A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

On work and holidays

Posted by Pepper on August 25, 2012

– I have always dreamt of working in a big, posh office. The kind of work I do is important, but the look and feel of the office is almost as important to me. I want, not just my own desk, but my own cubicle too. I want gyms in the office building. I want machines that brew good coffee. I want spacious cafeterias. If not all of these things, I want atleast some of these things. They give me a high. Recently, I was made an offer from a company that had it’s office in a dingy building. The role was okay. So was the money. Not good, but not terrible either. What I found terrible was the office space. One look at it, and I just didn’t feel like working there. So I turned it down. After all, if I will be spending most of my day there, I better like the place. This was what I thought. But the moment I turned it down, my brain decided to burden my mind by loading it with oodles of self doubt. Am I stupid? Who gives importance to these things? Definitely not people who are waiting for the right opportunity to kick start their career.

– Is there no dearth of crappy offers, or do I have high standards? I ask myself that question often. And then I conclude – I do not have high standards. There is indeed, no dearth of crappy jobs. I am made a new offer every few days, but boy, those jobs are so not appealing. I have now stopped berating myself. If I do not like it, I will not take it up. Period.

– I was so put off by the kind of offers I saw around me, that I stopped looking out for jobs altogether. It’s been a while now. Recruiters still keep contacting me on their own, and do their best to sell certain jobs to me. I feel like getting into the phone and punching them, because they just do not understand the meaning of ‘no’. Are they recruiters or sales men/women?

– I *almost* took up a  job. Actually, I did take up a job. And then I retracted. But we worked out a good arrangement. I now freelance for them. Along with a few other companies/people I freelance for. I realised, freelancing was a great option for me. It gives me the flexibility I need at this point. It lets me travel on a whim. Which means, I can go and see Mint when I want to. I can also go on holidays.

– I got a little too carried away with this freelancing business at  one point. With the enthusiasm peaking, I took on too many assignments. More than I could handle. That meant busy days and sleepless nights. And a lot of deadlines. I learnt my lesson and decided to only take on work that I could handle peacefully. My sleep is precious to me.

– What I dislike about freelancing is that some people take the word ‘free’ in it, a little too seriously. Do they really think you are doing the job for free? As a gift to them? Or is it that they forget to pay me? I *hate* chasing people for payments. As a result, I wait for weeks. I better learn to open my mouth soon. Thankfully, not everybody makes me wait endlessly.

– I have also been wondering how people work from home. The distractions and temptations are far too many. The bed looks inviting whenever I try working on an assignment. Or I am overcome by the urge to read a book. Or I happen to pass by the living room and see a good movie playing. Or I feel hungry for the nth time. Or I get pulled into a futile discussion. Concentrating on anything while lounging in the pink comforts of your home is hard. I don’t know how some people do it.

– The good news is that I am on the verge of something very exciting. Yes, a good holiday. We’re off to Europe. In 6 days. This is one trip I have been looking forward to. We’re visiting Prague, Paris, some place in the South of France, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Venice. People who live there or are familiar with the places mentioned, please bring on the recommendations. Any must sees or must dos?

– Although I am very excited, I am also scared. Scared to leave my parents alone for almost 3 weeks. I really wonder, how did I live away from them for all these years? I’ve asked them to be good kids while I am gone. I do however, want to be able to talk to them everyday. And I wonder how I am going to do it. Finding public phones will be a task. I am looking at calling cards and prepaid service providers that have good rates for international calling. I used to use Talk Mobile when I lived in UK. Again, any recommendations for cheap calling from France to India?

– I am asking myself to keep calm and deep breathe. Everything will be okay. Everything will be good. Paranoia won’t take me anywhere. I should just focus on having a good time. Right? Right!

65 Responses to “On work and holidays”

  1. amrita said

    Hey I live in Brussels! Well like 20 mins out of it and I work in Brussels so if you need anything or have some time to catch up let me know! Have a great trip!

  2. Hmm y not UK tooo..
    Enjoy your holiday , these days u can buy calling cards or best is buy prepaid airtel Sims, you shud see them at the airport they are cheap too..

    Have fun and enjoy your holidays…

  3. well, the office ambiance definitely would make difference to the motivational level also the fact that after a point it only becomes a hygiene factor and not a motivational one … i too always wished to work in a similar office as described by u.. a friend in google gives exact definition of their office as you wish to go to..:)

    Hats off to the people who work from home , in fact the level of concentration back home is “0”, distractions and casualness that comes as a by product of comfort level that the mind is adapted to being at home and makes it difficuilt all the more, to wrk from home

    WOW !!! europe sounds sooo exciting … dnt have any tips fr yr trip..

    only gooood luck and may u hav loads n loads of fun!!!

    http://strokesofafirsttime.blogspot.com/

    • Pepper said

      I *love* the Google office. Especially the one in Mountain View, California.

