The Sapient Ape

Life as an employed MBA grad during an economic recovery. DISCLAIMER: Everything written here is fiction.

The Drug Dealer

The drugs I deal...

Just a sec… let me just dust this blog off…. pssshhhh, psssshhhh, psssshhhh.

There… all fresh, just like new.  Special plice… just fol you!

I come back here after three months and find, scarily, that my hits are still at around 70 a day.  Don’t you people have lives?

So I haven’t written in months — being in a secure job, with a secure non-existent girlfriend, and having no monetary security makes one too content to post one’s angst ridden diatribes on the internet.

Oh wait… I just realized I still have plenty of causes for angst.  On we go then!

So I got this job — I deal drugs to foreigners.  At least that’s what I say to my acquaintances.  In reality, I’m the international business manager at a large pharmaceutical in Bangladesh.  I mean in some ways its very ironic (in so many ways, I won’t even get into ’em all).  Pharma — my dad’s industry, and the industry which I rejected job offers from not too long ago in places like Belgium (but who wants to live there anyway — I actually much prefer Bangladesh, still), from companies like J&J.  But here I am.  Mainly coz of my CEO.  I report directly to him, and he’s pretty awesome.  I’ve never felt like I wanted to be a part of a company, and really work for it and take it as far as it (and I) can go before.  In my previous jobs, I felt like a faceless corporate tool, cogging the machine (and sometimes jamming it up).  Motivation was hard to come by.

Now I’m finally in my element — someone took a chance on me and put me in a leadership position, and I’m up to the challenge (at least I think so — I could get fired tomorrow, but that would be a surprise, from what I see of the quality of manager-level human resources here).  I love it — I love the risks associated with decision making, and I’m not scared to make them.  I’ve always been a risk taker, but usually its been in my private life.  Don’t get me wrong — the risks I took, even in my personal life, were measured ones.  But now I can actually shape long-term strategy by suggesting new (and sometimes risky) courses of action.  I can make things happen — with my CEO’s OK of course — after all, this is still Bangladesh, and every company is a one-man show — although I’d like to think that I make it a 1.25 man show.

That’s me — Mr. 0.25.  But what’s not to love about this job — not only do I report directly to the CEO of a $50 million dollar company, handling $1.2 million worth of business (I hope to increase that to over 2 million this year), but I get to travel and have people underestimate me because of my age and my lack of pharma experience.  I love being underestimated.  Watch that it doesn’t smack you in the ass later.  My dad said an interesting thing the other day.

“Misha you’ll do well here because you’re very easy going.”

“But, baba (dad in Bengali), I also don’t take no shit.”

“And that’s why you succeed — most people here either are too easy going or too demanding.  You are both.”

I walk the fine line of being nice, but being an asshole.  The nice asshole, that’s me.  You’ve all heard me say it before, or read it in between the lines of my blog, or been subject to it in the form of my caustic humor, after which I quickly say “Just kidding, ha ha ha, I didn’t really mean that.”   Even tho I did.  My psychologist friend once said that there’s no such thing as a joke. Fuckin’ shrinks.

...and the drugs I don't.

So yeah — I get a free hand (to some extent), to grow the department and my business as I see fit, and I’m not one to sit around — put me in a position where I can succeed, and I’ll take it as far as I can go.  And drag you all with me, whether you like it or not.  I’m gonna tear shit up and make shit happen.  That’s the American way.

In some ways, this recession was the best thing that could have happened to me — instead of being put into a mid-level managerial position where I would slog out another 3 years before I really made a difference to anyone, I was forced to come back to Bangladesh where the quality of the educated workforce was so low, that I look like a star!  Score!  Its strange — I’m really content to be here for some time — these days, in our fast-paced professional world, its often tough to find an opportunity like that.  The only complaint I have is that there aren’t enough women around here. But maybe that’s a good thing.  I’ve always had a soft spot for the ladies.

