28 Sep

Lethargy!

Ever wondered what makes you want to procrastinate?

Why keep putting things off? Just lethargy or is there something more?

I often wonder why there are days when I feel excited and driven to do something. Mind you not accomplish something. Just do it. And then there are those days, why days even moments when I just decide that I don’t want to engage with something!

I link this with poor time management issues. I do believe that poor time management comes either from a drive to do something and forget all else or from the sheer lack of interest that make me postpone something even though is needs to be done.

My internal debate is with this whole concept of time management. Is it about technique? Is it about self discipline? Or is it all about me not being to accept that what needs to be done needs to be done as soon as possible and not allowing it to crowd onto a host of other things to be done at some point and at the same point in time!

Let me see if this resonates somewhere or is it just me?

 

04 Mar

On Gratitude and Acknowledgment

There is a lot I have to be grateful for!

To my parents who gave me the freedom to choose my career options.

To my lovely family who have and continue to give me extraordinary joy!

To my employers (past) who were willing to experiment with hiring me and who allowed me to express my capability and were tolerant of my idiosyncrasies’.

To my clients for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to be of assistance in making a difference in their processes, people and development!

To my friends for being friends!

To my classmates for tolerating my ‘cribbing’!

To life’s experiences that have enriched my capabilities to cope.

To my parents for their upbringing and instilling values!

To my doctors who have helped and supported my life!

To my diabetes that has taught me the need for frugality and a change of life style.

To my failures because they have taught me to become analytical, critical and introspective!

To those who taught me that adversity in life and adversity in life’s condition are not sent there by god and you can choose to deal with it with dignity and courage.

I must acknowledge!

That there are people better than me at what they do even if is the same as what I do. I must not grudge them their success. On the contrary I must be grateful that they are there to spur me on, from complacency to improve my competitiveness and capability.

That I must examine my value systems and the value systems by which others, even members of my own family, live and acknowledge that I may need to make relevant changes or rationalisations in my own. I must be grateful that this difference exists because it makes me more open and receptive to change.

That I have lived life to the fullest as I knew it and I must be grateful that it has been fulfilling.

That my employers only cared for their success and I was but a transitory vehicle to enable that and I must be grateful that they enabled me to learn what I learnt and to earn what I thought was relevant to me.

That I was indeed paid a fair compensation for what I did and whilst I presumed the grass was greener on the other side, I must be grateful that I was not laid off or made redundant, or overlooked for my career progression, or ignored.

That I grow old physically and am not capable of sustained energy as I was earlier and I must be grateful that I still retain good health and my mental faculties.

That I’m not as engaged as I was or might have been, and often feel ignored or even irrelevant, and be grateful for time being available to pursue my own interests and hobbies.

That I do have moments of depression and be grateful that it’s only momentary and not leading to mental illness!

07 Feb

Are You “Engaged and Happy”

Hey! I’m not trying to pry and if you are great!

I’m trying to examine what makes anyone engaged.

Engagement is about;

To succeed in attracting and keeping someone’s attention and interest.

To become involved with and try to understand.

To be a part that can fit into a process smoothly to enable the whole to work smoothly.

To begin fighting.

I’m sure there are other definitions.

When I was a student of management many years ago, we had a whole semester devoted to ‘statistics’! (Sadly not of the kind that might have engaged me!) I never understood the relevance of the subject and hated going to class. Engagement?

My first employment in the bank took me to share a room with a senior professional, who was given a room because he was that, a ‘senior professional’! I was told that this accommodation was temporary till the contract of the senior expired. Then I was moved with my colleague to a large hall where I sat at a metal desk with a metal chair and found to my dismay that my chair could be easily substituted by someone who had a similar chair particularly if the cane work had deteriorated. Solution – Chain the Chair to Table! (Not kidding) Instead of focus on work I was literally protecting my chair. Engaging? Yeah sure!

At work there were times when there was no work. Why because the Bank said that we were ‘professionals ‘engaged ‘(hired) to do a specific specialised work. So I sat around trying to look busy. Read up on all the ‘awards ‘popularly known as the Green Book and Blue Book, legal journals, went to court, lawyer’s office, what not. Just to stay Engaged!

When the bank finally came around to giving us some work other than our specialization that was an experience by itself. The mail came in bundles. It was opened and each communication dutifully entered into a register. The mail and the register were given to the concerned HOD, who in turn looked at each communication and then ‘released’ it by signing off in the register. This took the best part of the day. Then the HOD passed on that communication to the concerned staff members in the department who would dig out the context and then ‘put up’ a note on the context of the communication. In turn when it came to the HOD there would be another note to the ‘boss’ who would then give instructions in the margin. Often it was merely a ‘put up’ job (which meant that it was for information and the boss initialed it and/or said ‘seen ‘or ‘noted’.)

And what was I doing all the while this rigmarole was going on? Anxiously waiting for the ‘put up job!’ Engaging? You bet it was. I was engaged in looking anxious and busy and appearing eager.

After some years of this, I got disengaged. (Ha Ha) Took my time didn’t I.

So in keeping with the tradition of modern management students I looked for and found a change.

And then another one.

And yet another one.

Everywhere there was some ritual, some approval seeking process, someone to tell you what to do and what not to do. Often I landed up doing tasks that I did not want to. Like checking up complaints of ‘corruption’, acts of ‘sexual harassment’, ‘motivating the employees’ (whatever that means)…..I

As I moved up the hierarchy there were detractors, lots of political manoeuvring, surviving the onslaughts of people who coveted your position or were unhappy with their lack of ‘success. ‘Engaging’? Sure survival always is!

