Is this what they call a cultural difference?

Scratching my head with the back of a pencil I was stumped. I had no idea what was causing my test case to fail. Taking a deep breath I decided to start over. Even before I executed code, I went over the code visually. There had to be something I was missing. The blinking IM window was beginning to annoy me. Flipping windows I found it was a colleague from India still working. It was time for me to go home, what was he doing working so late I thought. Annoyance quickly changing to concern, I enquired what it was.

An hour later, nursing a cup of hot tea and chatting with my co-worker we discussed work cultures. Talking about our team in India working such long hours I was drawn back to a time when I was the one staying up nights and working weekends. It was easy for me as my work and personal life more than overlapped. My work life was my life. My colleagues were my friends and my social life began and ended at work.

A decade later when work life balance is more than just jargon, and it does mean a balance between work and life, I am bothered by the blurring of lines for the other half of my team. I wonder if they have families, if they work from home and if they are compensated for all the extra time they spend at work. I also wonder if I would feel the same way if I had not moved from Bangalore.

I am slowly beginning to get the idea of cultural chasms. I can no longer picture myself giving up work life balance for more money or a better title. While I am OK with the occasional weekend work or long weekdays, I look forward to the weekend as a time for renewal and rejuvenation. I believe in giving my full attention while at work. K’s attitude towards work which baffled me when I was a new bride is slowly making sense. I am slowly but surely emulating him.

It is amazing how little things like a blinking IM window can drive home the huge changes in life.

6 comments

  1. Laksh, Congrats on the upgrade.
    On this post, I totally agree on how our view has changed. I cannot give up the weekend and late hours with family. This is one of the many reasons why I don't want to go back.
    I remember the days when I used to work from Morning to night say 10:00 PM and go home and be back to office by 3:00 am to attend teleconference and be in office till 6:00 in the evening. Oh boy!! such madness…I did that despite the fact that my family was local to Bangalore and I did have friend apart from work life then.

    Guess with age comes wisdom and we have learnt it or maybe you are right it is just the cultural difference.

  2. @Manchus: Thanks! I remember those days too. I tend to think it is cultural cos when I worked from Bangalore for a couple of weeks end 2007, not much had changed. The staying late/working weekends applied equally single, married and people with kids.

    @Nandini: I understand. I was like that when I first moved here too. It will pass. 🙂

  3. Oh boy those were the days(Working in India). Still I remember only during Diwali or Pongal there will be more production issues and we were promised double the salary :). But I still hear from my west coast friends that the work culture in west-cost is v.similiar to India not sure how far that’s true.

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