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Whatever Became Of Pride And Joy In Working?

A job or career needs to be more than just a means to an end.

09/06/2017 8:42 AM IST | Updated 09/06/2017 1:33 PM IST
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As I stood in line waiting to receive my order at a fast food chain, I was saddened by the complete disinterest of the server. Despite two reminders, she did not make my order as I had requested.

I see the same lack of interest in so many people around me. Everyone seems to be going through the motions of what they call their work/ career/office-life in a trance.

Sense of ownership, pride in one's work, a desire to excel—these are traits which are somehow dissolving, or brought up only during the appraisal meeting.

In offices, around the water cooler, in the cafeteria, near the coffee machine—the burning topics of conversation are salary, boss, gossip or weekend plans. Every minute not spent in front of the computer or in a meeting is spent on these thoughts/ conversations. It's as though the job is just a means to an end, and needs to be rushed through.

Sense of ownership, pride in one's work, a desire to excel—these are traits which are somehow dissolving, or brought up only during the appraisal meeting. Achievements are judged or measured by financial and territorial ascent, and the aggression and speed employed to achieve these.

Don't get me wrong. I firmly believe that as thinking beings we should aim to make every tomorrow better than today, and for this a job or any work you do is the path.

But the end cannot be more important that the journey. In our haste to reach the goal, we forget to enjoy the whole process that takes us there.

When we stop enjoying and taking pride in what we do day-in and day-out for years and years, how can we be happy or productive?

True happiness comes from contentment, which comes from a sense of accomplishment of a job well done.

But this indifference is sadly everywhere—white collar to blue collar, unskilled to highly skilled, professional to manual labour!

Yes, for many a job is a means for sustenance. In fact for all born without a silver spoon, it's primarily about earning a livelihood. And it is strenuous. And demanding. And life presents its own obstacle course.

But doesn't that make it imperative that we do our utmost best at what we choose to make our vocation in life?

And whenever we meet someone, could be anywhere, who is truly and happily immersed in his work, hasn't that person stood out?

All rags to riches/success stories are built on the back of hard work and passion. So how about bringing that passion back into what we choose to do?

I witnessed one such instance last year. I saw a shoeshine person in Connaught Place who took his job very seriously. He consulted his elder brother and they both took 10 minutes to decide the exact colour of polish that would suit the client's suede shoes. He then spent 15 minutes on his labour of love, cleaning and polishing till he was satisfied. He made only ₹50 for the effort, but he was happy and satisfied that he had done his best.

All rags to riches/success stories are built on the back of hard work and passion. So how about bringing that passion back into what we choose to do?

"You can only truly become accomplished at something you love. Don't make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off of you."—Maya Angelou

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