Tackling early burn-outs – 29 June 2010

This is a story of young business executive Deepak who has wonderful career prospects in his own company. Not just his own seniors, but also the bosses of other companies looked at him with a lot of awe because of his sterling performance. Whatever Deepak touched, it turned gold. A few friends also called him Midas, the man with a golden touch. This golden run lasted only for about six years. Later, Deepak’s performance started declining. His sales figures dipped. His presentations at conferences became staid and rigid. And his energies seemed to have deserted him. Soon, Deepak was “one of the many” executives which the company had, and not the one and the only Deepak Sir. The reverence was gone. What remained was a very pale shadow of the young man of yesterday.

His wife Sonali, also a professional working in another company, was acutely aware of what was happening. Deepak had abused himself beyond limit without any effort to rebuild his lost physical and mental resources. While she kept herself fit and fine with exercise, meditation, and purposeful relaxation, Deepak had gone on without any of those. As a result, first his body and next his mind started sagging. He over-ate, did not burn the fat, took sleeping pills because he could not sleep well with sagging physical strength but was very sluggish in office.And as an obstinate husband who hated his wife’s good advice, he ignored whenever Sonali tried to tell him a word or two from her own experience.

In most organisations, such cases of early burn-out are found in good numbers. The reason is simple: these persons never keep themselves in a fighting fit condition by making conscious efforts in that direction. On the contrary, when they are young and when their physical and mental resources are working fine, they tend to think that they are going to be eternally in fine shape. Unfortunately, human body is a living machine that needs a lot of tuning up all the time by conscious efforts. But this eternal truth is promptly forgotten by many people who then suffer at the work place. In the past some years, a growing health consciousness is being seen in the Indian society. Yet, its proportion is negligible, and the number of people not feeling up to the mark of true good health is also growing. Gyms may be recording an increased inflow of men and women, but the number of people who do not keep themselves fit with conscious effort is also alarmingly high.

There are a few companies where the bosses insist upon a properly organised fitness regime for their employees. Even in such companies, a good number of employees skip those sessions under this or that pretext. In other work places, the situation is usually abominable with the bosses just unconcerned about the health of their employees. This is, of course, is a bad management policy. For, in the longer run, all this negligence comes to haunt the organisation in a big way. Time has come for the managements to launch official or non-official (voluntary) fitness programmes for employees. And in places where such programmes are not underway, the employees need to take up fitness regimes individually. Time and money spent on such efforts are always well-spent and never a waste.

The question is not just of good looks, but of efficiency, and ability to enjoy life, its challenges and chances. The question is also of keeping your being in a top condition so that you become good enough to take on bigger tasks that shape not just your careers but also of the nation’s destiny.

Published in The Hitavada – 29 June 2010

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