An Ode to the Non-Toxic Side of Twitter

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Twitter has got a bad reputation.

It is called toxic. It is called unfriendly. It is arguably one of the most-hated social networking sites that people surprisingly cannot get enough of.

I have a different take on Twitter though.

How Twitter acts actually depends on whom you follow.

If you follow toxic people, then yes, Twitter will be toxic for you. No question about that. If you follow the right people – people whom you can learn from, people who have the most thought-provoking things to say – then Twitter is the right place to be!

It is all about making the right choice. You cannot expect to follow a bunch of pessimists, hate mongers, crass talkers and expect any place (offline or online) to be a lively, positive place to be in.

If someone you follow is spewing hate, unfollow them. Or better still – block them.

If someone you follow is liking posts that are spewing hate, unfollow them.

Rinse and repeat till your social media feed is clean.

Twitter is more than its infamous toxicity. It is a great place to get tips and tricks with respect to work. I sometimes feel it is more helpful than LinkedIn. All you have to do is follow work-related or any interest-related topics (by that, I do not mean topics that can offend and trigger you) to gain access to a plethora of knowledge.

I got tips from Twitter, which I have implemented at my workplace. Hard to believe but true nonetheless.

Where else would you see people unabashedly voicing their opinions on books, life, philosophy, work, family, and more, without the need of any media distractions? The focus is purely on words. There is no need to accessorize those words with pictures, audio, or video. The central attraction is your mind. Everything else becomes secondary.

But we choose to focus on the negatives. Like how we do with every other thing in life.

Of course, this does not mean putting your mental health at risk. If you feel someone or something is proving detrimental to your peace of mind, let go immediately. Or demand some space. Again, the choice is yours.

This rule applies to any social media networking site. If you feel social networking is toxic, pause a bit and check whom you follow.

The point is, you should not be the one making sacrifices when someone else is to blame. Tweak the situation such that you get to do what you like while cleanly cutting off the negativity that is making the experience less enjoyable. In social media sites, sometimes all it takes is a simple unfollow to regain peace.

P.S: No, I do not work for Twitter.

An Ode to People Who Are Not CEOs

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

Another day, another Indian CEO. This time the star is from Twitter.

Though I take pride in the fact that an Indian is receiving global fame and accolades, I have not yet tweeted or reposted the news anywhere. It is not because I am salty. It is not because I am a spoilsport. It is not due to envy.

It might be because it all feels a bit… unfair?

Parag Agrawal is from IIT Bombay. He must have reached where he is with much hard work. But hard work alone isn’t the key to success. Is hard work of much use without intellect, without a “beautiful” mind that can come up with path-breaking solutions? You can do all the hard work you like, but if you aren’t smart enough, you are not going to reach the top.

And the truth is – not all of us are blessed with the same level of intellect. It might not even be naturally possible.

“It is thought that around 50 to 80 percent of the variation in general intelligence between people is down to genetics.”

New Scientist

The people who are naturally smart will obviously thrive.

No matter how hard others with lesser intellectual capabilities work, they might never be able to achieve the level of success earned by someone with a higher IQ.

In every phase of our life, appreciation and accolades are for those who are intellectually skilled.

Teachers applaud children who learn the fastest.

Colleges hold tests to admit the smartest.

Companies recruit people who can answer the quickest.

Professional networking sites celebrate those who rise the swiftest.

How often have we seen star students struggle with a math problem, receive terrible grades, not able to understand concepts? They have it easy intellectually compared to others who are not as gifted. Combine brains with hard work – you have got a lethal combo. The CEO material.

Where does that leave the weak? All through life, they might get reprimanded, insulted, mocked for being “below average.” By teachers, colleagues, friends, family. They might never get appreciation. They might never feel valued.

The ones who try so hard to learn tough theories but even after several tries might not master them.

The ones who hope their hard work would compensate for their lack of groundbreaking ideas, innovations, and solutions, in every phase of life. Only to realize, it is not enough.

Here’s to you for trying. And for surviving in this world that only acknowledges and appreciates the rank holders, the quick thinkers, and the naturally gifted.

Here’s to you—the ones who are not CEOs.

An Ode to Wanting to Work After Retirement… But Also Win a Retirement Lottery

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

I love work. I want to continue working even after retirement.

But I also want to win a lottery so I can retire.

Not making sense? Hear me out.

