I wanted to write this just before a Monday, on a Sunday evening, when many many office goers are getting things ready for the workweek and are saying aloud or in their minds “Oh No, It’s Monday” !!! Are you ? Am not :):):) and you want to trade places ? Sure it’s possible.
My workweek also starts tomorrow. We are meeting Chetna Association in Bilaspur in the morning and then moving to Una from here. Infact I haven’t watched a movie since March 1st … And actually don’t remember Sundays, Mondays and Fridays. I just remember them when I am setting up an appointment or planning a visit but otherwise each day is a workday for me. Today I have edited a couple of videos for ShikshaDaan and setup the Zoho account and tied off a few loose ends. Infact, I remember being in a similar state during my first job as a faculty with NIIT. I would be at the NIIT Vizag centre for nearly 12 hours and still feel like coming back everyday. I just loved that job. Why, in the first 9.5 years of my career with Aon Hewitt, there were hardly any bad “Mondays”. In the last 2 years, I didn’t have bad Mondays but I was stressed out because I had too many things going on and probably I realised that it was time for me to step out and pursue my life’s purpose. What I am getting at is, if your work doesn’t make you forget what day of the week it is, it’s probably a job …. If you are working in the area that is closest to your life’s purpose, then it’s no longer a job. It’s much more.
Now, the question is, many people have to work for a living and the work they do is usually not what they “really” want to do. The way to solve this is to see the “job” as a means of fulfilling your aspirations. Don’t let go of your special dream, or the thing that you “really” want to work at. Use the job to create enough of the most vital resource, money. Financial freedom is achieved at different levels for different people, but be aware of what that level is for you and try and reach that quickly. Be savvy about saving, spend after saving, don’t waste money in the early years of your career. It just requires discipline or a jolt like we got in 1996 :):).
I have been asked by many people as to how I decided to leave a well paying job and decided to focus on ShikshaDaan. Well, Krishnan and I constantly evaluate our life goals and over the years it dawned on us, that our special purpose in this life is to give back to the community … So we immediately figured out how much was enough for us to live the life we wanted to and then it was easy to let go. Luckily, for Krishnan at the start of his career and for me in the second half of my career, we got to work with great organizations that offered us a lot of work satisfaction besides just stability. So all it takes is a little bit of planning, flexibility for accepting changes in the plan and a lot of understanding between you and your partner to live your dream. But the reward is worth the effort, so don’t hesitate, make the effort.
I haven’t had Monday blues nor TGIF moments… The only TGIF moments happened during all those Wednesdays that Shalini worked with me … :):) but they were fun. Mostly I loved the work, I had lots of fun and I absolutely loved the people I worked with many of whom have become friends. Well, I had some miserable jobs too where I had to drag myself to work everyday but then the impetus was the repayment of our huge loans courtesy the loss in business ! So, I told myself that it was worth dragging myself to work, because it paid enough to pull us out of the financial hole.
There are several side effects of loving your work and not being afflicted with the ONIM and TGIF syndrome. Have you watched our Prime Minister, Modi ? Ever since he took charge on May 16th, 2014 he has been working like a man possessed, but he is glowing and growing younger !! There is no sign of stress … Remember how haggard (late) Rajiv Gandhi had become after a few years in the PM’s post ? He was such a handsome man, but the worry lines came on too soon, the hair greyed too soon and the stress of doing something that he wasn’t fond of showed. PM Modi wanted this job with every fibre in his body and his commitment to move India to the número uno position in the world makes him forget the day of the week.
This is not a workaholic … This is someone who loves his job. I have to remember two of my teachers and my father-in-law. Vidyasagar Sir, who taught me English in high school, just loved teaching Chemistry and English … And he teaches even today, much after he has retired. Because he is doing what he loves everyday, he looks just the same 30 years later. Next is Prof Luis Martins who taught Managing Organizations and Leading Change during my exec MBA at ISB. He just loves to teach and it shows … He is super busy but tell him that you have an interesting case study or an interesting problem related to people or an organization or change and he will find the time. My father-in-law died with his boots on literally … He went to the school in the morning and passed away peacefully in the evening. He changed careers when he was married, had three children in school and not much of a bank balance – left his well playing job in the Indian Railways to become a teacher. I don’t think Appa knew the word stress after that change. And you are asking us where we get the courage to follow our dreams ? Well, it comes from Krishnan’s dad, our resident role model. :):)
So there is a solution for the ONIM and TGIF syndrome – find work that you love or love the work you do knowing it will help you do what you love, later… And forget the Mondays, Sundays etc. Work life balance ? It’s a placebo while this is the real deal. Placebos help too, so use them as needed.