'Start-up' the future

It is a brave new ecosystem where work promises to be an endless experiment.

As I left for work, my son, who has a freshly-minted degree, informed me that he was planning to attend a job interview. It was a relief to know he was actually planning to do something, so I wished him the very best and silently hoped that he would at least comb his hair before the event.

When I returned home, I found him lounging on the sofa with his laptop, as bleary eyed as he was when I left, in the same set of faded clothes , hair as tousled. “What happened to the interview,” I asked. “That was done” he replied. “You went looking like this?”I exclaimed. I was immediately instructed to chill. The interview had happened on Skype apparently.

I recall the days of job hunting some two decades ago when we were tutored and trained to make the all-important ‘good first impression’. It was considered necessary to dress , walk and greet the prospective employer appropriately. Certain skills were regarded as important as technical qualifications to  decide whether a person was suitable for a job. Now, there is an entirely new set of parameters. Start-ups which woo youngsters are at pains to ensure that their employees feel at home in their offices. Maybe they’ll even offer ‘work-out-of-bed’ options in sometime.

It is quite a phenomenon to see youngsters attracted to start-ups – willing to junk safer options for the excitement of doing something different and something new. The uncertainty by itself is a challenge. And perhaps the most attractive proposition is that they have no legacy issues. A brave new ecosystem where it is cool jobs that matter and work promises to be an endless experiment is the name of the game. As a result, we find many bright youngsters sitting in start-ups  cranking up algorithms for all the problems the world faces.

The fascination for the original and unique clearly begins with the choice of names by which they call themselves. They certainly do not seem to believe that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Some of them rip apart two very legitimate meaningful words and yank them together for a catchy jingle effect! Some others seem to have a preference for noxious banned chemicals and pull out a consonant or two for the teaser effect. I guess all this strategy – if it can be called that – gives them a head start. And well, they have contributed some creative phrases to the dictionary as only their newly coined words can fully express the ideas that have simmered in their unkempt heads.

It is surprising that many of those who cannot be bothered with mundane choices like salary negotiations or survival essentials outthink the world with their futuristic ideas. These youngsters who are so oblivious of the past and even the present, overturn ideas that have trundled along for decades, with a menacing purpose. And the speed with which they pick themselves up after a fall and find something strange and wonderful could inspire a modern day Lewis Carrol. But, of course, they have never heard of Alice in Wonderland!

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