I passed through the phases of ‘engagement surveys’, the phase of ‘best employers’, ‘compensation surveys’ counselled colleagues to stay on despite the fact that I personally felt that they were right in wanting to leave…. Engaged? Sure engaged in chasing conceptual shadows.

So! How do you engage someone?

I recall that during my days with Reliance, when I had visited Jamnagar refinery, there was literally a state of the art set up there. Something I had never seen before and only read about. The most modern of all facilities. Family housing, single accommodation, flights in company aircraft to and from Mumbai to transport employees and family members, excellent library, gyms, auditoriums, regular training and education programs, swimming pool, … Everything that would make employees feel engaged. Yet the vast majority of the young population there made out like they were ‘prisoners’ often waiting for the ‘jail break ‘opportunity!

Other companies do what they think is best and relevant to keep employees engaged some with success with limited success and some with no success.

Is there a solution?

I cast my mind back to my learning days. “Vocation ‘and ’Avocation ‘stand out somewhere in a lot of legal literature.

Vocation – noun

1. A particular occupation, business, or profession; calling.

2. A strong impulse or inclination to follow a particular activity or career.

Avocation – noun

1. Something a person does in addition to a principal occupation, especially for pleasure; hobby.

2. A person’s regular occupation, calling, or vocation.

3. Archaic – diversion or distraction.

Do we pursue a vocation? Or do we do a job?

Do we like what we do? Or do we do it because it pays well, is seen to be socially relevant, prestigious….

Common terminology today is ‘job market’ and those in the market seeking jobs are ‘job seekers’. Do we prepare ourselves for a career, a vocation rather than become ‘job seekers’? No vocation seekers!

And so back to what engages and what is engagement.

Do you really like what you do? Do you enjoy doing it every day? Does it give you a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction by your own measurement?  Do you want to do it for a lifetime? Do you feel ‘happy?’

Or – Does it matter to you that others do not think well of what you do or look down upon you? That you feel that you have not put your ‘degree ‘to good use? That you do this because of economic necessity? Do you feel used and ‘unhappy?’

Just remember that most employers pursue their own path of happiness – top and bottom line, shareholders ratings….

Reflect on this dialogue from the Pursuit of Happyness.

Christopher Gardner: “It was right then that I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence and the part about our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking how did he know to put the pursuit part in there? That maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue and maybe we can actually never have it. No matter what. How did he know that?”

Go do something that gives you a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction. If you chose to work then do you job with the knowledge that it’s just that a job! That you made life’s choices and are courageous to live up to that decision. Life is about making those compromises and concessions and to live in reality. Otherwise just do what you want to and feel engaged whilst you do it!

As for me I’m into writing, gardening, waste management, counselling, competency assessment, vocational assessment, mentoring and coaching…. Am I engaged and happy? That’s the Crore Rupee Question (Billion Dollar sound better!)

21 Nov

Of Prayer and Discourses

The other day I was surfing out of sheer boredom – that’s right at 6 am – and the number of channels that focus on religious discourses is amazing!!!

Fascinating to see some individual hold forth on their insights in the scriptures! Aspects of goodness, virtue, behaviour, forgiveness, behaviour….

And there are public discourses and programmes (some of them chargeable incidentally) by others – religious leaders, interpreters, singers, troupes…

So who, other than some bored surfer like me, seriously follows all this?

It appears that there are large followings of these events! By whom and why!

Does religion need interpretation?

What do these events do for the individual?

Does it improve the state of mind? Does it provide insights into personality or personal behaviour? Does it improve perceptions and behaviours? Does it help to reiterate your own beliefs? Does it provide solace? Does it make you feel that you destined to get a ‘raw deal’ or to rationalise the ‘raw deal’

It’s always easy to clean out your cupboard – throwing out physical stuff is easy.

It’s the cleaning of the mind that causes more problems. Carrying excess baggage is always expensive. If you can pack smartly for a travel to avoid carrying the weight and saving on the cost, then why not the mind?

Cleaning the mind creates space for receiving new ideas and learning from new experiences. So difficult really!

The challenge for all of us is to get rid of that mental baggage. Attending discourses or listening to textual reading and interpretation, without attempting to do that is just what I do – surf out of boredom – there is no intent!

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change – Wayne Dyer

27 Oct

I Miss Those Calls

The phone just doesn’t ring with the same frequency anymore.

When it rings it’s often an inarticulate young person who is selling me a ‘scripted’ offer and does not know how to respond to any questions about the offer; they include credit cards that I already have, bank accounts with banks with whom I have been banking for over two decades…

I miss being called. When I used to be called frequently, whilst I was in corporate life, it made me feel important, wanted.

I also miss being a part of something? Huh – hold on!

I never wanted to be a part of anything earlier. I craved for my space and peace. I wanted to read and lounge around – really?

In truth, I was always worried about something happening or not happening. It irritated me to know that something was not or it was. I just wanted to be at work. More than anything I wanted to be in charge.

And it’s not as if I enjoyed the work. The routine and politics often got to me.

I was always irritable and short-tempered.

But you know something I quite enjoyed myself even if others did not!

Now more than ever before I miss all that excitement.

So what do I do now?

I’m on a ‘clean up’ spree. Which means getting rid of all that excess stuff I have gathered, all these years, including my weight. What am I preparing for? My Maker? Or just creating space for more?

I’m revamping my approach to life. I have decided that I want to make a difference. My doctor has told me to get rid of all laced shoes, sandals with straps… makes me wonder if he believes I cannot see my feet or bend sufficiently! (More reason to get rid of some excess stuff!)

But I realise how easily I get bored with all the alternatives I’m working with.

Damn I still miss those calls!

Someone once told me ‘there is little bit of you in all of us’! Perhaps that’s why nobody calls anymore?