Is it possible to live in a place of our own choice, work and manage our professional and personal life to the best of our abilities and feel happy about the choice we have made? This is the basic question that James Joseph asks in his debut book God’s Own Office. This is an amazing story of a determined man, starting out from the backwaters of Kerala, becoming a corporate leader in the US and then successionally returning to log out of his tiny village office in Kerala.
The book is all about how one man worked successfully for a global giant like Microsoft from his village Aluva in Kerala without cutting off ties from the everyday corporate world and still managing to function, enjoying life, far from the madding crowd in the lap of mother nature. His new office-cum-residential abode is situated in front of the Periyar river. Every day is a brand new adventure listening to the chirping of birds, watching them nest, getting fresh fish from the local fishermen... this man starts his day, logging in to work even as he looks out of his window and feels thankful for his God’s Own Office.
Vividly describing this office, the author writes, “I fill my slow moments watching some brilliant scenes of nature like the courtship dance of snakes or kingfishers, parrots and bulbuls building nests and chicks taking their first flight. I can watch fish jump over the water in the morning and evening. I also get to see the art of fishing by river otters, kites, giant herons, cormorants, pied kingfishers and the local fishermen. Instead of extended lunch breaks at the food court, I have a warm home cooked lunch. Some days, I take a boat to our adopted farm on an island to check our progress and bring back some fresh vegetables. I spend time across the various offices to proactively connect with all my colleagues and maintain a personal connect. Such a location will keep you motivated and you will work extra hard so you can keep working from your God’s Own Office.”
The author traces the inspiring story of his own journey right from his childhood days to working in the US and UK and how he takes a life changing decision to move back to India within three to five years. Moving from job to job and gaining experience at different levels of management, finally, he joins Microsoft India at Bengaluru. Over a period of time, he convinces his bosses to move him back to his home town. Many of his colleagues and friends are skeptical about his decision and question if it would work at the higher managerial levels to function from such a remote place in India.
Now how he makes the shift, how his family adjusts and how he sets up a functional office that would connect and work and how every month, he flies off to Bengaluru for meetings with chief and senior executives and then returns to his home office in Kerala has been described delightfully and colorfully in this book. Simplifying the concept of working from home, James Joseph writes how he coordinated with various teams and departments and global cities to hold successful workshops and conferences which was a difficult task but how he still managed to do. Later, chucking his job at Microsoft, he finally returns to his roots and ends up as a jackfruit seller. He forms his own initiative, Jackfruit 365 and creates an organized market for this nutrient rich fruit in India.
The book is part memoir and part how-to-achieve-these-change-in-one’s-life manual. In fact, God’s Own Office may well inspire you to transform your own life. The author has further provided tips and techniques for anyone frustrated with living in cities and how they too can bring this change. How do you set up a home office? How do you integrate with the local community? Where do your kids go to school? How do you convince your company to give you this opportunity? It is a book that not only guides and advises you, but also inspires you to make the change to lead a more happy and invigorating life.