Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Center for Micro Finance Work Culture

The following exchanges more or less sum up my work experience at CMF:

Me: Hey, Professionalism…
Professionalism: Yea?
Me: Suck it!

Me: Excuse me, 9-5 work schedule?
9-5 Work Schedule: What can I do for you?
Me: Blow me ;)

Me: Yo, Drug Testing
Random Drug Testing: Is something wrong?
Me: Randomize this! (exhales cloud of smoke)

Sorry, that last one was a shameless experimental design joke......

Amorous Indians and Chinese Americans

My colleague Theresa Chen sticks out like a sore thumb in rural India; plus she’s a foreign lady, and a lot of Indian men have wild assumptions about the virtue, or lack thereof, of foreign women. However, Theresa has perfected a method of getting rid of even the most ineligible bachelors, be they on train journeys, in shady Indian bars, or in random villages.

Indian Hopeful: Hello, how are you (grins stupidly…..)
Theresa: *with blank stare* How are YOU?
Indian Hopeful: ….ummm, I am very good thank you (caught off-guard, the hopeful will rack his thoughts for a suitable pick-up line and then….lightbulb)…..Do you like India?
Theresa: Do YOU like India?
Indian Hopeful: *nervous chuckle* What do you mean, this is my country?!!...(more racking of thoughts)….are you married? (they are always this smooth)
Theresa: Are YOU married?
Indian Hopeful: Is there an echo in here?
Theresa: Is there an echo in here?
Indian Hopeful: ummm, I’m going to go over there now….
Theresa: (smiling, softly and mostly to herself) ….suckaaaa

Monday, September 15, 2008

I'm back

It’s been a while, and I won’t lie…..I missed my blog. I think it’s time to come back.

I’m finally finished with medical school secondaries, and lying gratuitously on paper about my desire to attend medical school. Now I have medical school interviews scheduled, and have been frantically preparing to lie in person about my desire to attend medical school.

In case your wondering, no, I’m not being completely forced into this profession which being of the brown persuasion, I can’t blame you for thinking. No no, I am contemplating ruining the best years of my life entirely unpressured by my parents. To their credit, they’ve never forced me to do anything more drastic than eat my vegetables.

Indeed, I am in the midst of a raging quarter life crisis, and wondering what I want to do when I grow up; the thought of spending the next 7 years in medical education is terrifying to someone who is afraid of committing to anything at the present moment. Plus, reading medical student blog doesn’t help (check out the following for a shining example: http://www.medschoolhell.com/2007/04/24/101-things-you-wish-you-knew-before-starting-medical-school/)

My angst is boring even me though, so I’ll fill you in on the details of my nutty Indian life. Long story short, I joined a development economics research institute about 3 months ago, and I really had no idea what to expect. My interview consisted of a lot of questions about randomization, statistical methods, etc.

I was thinking my job my consist of the same, but as I’m finding out, I’ve accepted what may be the zaniest position I will ever enjoy:

1.) On a quiet Monday, the window of our dilapidated 6 story office (actually a residential 3 br apartment illegally rented as an office) popped out while one of the office staff was cleaning it, and plummeted sixty feet to land in the middle of a busy thoroughfare. Thankfully no one was killed. Actually, no one was surprised either…..

2.) I made a 6 hour journey by Indian government bus from Gulbarga to Hyderabad. On Indian buses, strangers will sit on you, it’s quite normal and I was sat on, numerous times. If you ask them what they’re doing, they’ll look at YOU funny.

3.) Numerous village animals will interrupt surveys with clients. Chickens, goat, cats, dogs, and the like. Most memorably/adorably, I was accosted by a baby cow while training one of my surveyors. It was not interested in me so much as the green mat I was sitting, which it spent ten minutes thoughtfully grazing (I suppose it looked like vegetable matter), before the woman we were surveying had it chased off.

Into this mix, throw my insane, Jihadi Muslim family and bizarre expat friends (who have to be nuts, in the best way possible, for leaving cushy American/European/Japanese jobs to come earn a shitty salary while living in India), and you have the ingredients of a long strange dream.