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betasam's Journal: Skipping Stress at work

Journal by betasam
Living in Bangalore, I find a huge number of people absolutely stressed out from the workplace. I see this at the place where I work too. While there has been quite some hue and cry over "outsourcing" and work being sent eastward, I don't see significant measures taken up to help people perform better. There are many people who actually believe that they perform better under stress. That, I would term is the worst mistake one can make.

Most of the jobs that people work on, can use a good amount of creativity. Everyone needs to achieve two things at the workplace. They have to help their employer or organisation or co-operative grow; and at the same time achieve self-growth and improvement. Civilisation, it is theorised, was created solely because people had time to rest from "food-gathering" activities (including hunting and farming.) The time that people could spare was used to creatively "understand nature" (and hence form the fundamental premises of modern science) and "invent machines" including the wheel.

Today, we seem to have taken a step backward forgetting the very roots that brought us here. Everyone (A good percentage of tech workers and the like) spends 12-13hrs of their waking time (roughly 16hrs on an average) in activities targeted towards their work ("food-gathering"). People tend to spend lesser time with family, for themselves, to open up their own minds. Half of the "urgency" created in the Information-age is artificial and in many cases unnecessary. Companies want to get to market faster and faster, but this can be done only by improving the invention process, not by employing a Blitzkrieg with a Mongolian horde.

Fundamentally if an Organisation wants to achieve more in less time, that's exactly what its people should be able to do; achieve more in less time. To do this, stress due to overworking and under-sleeping, boring communication techniques - like meetings (where people ponder endlessly and argue towards no end) need to be reduced to the bare minimum. People should learn that each task that they do must be in the path of making them better at whatever they would love to do. Companies should help Personnel achieve their personal objectives and dovetail them with the Company's own. An Organisation is no more than its people, there are no bricks and walls which can meet ends without people.

I see people making mistakes and I recently cut a bit of my own sleep only to see that things were going amiss and out of control. When this happens there is a tendency to repeat it and go into a tailspin which I almost did. I realised that a good number of people were doing this. There are of course others who don't care a damn about their roles/jobs. Those are the kind who lack self-discipline and need to be dealt with by administration as peer influence is unlikely to help them.

The lessons to be learnt are simple. Companies need to learn to have and respect "High value" individuals to achieve their ends by empowering the individuals themselves. Individuals need to take time to improve themselves creatively as self-improvement is in itself a leap in the growth of civilisation. Employing thousands and thousands, or making people work 80-90% of their waking time is most likely counter-productive in the long run. Even the military does this only when they go "Red alert." I see no reason why companies like to always set unrealistic goals and pass stress to individuals. One must understand that the very managers/administrators who create stress to others and themselves need to grow to avoid underestimating problems.

People have always termed that my ideas are hypothetical and less practical. The naked truth is, today's society is quite close to what Plato dreamed of in the "Republic" and an extension or growth of Ancient Rome. The hypothetical has slowly entered the realm of the practical and is the sole process by which change in Civlisation and life is created. It takes quite a strong will to plan well and learn to avoid stress. The free mind is the most powerful tool mankind has ever had. Inside a box, and constrained by time, it is unlikely to bring out its best.
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Skipping Stress at work

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