Answer to the Indispire question, “What you do on your weekends?”, depends on what you want to be in your life. Some play sports, some socialize, I stay at home and watch TV. Sometimes go watch a movie in a theatre with family. I wanted to be a big scientist in my life. One who publishes his work in top rated journals, one who is considered, if not the authority, one of the authorities on an area. I ended up becoming a science manager.
Though I had pursued many hobbies at different points in my life, ranging from acting, playing chess, reading, hiking, playing badminton etc., I am conscious that I cannot take away my focus easily from my work. Not until I can take the work to logical conclusion. May be to some extent I am an workaholic. From the days when I was a doctoral student and a post doctoral fellow, a foreign student, I was expected to work hard and publish papers. More often than not, I used to work on holidays and weekends. I would get free access to equipments without any hinderance.
Things did not change much when I joined work. My manager told by one day as I was trying to go home at 5.30 pm in the evening, “here we expect seniors to stay back till late.” I was hardly a senior research scientist then. I got the gist, and made it a habit to leave after my manager had left. Then commute almost forty km to home. Driving on Delhi roads was no fun with frequent traffic jams at all major intersections. Reaching home tired, I would go to bed early to prepare myself for the commute to work next day that would start by 8 am to reach office by 9 am. By the time the weekend would come, I was left with no energy. Many of us were entitled to paid vacation. It was unwritten rule that employees would take money instead of leave and not go for vacation. So much so, many had to haggle for number of days they could be on leave for marriage.
Though organization was dishonest, and behaved in a feudal manner, I did not mind working hard. We were trying to create a successful research organsiation. Many reasoned, organization was investing money, it was responsibility of the employees to work hard and deliver. For many, life was centered around delivering a success.
Of late, many organisations have learnt the value of working smart and the value of a happy employee. Over last decade and half, many companies have started encouraging employees to balance work and home lives. Emphasis is placed on delegation of responsibilities, employees are encouraged to leave at regular hour, employees are forced to take compulsory holidays without office phone and lap top. Many do not even pick up their phones after office hours and on weekends. Many organisations encourage employees to take up a hobby, to socialize and participate in office picnics. Some employees get membership to clubs where they can swim, play games or join a gym.
I was reading a post that has argued that work is worship. A smart employee stays in touch with his work during holidays. It helps him fit in better after he comes back. There is no denying that hard work is needed to achieve growth and success. But the idea of taking a break is to rejuvenate mind and come back fresh. This may not be possible if one cannot get rid of his workplace during his vacation. In the words of Mr. Narayan Murthy, founder of Infosys, “Love your job, not your company.” If you love your job, you may find another easily. If you love your company, your company may decide to change her priorities.
In summary, working hard is important. But more important is to working smart. Like the most devoted worshipper takes time off worship to do other activities, a dedicated employee should devote time to take vacations, cultivate hobbies, build friends. Working hard alone may not be a recipe for success.
Note : This post was written in response to Indispire prompt. More posts responding to the prompt may be found here.
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