I love doing the kind of work I do but I am not exactly a fan of the corporate culture. If you read my ode to freelancing, you would understand why.

Let me add something extra to what I wrote previously. I want to win a retirement lottery.. so I can retire and do my kind of work till the end of time. I do not have to worry about bills or putting food on the plate. I can concentrate on what I like, even if it might mean making less money. Yes, what I like, might not necessarily make me rich. It’s the hard fact of life. Not every interest pays well.

There are times I have wished wealth was distributed equally with everyone. So that each and every person living on this planet can do what they like, and not just the wealthy. I do not mean going on expensive holidays or owning luxurious homes. Just the basic freedom to do what one likes. That in itself can make anyone happy. But, that’s not how the world works, and it might never work that way. The top 1% own 43% of the world’s wealth. Society thrives on income discrimination. The fact is no one is self-made. It takes many people to make one man’s business successful, but all the monetary benefits go only to a select few.

What would happen if I win a retirement lottery:

  • I would quit work.
  • I can finally avoid annual performance reviews. My last few didn’t go too well.
  • Start freelancing again.
  • Face less pressure.
  • Better mental health.
  • Choose the type of work I want to do.
  • Work from anywhere in the world. No location constrictions.

It is everyone’s secret dream. To win a lottery. It is the easiest way out to escape the rat race.

I haven’t bought a lottery ticket ever in my life. But the dream of winning one persists. 

An Ode to Leaving Work On Time

Worked Hard. No Friends, Money or Assets.
From Workchronicles on Instagram

I have always left work on time.

Or, I have tried my best to. When there’s a genuine emergency, there is no option but to stay back.

Even at my first job, when a senior demanded I stay overtime to complete *his* work, I refused. I knew if he actually sat down to do his work, he wouldn’t require any help. He kept complaining about his age (he was in his 40s) and how he could not take too much burden at work anymore. This unreasonable emotional blackmail did not work either. The 40s is the new 30s or 20s or whatever you choose it to be. It is all in the mind. If you feel you are ageing and you cannot do much, then damn right, you cannot.

The end story is that I got what I wanted – not to work overtime.

I have to say I was privileged when I first started working. I was not in dire need of money. I had a support system. If I were desperate, I would have compromised more and said yes to a lot of work I did not want to do. Work was not a priority in my 20s. I was preoccupied with living my life, having fun, getting my heart broken, and spending all my money without saving a bit.

Many people compromise at work because they do not have a support system at home to fall back on. Maybe they are the sole earning member; maybe they are in a lot of debt. When the responsibilities pile on, which they will as you age, so does the burden of compromising. You tend to become more afraid of losing your job, and you play it safer and become more diplomatic.

I see many employees working overtime mainly to please their bosses. They take that first step – to work overtime. Their bosses never asked for it. I realized that once you start working overtime, there’s no going back. Your coworkers (and boss) would keep expecting you to put in those extra hours. “You have done it before, so why not now?

Once you establish a boundary that you are available to work only during your scheduled hours, things become simpler. Everyone will stop nagging you to stay back. Your body will also nag you to leave work on time. Some stay back out of habit. They are used to working overtime, and it has become a part of their life now.

What makes us work harder than required might also be due to imposter syndrome. That feeling that you are not good enough and you need to try extra hard to safeguard your job. Some do this by working extra hours. But when the work you produce within your work hours is of good quality, working extra is really not required. Try to focus and give your work your full attention during work hours. This should be more than enough. 

You might have to deal with people asking, “Leaving already?” when you exit on time. Pay them no heed. It’s your work-life balance that is at stake. If you feel working after hours is the only way to live, by all means, work overtime. If you wish to have a life outside of work, make it a point always to leave work on time! The ones who are spending too much time at office are creating the wrong standard for the rest who wish to maintain a work-life balance. Some (like my senior I mentioned at the start of this post) do not know proper time management. Or they are plain lazy. They spend hours chatting away with coworkers and then suddenly realize they have a lot of work to do at 4 PM. The rest who spend their working hours productively get reprimanded for leaving office on time—office politics at its best.

I am not as privileged as before. I need to work to earn my bread and butter. I do not have a robust support system, yet I cannot get myself to be at the office post my work hours. I have many interests – my job is only a part of it. To deprive myself of all other interests for the sake of my career is plain sacrilege.

To maintain sanity, pursuing your hobbies and interests is a must. Why wait till retirement to do what you like?