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Filed under: Career, Personal, traveling, , , , , , ,

The Sickly-Sweet Smell of Success

I was gonna put a picture of rotting flesh with maggots in it to go along with the theme of my title for this post, but the pics I found were too sick even for me, so here's a sunflower.  Use ur imagination.

I was gonna put a picture of rotting flesh with maggots in it to go along with the theme of my title for this post, but the pics I found were too sick even for me, so here's a sunflower. Use ur imagination.

The measure of success is a fickle baking powder.

Only 4 scant weeks ago, I blindly sucked dirt at the bottom of Depression Ocean, not able to go out to family and outer-family functions without feeling like the leper I see every day on the road to Baridhara.  Today I walked in the hero returned from a glorious victory against the infidel hordes.

So what brought about this change in Bangladeshi “high”-society’s perception of me?  I got a job.

And I hate it.  Not the job, that’s pretty awesome.  But when I see those smiles from moms, aunts and great aunts, their giggles as they discuss me, I want to puke.  Not ‘coz I begrudge them their happiness, but it bothers me that my societal success is measured more by what multinational corporation I help to deface the planet than any intention I may have of doing something with my own initiative that may be better in the long run for my psychological well-being.

‘Coz that’s the measure of a man in Bangladesh — can he bring home the bacon?  Does he have those family values (ie., money, risk-averseness, and settling for less than he’s happy with for the sake of “family”).  But then again I guess that’s the measure of a man anywhere.  Oh society, why did u curse me with a penis?  Luckily for me, the alternative’s much worse.  Oh god (he-who-I-may-not-believe-in) thank you for making me a man.

Don’t get me wrong — my job’s great.  I think its a perfect fit for me, and I think I’ll be good at it.  Most of all, I like the peoplez I’m workin’ with, from the top level down.

But when I look at those moms’ and aunts’ beaming smiles I can’t help but wonder whether I preferred it the other way around. Whether I preferred the whispered jabs and darting looks.  I’m more comfortable in the role of the pariah, the underdog, the unwanted one, the undead, than otherwise.  I’m better off hated, thought of as a failure.  For “success”, or more accurately, comfort — begets complacency.  And I’m way too young to let myself get complacent (see “World Domination Plans — TOP SECRET“).

Nowadays, I find myself leaving family dinners even quicker, using my little nephew’s crying as an excuse to leave as early as possible.  Its an excuse that I’ve seen my sister and bro-in-law use more than once, and I’m a quick learner.  Staying a minute longer than dinner cloys the mouth.

But I’ll play their little game.  Let them try and set me up with their supposed “matches”, now that I am a viable candidate for marriage.  And then I’ll love ’em and leave ’em.  OK, I’ll probably just reject ’em before I even meet ’em.

I do have standards, you know.  All these girls are way too smart and educated for me.  Give me the equivalent of a Bangladeshi “dumb blonde”.  With a nice body.  Hopefully she never got past high school (gimmee an OLP — O-level pash (pass), as my sis says).  I’ve seen too many young Bangladeshi couple’s marriages totaled in a messy affair-ridden divorce to want the same for myself.  My relationships are tumultuous enough (not that I’d trade that — its the spice of wife).

Society here is too boring, hypocritical, and small-minded, and Bengali women are too controlling with just a too much of a splash of insanity for most new marriages to last (yes, the men are to blame as well, probably to a greater degree, but being a man myself, I choose to blind myself to their faults for the purposes of this piece).  I would complain about your upper-class bourgeois members of high society not being able to commit to one person for longer than a few years, but I see just as many divorces among the middle class, so I’m forced to admit that its something deeper.  It’s actually quite amazing how many divorced couples I know of.  If we were conservative Arabs we wouldn’t have this problem.

But shit, like I said.  I like mah women like I like my crazies — crazy.

Was this whole piece just one big contradiction?   Yesno.

Filed under: Personal, , , , , , , , , , ,