Stressed. Depressed. But always well dressed.
This is what the world says about IT professionals.
I recently came across an article where it has been remarked that IT professionals did not have the concept of evening time. The more I thought to myself about it, the more sense it made. We get up in the morning, a few of us are lucky enough to find time for workout and then we hurriedly freshen up to leave for work. What happens during the rest of the day is slightly blurred. When people from Non-IT field prepare to leave at 5 that is when we head over to the cafeteria for a break. If we are lucky enough, we would be home just before our family decides to call it a day and retire for the night. We come back famished, hog whatever is edible and whatever we set our eyes on, wait for a while and then hit the bed.
|Image Courtesy : FreeDigitalPhotos|
This same cycle goes on for the 5 working days of the week. That is why weekends are the most eagerly awaited and the most hyped about. Earlier I used to look forward to weekends for catching up a movie or hanging out with friends or for some mandatory retail therapy. But all I want to do these days it sit at home, catch up with all the sleep that I’ve had to sacrifice, catch up with all the home food that I’ve had to miss and watch some horrible movie or reality show within the comforts of my home and my couch. This is perhaps my way to recharge my batteries because I know I have to go through the same cycle all over again, in the weeks, months and years to come.
It is when my friends plan for a movie in the weekday, or when there is a party during the week or any such important event to which I am forced to say no to because of demanding work schedules, the realization hits me hard. The realization that I’ve to sacrifice my personal time in the name of flexible extended work hours. Most of us would blame the fact that our work locations are at the outskirts of the city. To travel 20 to 30 kms, one way, every day is not an easy task even if you are travelling by the office buses. So even if I clock the exact number of hours every day, I end up spending almost 4 hours on travel. If only the travel time can be spent more usefully, I always wonder.
The grass is not greener at the other side either. When I talk to friends whose work locations are within the city, they crib about how they are forcefully asked to extend work hours just because they have the luxury of travelling by their own conveyance or because it hardly takes an hour to get home or just because no one else seems to be moving from their workstations. This is what happens normally: you clock the required amount of hours and leave when you are done. On some days you have a deadline to meet and decide to put in some extra hours just because you want to have the satisfaction of a job well done. This slowly becomes a habit. The minute you realize what you’ve gotten into, you try coming out of it, but you’ve inadvertently set a trend and now not only you, but even others around you are obliged to follow the trend.
As we get ourselves into all this, I wonder if it is all worth it. Yes, I earn well to take a grand holiday every year. But what matters more is being there with my family and friends on those rare occasions and sharing a smile and laughter. Yes, I earn well to treat myself to a delicious meal. But what matters more is eating home-cooked food prepared lovingly by my mom or something which I take time to prepare, and which I can take time to relish. Yes I might be eligible for taking leaves as and when I wish. But what matters more is being at home during festivals, enjoying quality time with family and friends, rather than hurriedly finishing up the rituals and heading to office on a holiday to finish up some (highly critical)work.
I wouldn’t exactly come to the conclusion that it is not worth it. I still keep wondering, but I don’t see myself coming to a definite conclusion. At some levels it is. At some levels it isn’t. It’s as simple as that. It all depends on our perspective. It all depends on our priorities. It all depends on what we want from work and life. I would be a hypocrite if I said this life was totally monotonous. There are a few high points as well; perhaps they don’t seem to stand out in the sea of other not-so-high-points. This is perhaps why people say do what you love, your work will be enjoyable. For those who aren’t lucky enough, they’ve to learn to love what they’re doing. It might not be the panacea, but it might help you improve your outlook.
Coming back to square one: whether it is worth it, only time will tell.