life do not care about your work-life balance. More often than not you will find your office tasks and personal chores are overlapping and if you stick to your work-life balance thingy, then I am not sure if its a good thing from a holistic view of your life.

Instead of work-life balance we actually need work-life priority. Stay at office longer hours when you need to. But do not sacrifice your after-the-work-life staying at office longer hours just for the sake of illusive promotion and to show off you are working hard. If your promotion is based on this sort of show-off thing then you are doomed, and so is your employer!

However, I know that for most of the people staying at office longer hours is not a choice, its a MUST. And unfortunately if that’s happened to be a requirement of pursuing their dream career, then for those people dream career and dream life are certainly mutually exclusive. All that said, perhaps the one and only way to lead both dream career and dream life at the same time is to become a successful entrepreneur. In this case you can allocate your 24 hours time according to your priorities. If you work for someone else, you simply cannot do that (there might be some exceptions but I have never heard of any so far).

I am not discouraging pursuing dream career while sacrificing dream life. In fact dream career is at times a part of a dream life. However in that case your “dream life” is actually in the future. You are thinking your dream career will take you to your goal someday and then you will have a dream life. Talk to some old and rich people. You will find that most of them had the same plan and that turned out to be a wrong plan.

My final point is that, you should have either a dream career or a dream life while you are in your 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. If you are in your 20’s – 40’s and still have none them, then perhaps it’s time for you to think about it seriously!

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