“Victims of themselves”- 9 October 2012

Ramnish came to the company with stars in the eyes and hope in his heart. Having emerged at the top in a good B-school and with an M Tech degree already under his belt, he was all fired to make the most and the best of the opportunity which his job in the high-profile company. So far so good. But when Ramnish took the plunge, there was a worrisome mess at the middle-level management at the head office. A few people in critical positions had left and the workload on the remaining personnel had increased manifold all of a sudden. Even though he was a fresher, the management sucked in Ramnish at a fairly high position, as deputy to the boss of the strategic planning section. Realising that Ramnish was all eager to take the plunge, the boss gave him all sorts of assignments — from mundane to magnificent. So busy did that work make Ramnish that he would reach home well past midnight every day, and start back for the work at 6.30 next morning so that he could reach the office 25 km away at 8.30, at least one hour ahead of the earliest-arriving employee in the whole building.

On the corporate ladder, Ramnish was rising very fast. In just three years, he was made General Manager (Administration) at the head office. At just 29 years of age, Ramnish was going great guns when he fell in love with a colleague and got married the following summer. The world seemed a very happy place.
But hardly did Ramnish know that a silent killer was following him closely. One evening, he felt a little giddy, and came home somehow. Anushka, his pretty wife, took him to the family doctor who did not waste a minute in declaring that Ramnish was suffering from a high blood pressure and a disturbed balance of almost all parameters. “And please don’t think that this is a simple matter. You are sick and you have spoilt your health yourself. Now, take things seriously, and change your lifestyle drastically, immediately. If you don’t do this, then I will have nothing else to do but pray God for your well being,” Doctor said.
Ramnish’s case is a typical example of an ill-managed work-life balance. Large numbers of such cases land in doctor’s clinics almost every day. There could be many factors contributing to this high incidence of lifestyle diseases. But the most significant is the inability of the persons to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Craze to build a career faster than a natural pace, the ill-defined passion for career-goals, failure to attach appropriate importance to life’s critical dimensions such as recreational leisure, appropriate exercise as well as rest or relaxation, and tight control on anxiety are some of these factors. Many young men and women are known to be falling victim to this problem.
Unfortunately, in work-places, no sincere counselling is made available to the executives who set for themselves a scorching pace for career development. At home too, when money is coming in good measure and reputation is getting better every day, the families, too, do not pay much attention to the work-life balance. Occasionally, parents do sound a warning, and spouses too utter a word of caution, but those attempts are almost always too feeble for the young executives to understand the sense of urgency and sincerity concealed in cautionary words.
True, there is a romance attached to work. True, there is also a feeling of pride when the career advances at a fast pace. There is also a sense of fulfilment of one’s dreams. But even as all these good points heighten the sense of self-worth, life-style problems, too, follow close on the heels and in total stealth.
Some tend to shrug shoulders calling it a curse of modern life-style. But this is a deceptive argument that serves no purpose. Factually, what we describe as modern life-style is nothing but an ill-managed work-life balance. It is not difficult to rectify this imbalance. But in order to achieve that rectification in a right measure, one will have to achieve three Ps — Prayers, Priorities, and Patience. Or, in other words, one will have to avoid excess of Hurry, Worry, and Curry.
Have we given a serious thought to this issue?

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