Of personal happiness at work – 08 Dec 2009

There is a little difficulty with a lot of people’s understanding of what they achieve at work. For Dilip, a 40-year-old executive in a marketing firm, work meant a route to earning livelihood. his is, of course, true for most people. Yet, Dilip’s younger brother Sandeep, fresh from college, started working in another firm and would come home almost rejoicing that he had a great day at work. Dilip often wondered why his kid brother was so happy about his work that fetched him only a small sum as a trainee in a ramshackle office of a firm whose name was not so great in the marketplace.


So, one evening as Sandeep chatted jovially with his bhabhi, that is Dilip’s wife, Dilip asked him with considerable irritation in voice, “Okay, okay. I know, you have had a great day at work. But what did you gain? And why are you working for? You are just a beginner enjoying initial days of working. But later on, you are bound to get bogged down by the drudgery of work, the sameness of task and of routine. Then, we will see if you stay happy like this.”

Sandeep’s response was a shocker for Dilip. He said, “Dada, don’t curse me like this. If you can, bless me that I will always derive happiness from work. I do not wish to live the way you do, all the time tired, bored, as if you have nothing to gain except a few thousand rupees. I want to enjoy what I am doing for whatever the money I get. I am sure, slowly, my income will grow. And I hope, my happiness, too,
will grow.”


That is a very strange word in the world of hard numbers. You go to work, slog the whole day, make a living, and return home. That is how most people think. But then some like Sandeep do not subscribe to such a stale view of life. Somehow, despite all the bad experiences they may have had in their life, they work not for money alone, but for happiness. And when they nurse such an attitude, they really derive much happiness. Their smiles, their happy, dancing eyes, their quiet sense of coolness — all then become their hallmarks. People notice them and feel good that there are at least some people who know how to be happy.

Yet, among others can be people who feel jealous of the ones who have found the key to happiness in the stark world of workplace. They feel, at workplace, no one has any right to be happy. Work means work, no nonsense, they say to themselves and others. Unfortunately, such people are more in number. They say, at workplace, there is no place and space for emotion, to build personal friendship, to make efforts to see that workplace is a happy place.

Even employers subscribe to such a staid view devoid of emotion. The only emotion that works for them, as for most of their employees, is of profit (or loss).  They understand no other language. So, when they find their employees enjoying life at work, they are the first ones to assert that they would allow no picnicking in their organisation.

There was a young man who became boss of a fairly large organisation in which he had come up through the ranks. In his acceptance speech as he took over, this young boss said, “We do not come here for work”. The promoter was shocked and stood up to say something. The young man motioned him to sit down, and continued, “We do not come here for work; we come here for fun. Let us make work a real fun. Whatever the task, we can always enjoy it if we build a positive mindset.”

That was long years ago. The young boss of those years is an experienced Chief Executive now. Yet, years of being at the top has not withered his sense of fun out of work. Sameness does not bog him down. And because he enjoys work, his staff, too, does. There is a happy feeling at work. All these years were not a smooth affair always. There were bad days, too. But the organisation seemed not to worry about the setbacks; it was concerned about the difficulties, and took those as challenge to be faced squarely. “This is our secret,”the boss said. “We do not allow anything to snatch away our sense of happiness that we are doing something meaningful. Always!”

Published in Hitavada Future on December 08 2009

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