Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Prepare your parents

My dad didn't take it well at all.

And here I was, thinking that I had prepared them very well. I had talked about it several times when I visited them in India over the Christmas holidays. And I had mentioned over the phone that I was quitting.

And when I called them to let them know that it was over, the first question my dad asked was, "Will you be able to get a job in Chicago itself?" For a brief moment, I was afraid I would get upset and say something to my dad that I would later regret, but I managed to stay calm.
"I am not looking for another job in Chicago," I told him.
There was silence on the phone from his end. I sensed that he was a little puzzled by all this. Now, I know why this would be. It is one thing for a father in India to tell others, "My son works for a Fortune 500 company in Chicago." It is quite another for him to say, "My son is, ahem, sitting at home in Chicago." Doesn't quite have the same cachet, I know.

"Well, with your qualifications, you will get a very good job in India," my father said, no doubt to reassure me. It became very clear to me that I had not prepared him at all. The simple truth is that I don't want a job in India or anywhere else for that matter. But things have to be taken slowly.
"Yes, you are right," I told him. I will burn that bridge when I get to it.

But here's my first lesson for all of you contemplating leaving your corporate job mid-career and sacking out: Prepare your parents, over and over again.

No comments: