Monday, April 19, 2010

Its just a job.......

Do you ever get to hear "Hey, its just a job, so chill!", when you offload your office troubles to friends/family?

Its just a job....... or is it?
Let us see.
Most of our waking hours are spent in office, physically or virtually.
Work is the axis around which our life spins.
We plan, schedule and re-schedule events according to our work; marriage, vacations, reunions to name a few. Thankfully we have not yet begun re-scheduling our birthday parties .... or have we?

During our working life, work becomes the number one priority; family, friends and we ourselves become secondary in importance and attention.
Work sure is important, very important, I agree but look at the paradox that our behaviour has created.
When we are studying, our life did not just revolve around studies. Extra-curricular activities were encouraged and valued.
'All-round development' was the key. We did not ignore friends or hobbies. We cared for our happiness and even rebelled at times to achieve it.

But as soon as we get a job, we dedicate, or rather surrender ourselves to our job. Do we ever question ourselves, why we do so?
One of the reasons why we work is for money. Money is a necessity. Sure, but enslaving oneself in the pursuit of money is questionable.
There are people who find pleasure in this kind of enslavement as their only goal is earning money. But on the other hand there are people who work for intellectual stimulation or for an identity or to feel important or simply to keep busy. Whatever the reason for work, one should always review his situation often to identify gaps between his goals and his reality.

Its always faster and easier to cure in the early stages, it is said. This holds true for every situation.
Symptoms of discomfort are very useful in identifying the gaps. The symptoms could be on a physical level such as weight gain or loss, headaches, digestive problems, colds and coughs, sleeplessness, high or low blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, aches and pains, etc.
The symptoms could also manifest on the psychological level such as irritability, lethargy, sadness, mood swings, anger, etc.
Usually, we go to a doctor to treat physical conditions but tend to ignore the psychological conditions until they affect us physically. For example, we ignore the feeling of lethargy until we gain 10 pounds and then join a gym!

A lot has been written about 'work-life balance' and various kinds of management such as stress, time, money etc. But do we really use those principles? When faced with a deadline don't you still shut out the world and work till the job gets done? Such times occur in everyone's lives, but if they start occurring too often then its time to sit up and take action against it. Scientific studies suggest that stress is good in moderation. Its the same as the universal principle of 'anything in moderation is good'.

My friend Ajay came up with a phrase, "If you want to know the fruit, know its root.". So we've seen the symptoms, now lets look at the causes.
If you see your office in your dreams then its time you spent some amount of your waking time in identifying and resolving work issues, for a good night's sleep!

The causes could be numerous. A few that I can think of are, lack of recognition, lack of responsibility, lack of trust, below par monetary compensation, below par position/title/role, work overload, lack of support, etc.

Now what can the possible cure be? This is a much debated and discussed issue. Theoretically the cures could be asking for what you want, if you get it - good, if you dont get it then you have two options, either accept and continue as is or move on.

Its not easy to move on, it takes immense self-confidence and courage to stand on your own.
Its much more easier to withdraw into a shell and be a silent sufferer.
Either ways, the choice is yours.
The external environment plays a very big role in your decision.
But finally, it is you who has to take the risk and own the responsibility of your decision. Being patient, grounded and optimistic at such times is helpful.

There will be people who will say, "Hey, its just a job!". But you know better. :-)


  1. Hi,
    Nice post, I am very particular to have a work life balance. Yes, there are situation where some unplanned work or very serious production issue comes and I have worked in weekends too. But want I am seeing is companies are slowly forcing to put extra hours of planned work. I was directly asked by supervisor to put effort till 9PM to 10PM to learn domain out of regular hours. The reason he gave was he did like that. I had clearly said my intention that "I don't expect company to provide me their 20% like Google, at the same don't expect my time for company as well” Once I was asked to do a task out of SPRINT, I then asked then why the hell do you have SPRINT? The problem is,if you start accepting with out questioning it keeps coming. Many don’t know when to say YES and when to say NO. And supervisors take advantage of that.
    I just read in TCS results, that says it increased it profit by effective utilization of it skilled resources. I don’t know how those resources were utilized in pervious quarters. Effective does that mean more hours? I think so, what will they to improve efficiency in coming quarters? they got only 24 hours per day.
    -Dhanasekar S

  2. @Dhanasekar
    Very true about what you say. It really beats me when more hours become a norm rather than an exception in workplaces. I guess thats an appropriate time to revist your priorities and take appropriate actions.
    Also, saying a No when needed is the most crucial skill that most are lacking, including me! It takes effort and a lot of practice! :)