My Panacea for living


April is just around the corner, and by the time we reach April 2009,  it would mark my 3rd anniversary of being in the workforce. Seriously, it’s nothing to shout about or even to mention about it, when it’s juxtaposed with employees who have been with the company for over 2 decades or so.

Granted my work experience is limited, in some ways, actually in many ways I feel truly blessed. I feel blessed becasue I’ve gotten a taste of the corporate life. And I”m not merely talking about just general work experience here. My primary aim after my graduation was to work in a large MNC, yes I was extremely focused on only joining a MNC, a large enough company that will give me the exposure and experience I wanted to seek.

And in some ways, I got more than what I asked for. I learnt real fundamental lessons which my 4 years of university education somewhat left out in its course syllabi.  I learnt about real corporate politics and what a deadly weapon it could be to destroy or build one’s career. I learnt about employee relationships and about building trust in the workplace. I experienced first hand what it means to be  commited to my clients, and how managing that relationship, even though it’s still a business relationship, is so important and extremely delicate.

I can go on with all the ‘Lessons Learnt’ from my career as an IT personnel to now a management consultant. And I’m still learning something new everyday. But if there’s something truly important that I’ve really learnt and come to appreciate, (and at the same time feel annoyed because my university education did not cover this with such importance) it would probably be managing the work-life balance.

I’ve been a strong porponent for work life balance for quite some time now. I began to see it’s importance after having worked for a little over a year. That once-upon-a-time ambitious kid that walked through the doors of the corporate world and took his baby work steps in a large MNC, began realizing that no matter how much and how hard you work, it’s still never going to be good enough for someone else.

I realized this when I pushed myself hard enough to try and get noticed by my boss. Alas, it didn’t work, and perhaps maybe it was because I wasn’t really doing it the right way, or maybe because the manager chose to view my contributions as satisfactory.

I will never know the real deal, or the real rationale behind his logic, but I do know one thing :  it doesn’t matter anymore.

Not that I have resigned to trying hard to strive to be the ‘best” in my work place. Rather, I’ve learnt to be contented with my performance. I’ve learnt to tell myself that ‘it’s okay, you did your best’ whenever I don’t get my intended result. I’ve learnt to develop ‘KPIs ‘for other areas of my life and evaluate myself in other areas of my life, and not just solely on my work performance.

Work is important,  I take my performance and my contributions seriously, but just not too seriously anymore. Why? Because there is more to life than just a promotion, there is more to life than just aiming for acolades and praises from my bosses.  I’ve slowly learnt to develop this uncanny way of thinking.

And for me, that is how I can live my life so much more better. Learning to be contended with myself, learning to give importance to other things, basic things that too such as God, my family and excercise (yes I still go to the gym every now and then!). I’ve learnt to spend more time reading on non-work related stuff to build a broader mind. These days I find myself with a copy of Newsweek in my hand as I commute back and forth to work. I find myself being less anxious about work, about meeting deadlines, about worrying less about my performance.

I guess I might have found my panacea for living my life afterall 🙂

 Related Reading : No Overperformance Please

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  • I was once the I-must-go-out-and-save-all-the-turtles grad student but of course like you said, however hard I tried, it was never enough for somebody else. So I have chose to take one day at a time, tackling the issues as they come to me, spend more time with my family (since I live some 8 hours from home) and be productive without killing myself (with stress and depression).

    And a quotation that I later stumbled upon just reaffirmed my choice:

    “Nobody lies on their deathbed wishing they had spent more time at work.”

    There is no end to work. The more you do, the more it comes to you.

  • Seems it will do you a lot of good that you realize such things early. I was through three quarters of my work life before I could put a finger on it. But then I guess things were so much different then and now. And then again, it was half my work life gone before I joined an MNC. Here is where performance is measured and calculated on paper. And data interpretation is more important and trusted than personal assessment and judgement. Creativity, dedication and passion for the job is one strength (or now considered weakness) that can be exploited. And whatever happened to the dignity of labor?

  • it’s good that you have developed this thinking now.

    i’m working for a chinaman, albeit a kiwi born and bred chinaman, but still their thinking and working ways is nonetheless of a chinaman.
    and i find it very struggling to cope with it, because my values and his are very different.
    our expectations are very different, and most nights i come home feeling depressed and stressed.
    a lot of times i feel like i want to just throw in the towel and just dump my resignation letter.

    but i can’t because the economy is horrible at the moment, and jobs aren’t aplenty. so i just have to stick with this one to pay my bills.

    and like you, i have to tell myself that i won’t let my work affect my personal life, though i admit sometimes it’s very hard to adopt such thinking when you simply just have a crap day.

    but i guess in a way, we strive NOT to be like these people who make work their whole life and whole soul.



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