There are two aspects here- one is being proud of your profession and second is being proud of the organisation that you work for. A professional in the health sector suffered from a massive inferiority feeling as she was not a medical doctor but what they call a paramedic. ‘We are looked down upon as secondary citizens of the hospital staff as doctors are treated as ‘Gods’. ‘We cannot take decisions on issues that we are competent with and there are many more bindings that we are subjected to unnecessarily’ she complained. The point was that if she had thought so much less of this particular profession why did she opt for it at all? Of course the expected reply that I received was that ‘she missed her medical entrance by a few marks’. She made a gross mistake here- she should have left the medical and the paramedical field entirely and opted for another field which would have established her sense of self esteem. If she has chosen this field consciously as a second choice then she should change her attitudes towards her job and begin to love it and respect it. If she herself degraded her profession how does she expect people to respect her as well as her qualification?
Many people would suffer from this malady I am sure. As a practising psychologist I come across innumerable people who are not proud of their qualifications and hence their profession. A senior social worker once commented that ‘those who do not get admission into any other course get into social work’. These sorts of comments could be heard regarding many other careers. It’s true that in a society where there are lop-sided over valuation of some careers and a thorough devaluation of many important careers, people are bound to fall prey to such negative stereotypes about specific careers. The effects on the mind are devastating. People may ruin their entire lives by living with a sense of shame and embarrassment about their degrees. They live with guilt for not living up to the un-realistic expectations of their parents and perhaps die with it too. It’s an utter waste of talent and the human potential.
On the other hand some people may be very proud of their degrees and their careers but may be unhappy with the organisation where they work. The frustrations could spring from many sources some of which could be internal to the individual and some which could be external and related to the organisation itself. In such a situation the individual will tend to overlook the internal issues and attribute all the blame to the organisation. Very rarely do people make an honest objective analysis of the true causes.
Let’s assume for now that there is lot’s to be desired in a specific organisation and it could do with some drastic changes. But those desired changes are not coming through and may not come through so easily. The best option in such a situation for the frustrated employee is to leave the specific job and resign. But he cannot do that for he has no other offer coming or else no better opportunities in his home town/city. People who have pride in their professions and have confidence in themselves will make the move to get out as the opportunity comes and people who have no pride and neither have the confidence but continue to be frustrated will stay put. Such a category of professionals are like dead wood for the organisation. They are the grumblers, the complainers, the activists without a larger cause, the good-for-nothings. They are better out of the organisation than in. They not only hinder the productivity of the organisation but also spoil the work atmosphere. Negativity is also contagious as we know and can spread fast.
Pride in one self and ones profession is essential for the progress of the individual. In every profession, there is always a tremendous scope to go deeper and rise higher and be useful to the society by being creative and constructive. This can happen only when the mind goes beyond the stereotype and its limiting barriers. People with vision can overcome this mental obstacle and get going. Pride in the organisation where one is employed is also essential for any employee. This can be done when people think rationally. A good example of this is Madam Kiran Bedi who saw opportunity in every ‘punishment’ posting and earned honours for herself.
Published in Hitavada Future on September 29 2009