Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Change is the Constant

Life is not easy. It is not a straight line. It is not simple. It is not even predictable.

Life throws opportunities at you. You either take them or let them pass.

When you consider those opportunities, you often get a peep at the challenges which will follow if you take up the opportunity. It could be a new job or further studies or something that you have never done before.

I lost my first corporate job in the IT recession of 2001. I was happy. I did not like that job and was not enjoying it so the 'pink slip' was a welcome change. I did not pick up another job and instead took up training. Personality Development Programs for teenagers, Vedic Mathematics and then Group Discussion and Personal Interview skills for MBA aspirants … all in a span of 1.5 years. Loved that phase of life.

Then came my MBA at NITIE which gave me a taste of hostel life for the first time (ironically, I was in my home city of Mumbai and still staying in NITIE Hostel). It was a welcome change, a new experience in life. I enjoyed it to the max and relish those days.  

MBA@NITIE gave me job at Satyam. And I, who had never thought of going abroad for work or studies, faced the prospect of going to 'foren' lands for extended periods on projects. The first one was Yash-Chopra-land Switzerland.

It was a huge cultural shock – life out there is soooo different. Streets are clean, buses run on time, very few people around (and you put a Mumbaite into such a place, imagine the shock).

Next came the challenge of finding an apartment for rent. It was a weird system where you went on seeing apartments and applying for those you liked. And then forget all about it. They would contact you if you were lucky to be allotted. If not, you continued to see and apply. After the first 2 weeks, we were applying to every available apartment. 10 years ago, we did not have real estate aggregator websites for Swiss and 'mobile apps' did not even exist. It was difficult but very interesting.

I eventually found an apartment – it was not by choice. I got it simply because it was in a very bad shape and no one was applying for it. I lived there for a few months and continued to search for something better. And then changed. I lost some good money in breaking the old contract and getting a new one done and paying agency fees but I was supposed to be there for long and something as basic at the houe you stay in had to be right.

I lived in Geneve for over a year and somehow the word that comes to my mind to describe that stay is "serene". It was a serene change in my life.

Wish sites like and others were there to help the search process then.

Well, even now, with the help of these sites, the search has simplified but it's not easy. Housing is one of the most important decisions of life that has a significant impact on your daily life … and there is a lot to be done in this area. Companies are re-orienting themselves and spending more time understanding their customers and their needs and how best to support them in their search for their housing.

Found this interesting video which shows how is re-inventing themselves in terms of how they serve their customers as well as how they brand themselves in alignment with the modern times.

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