Why limit the joy of work? – 06 April 2010

The group often got together – at tea breaks, at lunch break, and even when everybody was busy working, for stealth smoking. It always had a lot to talk about, but each time the discussion ended in only one statement: Look, I can do only this much work in this much salary. Slowly, the group started swelling as some others, too, started joining in. That was so because the discussions were often very attractive: Work only as much as you are paid for.

For the managers, however, the group was a great nuisance; it spoiled the atmosphere in the office of the large manufacturing company with a decent work culture. This group’s activity — or non-activity, so to say — ran counter to the culture of the company. The managers, then, started looking at possibilities of asking the members of the group to leave the job at the earliest.

It was around this time that the company hired a smart woman as office manager. Right from Day One, she started working in right earnest, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Now the group got a fresh subject, the hard-working new officer manager — everything she did became a subject of their teasing, her dress, her address, her manner of answering phone calls, her ten-minute lunch break instead of the official one hour, her coming in time and staying beyond time.

The woman did not mind. Whatever the group said, she smiled, nodded, and went about her work without any change in her style. Slowly, the woman was proving to be really effective. As the office, attached to the Chief General Manager, started producing better results, the office manager’s confidence level, too, grew. Her face looked more serene, and that soon became a subject for the gossip group.

However, one of the group, a 40-year-old man with two children and a working wife, once asked: “Come on friends, let us really think what the lady’s secret of such a wonderful serenity is. Perhaps, she derives a true joy in her work. And we are missing exactly that. We are criticizing others all the time. That fills our minds with dark thoughts.It would be good for us if we think of ways of enjoying our work.”

Of course, such a counsel generally is not received well. Others in the group hated his wise words. But slowly, others, too, started thinking about the good effect of the woman manager’s presence in the organization.

Was it because she was a woman? Not in the least. There were other women, too, in the office, but few were as effective. The secret was simple: that woman manager enjoyed her work, which reflected in her personality. Wordlessly, she communicated a sense of fulfillment, which most others could not.

There is a philosophical statement as regards work: Good job, well done. This statement can transform a person or a workplace, if implemented seriously, into a vibrant entity. The explanation is simple: Do your work with utmost sincerity, and do it efficiently. That will give you a sense of achievement, which, in turn, will give a different kind of joy, satisfaction, which, in turn, will transform your personality from a negative zone into a positive one. “Good job, well done”, thus, is a philosophy of good work life, a philosophy that can make us work for the sheer joy of working well.

Good job, well done! It has so many complex shades of meaning. One, it presupposes that every job can be a good job. Two, it invites us to put in our best efforts to complete a task well. Three, it indicates in the final analysis that when a good job is done well, it leaves us with a sense of completeness, which, in turn, brings along a sense of happiness, a sense of attainment.

Therefore a simple question in the end: Why miss the joy of work? Why limit it to our put-on, artificial incompetence?

Published in The Hitavada – Future – 06 April 2010

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