Being workaholic is not a matter of pride

I recently saw a post on social media about a company, trying to garner laurels from the fact that it’s employees stayed up all night for a “high bumper” project.

The workstations were studded with bedsheets, couches and pillows and the employees were clad in Sandoz and shorts.

Their working postures varied from a whopping 180 degree to 270 degrees, defying the law of ergonomics in the first place. An upright posture, arms at a 90-degree bend, lower back supported are absurd in today’s workplace context, isn’t it?

Being workaholic is not a matter of pride
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Unfortunately, the company tagged these pictures with its “being cool” image and then there were certain legends lauding the effort and the culture. Seriously?

And an instance like this brings me to a very important yet concealed topic in India.

Why being a workaholic is considered laudable?

Enveloping comfortably within a spineless fast paced culture, organizations apparently tend to look down upon time-bound employees. On the contrary, those who never swear by the watch are the stars to be hailed for.

If I filter out the ones who have identified work as their priority, there is still a significant bunch of confused souls who are trying to outwork someone or the other.

For the former, they have made a conscious call and family/relations can take a backseat for them. But for the latter, their lives are etched on the dwindling pendulum, swinging between work and family life.

Dan Sullivan once said, “Wherever you are, make sure you are there.”

Countries like Luxembourg have been termed as the most “productive” country in the world. On an average, they work 30 hrs per week as compared to India which is pegged at 42 hrs.

The bottom line is to focus on quality and not quantity. Take the example of a fitness regime. A good trainer will always focus on short but high intense workout sessions followed by a quality rest and recovery. The idea is to thoroughly exhaust yourself during the workout session and then relish on a well-deserved rest.

Similarly, in work, the best happens in short but a highly focussed stint which is free from any sort of distractions.

It is extremely important to understand that a quality time is not the one you spend but the one you live. For whom are we working off those extra hours? Is it for the employer who will disown us the day he finds someone smarter, or to fan this abrupt intrinsic addiction?

“Let me send one more email, take up one more project, attend one more call, prepare one more alluring powerpoint” and the list goes on.

Gradually, actions like these become our response to daily pressure and we get addicted to it. We tend to retreat into work and it serves as the perfect excuse to miss out on a family gathering, a kid’s function at school or other societal norms. In the process, we may not realize but something within gets corroded.

Work responsibilities don’t form our identity so don’t conceal behind it, rather who we are and what we do besides work, forms our core identity. Learn to outshine it or else prepare to get outshone.

Life shall continue to be juggling, messy, beyond control but striking the right balance is the essence. Putting in a huge number of hours will never be a path breaking factor, rather the quality will.

In the unquenchable thirst for success, money, fame we ignore the fact how our idols got there.

Besides the hard work, they had the talent, had a vision, channelised their energies in the right direction and most importantly, they were at the right place at exactly the right time.

Unnecessarily beautifying that spreadsheet, or adding few extra slides to the PPT may fetch you some brownie points but in the broader scheme of things, it could have been “your time”.

Learn to draw a line when required, or else you will end up being in a circle, a vicious unending circle.

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