2017 – A Year in the Making

At of the date this was written, we are on the last month of the first half of 2017 – or June as most people call it. I last updated this blog sometime during Q4 for 2016 and a lot has happened in my life since that time, so I thought I would do a midyear retrospective. As I have rededicated myself to this medium, both for my short-term sanity as well as to keep a living document of my past-self so I can check the shit future-me says, I wanted to give a TL;DR of my last 6 months. I will no doubt be referring to events that have happen during this period in the coming year, so I might as well give some context as to my absence.

January: Sciatic Imperfections  

This year could not have started out worse. On day 2, determined to get into a better physical state, I went to the gym with my then-partner and her family. Egged on to lift more weight than my last rep, I did an extra set of machine-assisted rows. As soon as I set the pulley down I heard a pop and I knew something was wrong. Let this be a lesson to all the other skinny Indian guys out there – know your limits. You are probably more Aziz and less Anush in most aspects of your life.

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 8.55.35 PM

Master of None Season 1 – Go watch it. Stop reading this and go now.

Over the past 6 months since that incident, I have seen a variety of doctors, PTs, and massage therapists and the diagnosis has been remarkably similar regardless of medical degree: I probably have a herniated disc in my lower back that is pinching on a nerve. Physically, its been a tough year thus far – back injuries are way less fun than how 90’s cartoons made them seem.

I’m afraid to cough the wrong way now. Yes, there is a wrong way to cough.

At the time, I had no way of knowing what the months ahead would have in store but looking back, this injury was a case study in foreshadowing to rival R + L = J. If you don’t know what that is, don’t look it up you social pariah.

Back Pain: 0/10 – The Cruciatus Curse should be renamed the “Herniatusdiscus” curse. It would probably hurt more.

February: Winter is here

This one will be short. I separated with my longtime partner of 4 years a few weeks after my birthday. Awesome birthday gift, right?!

My god – nothing has made me feel older than relating to Squidward.

We were rocky for a long time and after a series of emotionally draining and mentally taxing conversations, it became increasingly clear that there didn’t exist a future in which both parties got everything they wanted from the relationship. At the time, I was devastated at this conclusion but we just weren’t right for one another. Let this be a lesson to all the serial monogamist out there – don’t try and make it work with someone if it fundamentally does not work. Man, if only I could figure out this time travel thing.

Breakup: 7/10 – hard, but necessary. “That’s what she said” – Michael Scott.

Losing my cats due to said breakup: -∞ Pets are amazing and everyone should cherish every moment they get to spend with their pets.

March – April: Career Vacation or Changing Vocation? 

After almost 3 years in the field, I left my career as a Consultant for a prominent digital strategy firm in March. The decision to leave was surprisingly easy, but the aftermath of uncertainty is a feeling that I am very unfamiliar with.

Before I explain why I left, let me first say that I will never say anything bad about the specifics of my old firm. On the whole, I immensely enjoyed my time there – learning more than I thought I could, and making friends and colleagues that have influenced me greatly. It was just my time to explore something new for the following reasons:

  1. Changing personal priorities: At the start, I had no problem with the 80+ hour weeks, the need to be available 24/7, and the blur between professional and personal time. However, over time, I started valuing my personal time more and discovered that I was not willing to give so much of it up for the firm.
  2. The skillset / company-need match: It was getting harder and harder to get on the clients or type of work that I wanted to in a big firm. After a couple successful engagements doing similar work, it is very easy to get pigeonholed/typecast as the guy that does this one thing really well. This is a big problem with client-service firms: it seems the more you learn as a generalist the less valuable you are, but the second you dive into a subject you become the SME (subject matter expert) and that becomes your sole professional identity.
  3. Driving toward my passions: I was neglecting all of my interests for the sake of a job. Related to point #1, when an occupation takes up so much of your week, you can’t help but make sacrifices on your personal growth in the name of “paying your dues”. It came to a point where I only really described myself in the context of my career, and that was the tipping point.

‘Um, I’m a consultant in the digital strategy space. Oh, what do I do for fun? uhh….’

From my experience it seems that over the course of a career, the person who you are currently tends to drift further away from the person that your company initially hired. This rate of personal change might not be met with the same rate of professional change and wherever this occurs, dissatisfaction sprouts.

So I left my consulting career to start a software development company with a few colleagues. Our flagship product, pegged currently as Weeve, strives to be the be-all, end-all for managing your relationships in a professional setting. More on this platform later – I promise.

Leaving Consulting: 7/10 – Difficult to leave mentors, friends, and the prospect of a nice paycheck every 2 weeks. Stability is overrated, right?!

Starting a Company: 10/10 – Incredibly difficult non-stop work, but empowering AF – no better way to continue learning.

May – June: Reset and Refocus

After changes to both my personal and professional life, I needed to do a hard reset. I packed up my life in Oakland for the time being and am spending some quality time in my hometown. While this is a definitely a good change of pace for the time being, certain aspects of this temporary shift were not as inviting. For one, moving across the country has to be up there as one of the most stressful experiences in a 20-something’s life in modern America. If you are as sentimental as me, even the mundane task of deciding what to keep or throw out can turn into an ordeal.

‘But, but everything I own is a special memory – even this one receipt from this one time’

That, plus coordinating where to keep your crap, how to get your car transported and registered in another state, what to do about insurance (thanks Obama…seriously, thanks dude), actually packing and moving boxes with a back that even Mr. Glass from Unbreakable wouldn’t want, and saying bye to some friends – it all adds up to a less than pleasant experience.

Moving: 3/10

Being closer to family and old friends: priceless*.

*not sponsored by MasterCard…yet.

July – December: The Back 6

I hope this gave you a glimpse into the rollercoaster of a year it has been so far. I wrote this all out as a form of personal therapy and also in hopes that some of you might find it relatable. I’m sure that anyone one who reads this has had this type of year to some extent.

In terms of the latter half of this year, I’m very optimistic in the projects, both professional and personal, that I’m putting my time into; most of which will be documented on this site. Stay Alert…Red Alert…2…Yuri’s Revenge.

Stay Thirsty Friends,

Sagar (its like ‘soccer’ with a ‘G’ – damn)

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