      You are right. Level of concentration while working from home is very low, if not zero. I guess I say that, because I manage to get some work done from home, despite it all.. Wouldn’t have been possible with zero concentration. But it’s very hard!

      Thanks so much.

  4. My Era said

    Wow! I am amazed by the way I can relate so many of your posts. It feels great to learn that I am not the only one thinking on the lines I do 😀 Thank you Pepper for making me feel so good after a crappy day yesterday.

    A trip to Europe sounds super cool. I hope you have a memorable trip and loads of good time 🙂

    As far accepting crappy job offers, I was so inclined on accepting a few that my mum had to intervene and put sense in my head that I had no need to go for something absolutely impractical and so-not-my-type kind of opportunities. I too have temporarily slowed down on that front.

    • Pepper said

      It really does feel good to know you aren’t the only one thinking on the lines you do, doesn’t it? That is why I love blogging. It makes you feel united.

      Taking up unsuitable job offers really isn’t a viable solution to anything. It’s good to realise that and free ourselves of all doubt. 🙂

  5. techie2mom said

    Hey enjoy your holiday!!!
    Good to know you found the kind of work you liked.
    About wanting to work in a plush office, I would say it’s a personal choice.
    Personally as part of my job I have been to slums and also worked at the kind of plush office you talked about.of course I liked it better while working indoors but I also realize that whatever I learnt at my on site job helped me get a more comfortable job.

    • Pepper said

      Of course. Each experience adds value to our overall learning. Never denied that. Just that being a part of a dingy environment everyday doesn’t do much good to your productivity either.

  6. Smita said

    You are doing good by not taking up offers which are not meeting your standards, I mean there is no poitn aceepting something half heartedly and then leaving it.
    And you know couple of days back I was pondering over the question of Work from Home, I am sure that as far as I am concerned, I cannot do that.
    And if u want to fulfill your dream office ka dream join my work place, we have all that and more. The only problem wud be, the travelling part 🙂
    And enjoy that holiday, stop worrying about youar parents, there are not kids. So chill 🙂

    • Pepper said

      That’s the thing Smita, in order for a job to work out for you, so many things have to fall in place. The role, the job profile, the pay, the location of the office, the kind of commute you will have, your growth prospects, etc, etc.
      It’s hard to find something that meets all your criteria, even if you are asking for the bare minimum. I see a lot of good roles around the area in which you live. I don’t even apply there. If I got calls from recruiters, I turn them down in a jiffy. Because travelling there would mean a 5-6 frigging hour commute, everyday! I can’t imagine doing that and giving up my life..
      Can you and your office please shift closer to me? I’ll be the first to apply 😛

  7. Tanishka said

    Wow… A trip to Europe…. Super awesome gal… have lots of fun…. 🙂

    Working from home is distracting,… What I finish in three hours in office took eight hours when I was working from home and I just knew this is not meant for me…

    • Pepper said

      Hmm. Yep. It’s hard. Sigh. But then, it is easy to say “It’s not meant for me” when you DO have a choice, right? For some people who don’t have a choice, they’d damn well take what they get and make sure work gets done at whatever cost.

  8. S said

    European holiday? I thought somebody just wrote a post a while ago, lamenting about the lack of finances.. You pretend to not have money n then go n spend like there is no tomorrow. I was right about you, You r just an attention seeker. You only write posts that make you popular..You should stop writing such far fetched, dramatic n fake posts.

    • Pepper said

      Aha, a troll. Hello!

      Firstly, I don’t remember writing a post lamenting about the lack of finances. In one of my posts, I only said I need the money, because neither Mint, nor I have a steady source of income. Obvious that we need money and can’t live off our savings forever? In the same post, I even question my own self by asking how much money is enough money.

      Regarding my European holiday and its attached expenses, I would have actually told you how and why this trip came about had you not been so condescending. But you certainly don’t deserve any explanation.

      If you find my posts fake, do yourself a favour and stop reading them.

  9. Bubblegum said

    Hey hi, You can check matrix cards. Generally people who go on Europe tour use the same.You just have to call those people and they will come to your place to sell you the card!

  10. vethal said

    You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.

  11. Swaram said

    Wow that sounds like a fab holiday 🙂 have fun Pepper!

  12. Jazz said

    I thought I’d not mind dingy offices but when I ponder now, I don’t think I’d prefer really, that too after having worked in an office with great facilities. So your expectations are not high, you will soon get your dream job.

    And EUROPE ?? That must be a dream vacation. I’ve friends in Brussels, let me ask them about the places to see.

