Our work is not our Life. It is only a segment… maybe, a greater segment… but, not the entire life.
Work should not be our entire life…
It should not be our ‘identity’…
It should not be the sole source of our security, our well-being, our ‘everything’!
And, yet, for some of us, it is so… and, our lives revolve around our work… so much so, without it, life is all a big blank!
Shivang*, a 26-year-old young-man, had come to see me, today. For a while, I couldn’t recognize him – he had put on a lot of weight; there seemed to be something wrong with his left eye… And, till he introduced himself to me, I was unable to recognize that he was my student in his TY B’Com!
Shivang hailed from a very humble and hard-working family. His parents had tough time to educate him and his sister. Father had suffered some business losses and was in debt and mother did some odd jobs to keep the kitchen fire burning. Both, the sister and brother gave tuitions to supplement with some additional income. But, Shivang worked hard and did well in his graduation… After that, he completed his MBA and M’Com… got into a leading bank through the campus placement. As he was extremely keen to take up a research-related job, some fourteen moths ago, he joined a reputed company with a job profile of his liking.
Shivang was on top of the world! The pay was good, the job was good… everything seemed going well…
But, then, something was not going right!
Shivang had taken his job, his work, too seriously, too ‘personally’… He would stay back, regularly, till 2 or 3 at night, though his bosses, who were very pleased with his work, would remind him to wind up… Sometimes, he would scrap his entire project work, and re do the same just to satisfy himself… He had come to a stage, where his work had started defining his life… It had become an addiction. He would demand too much from himself… He would be too harsh on himself.
And, in a matter of fourteen months time, the work – even though it was of his own choice – had taken a heavy toll on young Shivang’s health, both physical as well as mental. It was a burn-out!
A couple of days ago, unable to carry on with it any further, Shivang had resigned from his favorite job, shocking everyone around!
When your entire life depends on your work, and if that is gone, it is like someone taking off the ground beneath your feet… You do not know what to do, where to go… It is really frightening!
This morning, Shivang wanted to talk to me about his anxieties, his future. Luckily, he has realized the cause of his problem and is now willing to make the necessary changes. Luckily, he has some decent savings from his past earnings, from which he can afford to go a little slow, making these changes now.
“Shivang, you need to be kind to your own self, now…” I told him, “Just let go all the compulsions, all the self-created ideals about your work… Just don’t bother about another job now, about the money, growth, future whatever it is… Just slow down, let go… Just be loving and caring to your own self… Do anything that can make you smile, feel good, feel light… reading, playing, praying, watching good movies, being with family or close friends… anything other than work and deadlines… and, just enjoy it, and enjoy it fully...”
I also told Shivang, “Taking up another job, with this state of mind, will be like a fish trying to escape from the frying pan into the burning fire! At present, your mind doesn’t see clearly… It needs clarity, silence… perspective. Believe me, when you trust the good Universe and keep your intentions clean, when you earnestly want to make amends, you will get the direction… You will receive the hunches to act upon. But, not now, not when your mind is restless and cluttered. You need to nurse yourself back to Life… You have enough time, dear.”
True, there is enough time… Life is not a do or die situation. It is savoring the small things with great heart… Savoring them with great fun, great joy and great reverence… It is doing all this with our full heart, with great passion… but, never allowing our lives to be defined or ruled by our work, our jobs, our professions…
There is much there beyond them…
We need to slow down…
Pause to see, listen, smell, taste, appreciate…
And, yes, yes, as it is said, “We should work to live… not live to work.”
Life is not a deadline!
* Name is changed
Pics.: Girish Gupta