Recently while returning to Chennai I met someone who was stressed not only because of his job but also because the left side of the body of his young kid would get paralyzed sometimes. Had I talked to him like professional I would certainly not have gotten a hint of how stressed he was.
A gentleman (who is a renowned person in his area with his articles frequently published in newspapers) was kind enough to share with me his experience about the health of his child because of which he had to take early retirement. He told me that the doctors had declared that his child was 75% deaf due to which he was in so much stress that the husband wife would cry very often.
While returning from Bhuvaneshwar to Delhi by flight (I think some 5 years ago) I was reading a book on astrology. A person sitting next to me (aged somewhere between 50-55 years) asked me if I had some knowledge or I was just reading that book. I told him that I am not a professional astrologer but very much interested in this field.
He showed me his horoscope and I said that as soon as he became father, he got himself surrounded by problems in personal life. His son was also not doing well in terms of healthiness. He took no time to agree and asked me to suggest some remedial measures. Later during our discussion he told me that he was the head of operations in one of the power plants run by the Government and offered that he would drop me to my house in Delhi.
No matter how polished one may appear or no matter how high the social status (or professional designation) may be but no one is completely healthy particularly on the mental (or emotional) side.
Recently I met an individual who was speaking very well in the meeting. He had answers to many things but had many grey hairs on his head. After the meeting I asked him about his age and he told me he was 26. I said that my hairs are also getting white but he was too young. He said it all started when he joined “&*#*#” organization but he has not plans to hide the natural color of his hair.
Similar is the case with ladies. Behind those beautiful faces, there could be lot more stress than men would usually face as they have to manage two entirely different worlds. You never know those shiny black hairs are actually white. Good appearance is a mirage which does not let many professionals enter the real world which is similar for everyone. As Buddha said, “Life is full of sorrow”. Or as Adi Shankaracharya said, “Lokam Shokahatam Cha Samastam”.
Attending different meetings throughout the nation I find that most people could not resist (in after meeting discussions) discussing their health issues or the health issues with their family members but the stress of being professional is so high that in the workplace they often forget what they have been going through or what the other people might be going through in their personal lives.
They don’t get leaves and they don’t let anyone get leave from work. Working for extended hours, working on weekends is not something strange to many Indians.
I generally meet with department heads or site heads and I think they disclose their feelings with people like me because I am an outsider to them. A reason of stress is that people can’t share their stress. Particularly those on very senior positions can’t share their stress with either their colleagues/team members or even their family members.
Now that both husband and wife are working and the families are nuclear it is even harder to share the stress/feelings within the family. That is why in the foreign countries people go to psychiatrists very often but in India this facility has not advanced that much yet.
One of my managers told me, “I can’t work without having tablets each day”. On one of the sites that I visited the manager was clearly looking in bad shape but he was managing with tablets. He told me that he could not take leave because he had committed to me that day and the next day someone was coming from a foreign country for the audit therefore his entire week was booked.
This was not the only case during my site visits however. I have met several other people who come to office while being sick (normally with fever, headache, stomachache etc.).
It is true that we all have to die some day but is it necessary that we live in pain each day in the name of being professional. Organizations have to meet targets but it should not be at the cost of health. Some people misuse the privileges and rest everyone suffers.
Not all the people traveling by flight are terrorists but because of some people the rules become tougher. We all know that, that is why I feel that the organizations are not entirely wrong in framing tough policies for leave, travel etc. but a good employer is the one who can figure out the difference between a genuine concern and a non-genuine concern. Professionalism with humanity should be a great combination (in my humble opinion).
लाभस्तेषां जयस्तेषां कुतस्तेषां पराजयः I येषामिन्दीवरश्यामो हृदयस्थो जनार्दनः II