    You guys have fun !! 🙂

  13. Jack Point said

    I was advised that Bruges, a short train ride from Brussels is a better place to visit than Brussels, although I have been there yet (its on my “to do list”) the pictures look very pretty.

    Having a pleasant work environment has a positive effect, pyschologically, the same as being in any beautiful building, whether a house, a museum or a public building. This is where the “art” in architecture comes in, methinks?

    I have a question on travel in Sri Lanka, I wonder if the same rule applies in India?

    http://jestforkicks.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-basic-rule-for-travel-in-sri-lanka.html

    Have a great trip 🙂

    • Pepper said

      You’re right about Bruges. That’s what I heard too. But this is a very short trip. We decided to stop at some place in Belgium on our way to Amsterdam from Paris. So we will only be there for a few hours. Bruges was our first choice, but then we ended up settling with Brussels because the train journey was cheaper and better connected:|

      Let me look at your post. Thank you for your suggestion, will have a great trip hopefully!

  14. Swati said

    Hi Pepper, I have lived in Europe for many years now. Let me know if you need any recommendations.

  15. So excited for you peppy on your upcoming trip! Have lots of fun 🙂 Sadly, no recommendations from me as I have never been to europe! Prague is a beautiful place. Some of my groupmates work out of our prague office and I have heard it is a beautiful place with awesome beer! 😉

  16. R's Mom said

    Errrr..as usual I am late..but enjoy your trip and have tons of fun 🙂

    The job thing…yep freelancing is tough but it gives you a lot of flexibility..something I want to do when I grow older eh?

  17. Pepper, the office in which I work in is a dream office, with harbour view, cafe, gyms and the colleagues are just awesome, the thing is that this is my first job in AUS and also its entry level position. After my 2 years of work experience here, I know I will be able to find bit of senior position with better pay but scared to leave this awesome office & colleagues.. Not sure should I give importance to office space or Money??? There is always one thing we need to sacrifice, isnt it?
    Have fun in Europe Pepper, do post some pictures when you return, specially at Eiffel tower 🙂

    • Pepper said

      Oh I know how that feels. Your office almost becomes your comfort zone. Letting go of it must be hard
      I’ve always wanted to click pics in front of the Eiffel Tower. Will surely bring back loads 🙂

  18. Woo! Hoo !! Europe !! Have FUN girl, LOADSA it 🙂 Please drive to Monaco’s Capital city – Monte Carlo. Its a few minutes drive from Nice. Can you believe its actually another country? Ooh! la! la! you’l love it. Please click photos outside the casino and don’t bother going in – last I heard, 10 yrs ago, 5K euros was the first deposit. (*cough*cough*) If things haven’t changed, you can actually walk around the casino and hang out at the lovely mosaic terrace where the uber rich are flown in by helicopters to take them into the casino directly via a special entrance. There are gardens around there to hang out and the terrace overlooks the sea, which is very picturesque. As you walk along streets in the south of France, which you must, please DO NOT resist the urge to pluck fruit off the trees lined along the streets. I did and regret till date 😦 Other must do’s would be to eat pizza at street carts, crepes in France. Do try different cheeses and wines. I don’t know which part of ‘SoF’, but if its anywhere near Lyon, go to Lake Annecy. Drooling on memories apart, here’s a real life saving tip. I hope vouz parlez Francais? .If not, please learn up some opening statements in French. They’ll be kind enough to convert to English once you attempt to speak French. If you speak directly in English, however politely, be prepared to be looked through. Mint, I hope derives satisfaction in drawing a parallel to TN, infamous for not speaking in Hindi as I did, with my husband 🙂

  19. Bhavani said

    Have a great vacation Pepper…..all I have to say is carry a comfortable pair of shoes and minimal language if you are doing the Eurail. That was one advice we got and followed and boy that helped. But it is beautiful and lot of things to soak in….Enjoy…

    -Bhavani

  20. Bhavani said

    Oops I meant luggage in the above sentence. Sorry for the typo

  21. Amit said

    If you are visiting Paris, be ready for being surrounded by loads of people. It’s peak season at present. 🙂
    I think you will be doing all the touristy stuff – Eiffel Tower (do go to the top), Louvre, Notre Dame, travel by Paris Metro (and look at the wheels. 🙂 ), Arc de Triomphe etc etc.
    I will recommend a boat tour on Siene and a visit to Centre Pompidou (Its a beautiful Art gallery).
    Try DisneyLand too but it will be very very crowded and if you have time, visit the Palace of Versailles too.

    About office space – I agree wih you. Work environment is important.

