People are prone to estimate their self-worth and efficiency as an employee in terms of the hours they dedicate to work. Being swamped with work is regarded as a fashion statement, a parameter to judge one’s self-worth. How did such a concept popularise and why exactly is it so dangerous?

Capitalistic forces have glamourised over-working in the past half a century. Television regularly shows protagonists staying up all night pouring over files and documents, dedicating their lives to being the model employee, solving problems, achieving feats that no one had previously done before. These people make the idea of being married to one’s job seem desirable. Have you ever seen someone humble-brag about their lack of sleep, their caffeine fuelled lifestyle, in everyday conversation? What is this one thing that makes us proud of slaving away our golden years and why do we want it? The term workaholic sounds pathetic, why do so many of us subconsciously want to be one?

Capitalists have propagated a myth that overworking will make you successful and consequently happier. But unlike what television will tell you the cost of an all-nighter is not just a cup of coffee, some takeaway, and a wrinkled shirt. Popular media will never show the real price of overworking. The sleep you lose, meals you skip, the sick days you work on, the hobbies that you don’t pursue anymore, the resentment, the pain and joyless existence that it ushers are things that nobody talks about. Is it really worth losing all this to become the “Employee of the month” so to speak?

This self-serving corporate ideology- that absolute dedication to your job is the only way to be successful is one big, fat lie. The modern paragons of success- Mark Zuckerberg, JK Rowling, Falguni Nayar and their respective brainchild’s- Facebook, the Harry Potter series, Nykaa were not the result of slaving away to a job. They were the product of a “Eureka” moment that ended up changing the course of their lives. Life-changing ideas do not come from slaving away at a desk job, they come from happiness, creativity and pursuing things you love.

The next time you see someone say they haven’t slept in twenty-four hours because of work, feeling envious, inefficient or being inspired to do the same would be a problematic response. Over-working at the cost of your well-being is neither an achievement nor something to be proud of. Human beings are not efficient machines meant to produce a certain amount of work in a particular time-frame. Do not feel inadequate the next time someone brags about their tiring work, instead remember there is more to life than work. I say- that there is more to life than deadlines and projects and, if by the end of our lives, all our achievements could be summed by promotions and raises, then perhaps we wouldn’t really have lived.

Image credits– Jamie Grill via Getty Images


Kinjal Pandey

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August, 2016

Phone rings at 1 am, laptop is on, but the plate of food lies cold despite my mum shouting for 10 times incessantly. 14 years of schooling and nearly two years of college and now the moment of truth is in front of me, standing and staring at me, looking deep into my eyes, as if mocking me silently, asking me what am I really doing ? And for whom? If you were one of those kids back in school who used to take up everything with passion, from a small responsibility of decorating the class boards, to now taking up roles in and outside college, you would understand that it is more like an obsession. To be omnipresent. Yes, we are the workaholics and we are proud of it, but of late, I have been strongly reconsidering my position.

College opens up avenues to really push one’s passions beyond imaginable limits and for someone who loves to dawn new roles, oh it’s Christmas! While the cut throat competition, deadlines, struggle for perfection and lack of sleep really takes the better of you initially, but there comes a point when all this becomes a part of the monotonous routine cycle and isn’t fun anymore. It is this time when you start self-introspecting and questioning yourself for your decisions. Do you really enjoy working day and night for things you may not really care about deep down? What is this perfection you are striving to achieve? Is perfection an illusion? Maybe, maybe not.

But deep down, a very strong feeling remains unsettled. The feeling of uncertainty. We can’t deny that many a times, when a crunch situation strikes, we miss being the careless kid from kindergarten where mom and dad could answer for that fight we had at school or when we broke that test-tube in the lab, remember? The realisation of growing up with the blink of an eye and working robotically each day, in a regimented setup, can make anyone irritable and if you, by nature are a workaholic, it becomes difficult for you to sometimes define the boundaries for yourself and you don’t know when to stop being a robot.

When all these questions and situations were striking my head, there came a moment where I just sat alone and a sudden realisation dawned upon me that time has to fly anyway, so why not enjoy every moment fully. The very next moment I realised I was running down the stairs of my room and was hugging my mom in the kitchen, who was looking so pretty, and damn I didn’t realise how much time had it been since I looked at her face so carefully, as my phone’s screen was the only thing that my face was constantly bowed down to. And let me tell you, for a workaholic, more work is like more energy, but, the satisfaction I got when I hugged my mom after a hard day, no amount of work could energise me as much as that moment did and I want to do this more often. We live in a world where many families fear persecution, they don’t know whether they will see the light of the day, and here we are, on the other end of the globe, worried about the latest iPhone in the market, those fancy shoes we saw the other day on an Instagram account and don’t really enjoy the bounties of life, the presence of a family and the significance of this temporal dimension called time.

Life is a puzzle and every piece is a phase that holds its own significance to the larger picture of the puzzle. So don’t get stuck finding the ends of a particular piece. Enjoy the creation of this puzzle by giving equal importance to each of the pieces.

Featured Image Credits: www.wetslipper.com

Riya Chhibber

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