Friday, February 3, 2012

2 Work that becomes "I"

Years back when I was still a child, I remember dad being a little rude on the phone when there was a call from the office on the weekends. I tried telling him that it might just be a 5 to 10 minutes work and he can definitely spare that much time. Luckily for him, he had set rigid boundaries - must be out of experience. After reaching home, no one was allowed to interrupt his personal life specifically during weekends.He had been an exceptional employee, proud of his work and respected by his co-workers. He has helped foreign multi nationals setup their base in India - nothing simple.

Forward to today, I run around with my laptop and phone assuring connectivity to one and all, anytime and everywhere. I must be an important person doing some high-quality work that makes a difference and my absence is so critical that a doggy sniff always follows me - this way of thinking makes life so much better! I speak while eating, walking, watching TV, and when tying to go to sleep - sometimes get up in the middle of the night to attend a call.

When you ask for a vacation or leave, you are made to feel guilty even though you are eligible for it - you should have informed us earlier; there is too much work pending; the appraisal is round the corner; With the new term of 'networking', all meetings and conferences can be masked under this title. "Oh,, you got to attend this party.. Its a huge networking opportunity since Mr. Blah and Mrs. Blah are coming". Does not matter if its late into the night or the travel distance is two hours. Its business baby.

For newly married couples who bring back work home, the sense of togetherness is difficult to build. You cannot say no to your boss who wants to meet on Saturday at Cuppa to discuss a presentation. Leaving at 6 from office is looked down upon. Working half-day on Saturday usually means being there till 6 - after all that is 12 hours - learn your maths right sir. And then there are bosses who probably don't want to go back home. For whatever reasons - either they are divorcees, don't get along with their partners, or simply workaholics! The comments about such bosses and their personal lives are rude. But that is exactly what happens when they intrude into their junior's personal space.

And for a women with kids, the entire upbringing of the child becomes her responsibility. The husband leaves early, come back late - where is the time to drop kids at school, pick them up, cook anything or spend some time with the spouse. In our society, this is a totally acceptable scenario too. The wife cribs, the husband gets money, kids go to school, go on a vacation two times an year - everything appears great from outside except there is no bonding.

In some countries there are strict labor laws. Work does not last more than 8 to 8 1/2 hours. You come on dot time and expected to leave on dot time. Staying back late is considered a bad aspect of your capability to complete a task on time. A company is liable to pay for the extra work done during these extra hours. Personal time is valued. After all, you work so that your personal life is smooth. Not the other way round. You work because you want the required finance to fund education, to buy a house or to go on a vacation. Mainly the money translates into a good time with family and friends.

Work becomes meaningless when all you do is only work.

What do you do to ensure that your personal time is guaranteed?
How do set the boundaries between the work and family space?
How often do you hang out with office colleagues and how do you avoid?


  1. *Stands up and claps her hands till they are red*

    Awesome awesome awesome post...

    So so true in today's scenario....RD attends calls 24 by 7....he gets up in the morning to check his mails just lying on the bed....there is not disconnect from work...its really sad :(

    and in my case, well I am a bit more rigid....if I HAVE to work, I come to office on weekends..but its very very rare...weekends and post work is strict family time..and I LEAVE on time..

    I have a lot to say....will do a post...

  2. Thanks RM.. its so difficult for us to build this difference and actually implement it. People just dont get it. You have a phone.. you need to be reachable even on vacation.

    Once my manager told me to return by flight to save a day of leave .. I told him to pay for it.. He shut up:)


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