    • Pepper said

      We’re going to be in Paris for the most part of our stay. I think after living in Mumbai, I am used to battling the crowds.
      Thanks for the recommendations. 🙂
      I doubt we’ll do Disney Land though. I had to forcefully drag Mint to the Disney Land in the US by his collars. He’d never agree to go there again.

  22. Chooch said

    Have fun..and travel safe…delurking just to tell you!Oh and I enjoy reading you;)

  23. Titaxy said

    congratulations on the freelancing opportunities 🙂 and enjoy the euro vacation,.

  24. KR said

    Great to hear you are working on your own terms! Thats always the best thing to do. Wishing you the very best! 🙂

    Euro trip! Lovely 🙂 Sim card – I think Matrix calling card helps as you dont need to change numbers in different countries..
    And suggestions – if you are in Paris the first sunday of September, do Louvre.. It is free entry on first sunday. And in Amsterdam, you can rent a motor boat, or canal bike for 3 hours & explore the city on your own.. I think it is much better than the ‘touristy’ canal tours others normally take…

    • Pepper said

      Oh damn, I reach Paris only on 2nd night I think. That is the first Sunday of Sep. I shouldn’t tell Mint about this free entry though. He is a sucker for deals and freebies. He’ll be too miserable paying the fee and entering the place after he finds out we just missed the free entry. Lol.
      Thanks, thanks!

      • KR said

        Hehe 🙂 Even I look for free deals everywhere!! Also, wanna say there are quite a few French artists near Sacre Coeur, Paris if you are interested in self-portrait by French artist…… also, if you are interested in Improv, Boom Chicago in Amsterdam has a decent show every evening..

  25. I just read this post Pepper..and am so very excited for you!! Guessed it right..the moment I read ‘off to Europe!’..I forgot everythign else in there 😀

    I saw you pinged..and looks like it has to do something with the trip? Email pls..there are only 3 more days to fly..yayyyyyy!

    Stay cheerful, do a little happy jig I say! 🙂

    • Pepper said

      You are one smart girl AHK. You can guess why I pinged 😛 It was past 2 am here, I should have realised you’d be having lunch! Anyway, I needed some info a little urgently at that time, so went on to bug somebody else. But I still have a few questions, so let me email!

  26. Girl! You’re coming to my (temporary) part of the world! Eek so exciting!! How long is this trip for, and are you going with Mint? Holidays are amazing, so I hope you have a fantabulous time. And Europe is so beautiful during this season with all the warm colours, longish nights, and the perfect mixture of heat and cold.

    Of all the places you mentioned, I’ve been to Paris and Prague. Both are relatively touristy, and there are loads you can do. Food is expensive in Prague, but don’t forget to try Czech beer, and just…breathe in the central European air. Very different from Paris, which can be quite over-rated. If you can, make a trip to Versailles because it’s beauty personified. I’ve heard South of France is absolutely gorgeous as well, and it’s known for its natural beauty, the fantastic weather, and wine. 🙂 I hope to hear some beautiful tales, lady! Bon voyage!

    Love, Miffalicious. [www.miffalicious.com]

    • Pepper said

      This trip is about 18 days. Yes, going with Mint. I love the sound of Europe at this time, only hope it isn’t too cold for me. I don’t have much tolerance to the cold.

      Love the little insight you’ve given me to some of the places. Tales from the trip will be put up soon, I hope. Thanks a lot!

  27. metherebel said

    Congratulations on the freelancing assignments. They have their advantages as well as disadvantages. I do want to try freelancing sometime later, but I do not know if I can stay at home and work since there will be distractions like you said.

    Enjoy your Europe vacation. Hope you have a great time. I shall wait for your post on your vacation 🙂

    And yes, Happy Journey 😉

  28. Kay said

    Europe trip sounds awesome, we are planning a trip in October . we’ll be covering Czech, Austria, Slovenia and Swiss. I’ve been to Paris and Venice already and I loved them both. Especially Venice.

    are you flying from one place to the other? based on what you listed, it seems like you are . If you don’t mind, can you email me your Prague itinerary? I’m looking for tips and suggestions too.

    Thanks.

  29. Ti said

    Hey pepper, this one is for you http://tisflashpoint.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/the-first-award/ (One Lovely Blog Award). However, you do not have to follow the rules if you don’t wish to. They have just been put for formality sake. This is just to let you know that i love your blog. your posts are so lively. they are wonderful 🙂 Cheers!!

  30. Hi, I stumbled upon ur blog after few detours 🙂 and felt like commenting on this post. I once didn’t take an offer made by an MNC coz I didn’t see the restrooms of the office yet!

  31. Charu said

    I share the same fascination of working in a chic and ultramodern office….and be comfortable too..after all we spend half of our day in our offices and that should justify the need….happy holidaying :)))

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