After decades, a school mate of mine called me me yesterday. It was a pleasant surprise for me. I only knew from the friend circle that he is a top executive in a MNC based out of UK.
When he learnt that I have superannuated, he wanted me to come on a video call. After seeing me, he exclaimed “Hey!! You!!! but for your shining top, you remain the same old buddy ya!!! You worked for Government Department, right? You were supported by more than required workforce is it not? , NO PRESSURE of work anytime; except for pleasing the bosses with some GOODness in time, work ah!”
I wondered!! Oh! Really? Is it so?
I replied, “Look at me! At sixty, how do I look now? Haven’t I been difficult to Makeout ?? !!
The work pressure has had it’s effect for sure! “
Our conversation went on for almost thirty minutes or more.
But, the statement that Government Employees don’t experience work pressure was unpalatable.
I went on recollecting my interactions with people both in official and personal life trying to make out how any times we did talk of this word PRESSURE.
I could easily correlate to my younger days, when mother took objections to my exuberant interest in the game of cricket, and when all her soothing advise failed to draw me home in time, she used to tell, okay, evening I will tell your father about your addiction to the game, you are overlooking all important things including your studies. That game is not your bread winner. I then used to tell her “Don’t put pressure on me”.
For I knew the end effect of my dad being apprised of my time schedule. Usually dinner time used to the ideal time to discuss family issues, as we used to have family eat together those days, unlike the different time zones observed now though all live under one roof only. The pressure then was the ultimate effect of not adhering to advise.
Pressure is defined as “the force produced by pressing against something”, it’s more of a scientific definition.
In real life, as noted earlier, Pressure becomes contextual.
For a home maker the pressure is to keep things ready within the time frame, For a student performance in an exam, for a job seeker to face the interview board, for a worker it’s not just about mastering his area of work – it’s much beyond-infact the working arena teaches you how difficult the world is. It’s not just sufficient that you do ur job efficiently it’s much much beyond that, understanding the coworker, leading a team of disconnected minds, standing up to the expectation superiors and more importantly not to be reduced to a nullity by the hot frog syndrome colleagues who always pulls one back if they feel one’s good prompt actions may force them also to perform and the fear of earning wrath from superiors. Thus, in a work place Pressure just doesn’t mean meeting the deadlines, It’s about drawing and redefining your boundaries within the environment as frequently as possible and strive not to overstep one’s own Lakshmanarekha
I learnt about this from a Physician, a few years back. During an annual health checkup , the physician perusing my lab test reports, was checking with me. Whether I experienced certain symptoms. He went on mentioning few of them from his list. It was NO NO from me. Finally, he said “You need to avoid getting stressed out.” He noted that my BP was slightly higher than normal. He went on , “No medication needed if u don’t have the symptoms but u need to avoid Stress”.
A physician understanding my professional background summed up what’s work Stress.
He said, in a lighter vein-
“You are an Auditor who keep a tab on expenditure of others and naturally when u see certain accounts there will be considerable internal impact on you which causes stress.”
So, for the first time I learnt that a work pressure is different from work related stress though we commonly use the same word.
Well, i thought my physician was right. During execution of any assignment, When the Executor observes certain reportable instances, naturally he/she enters into a dilemma on whether to report the issue straightaway, discuss with superiors, what shall be the impact on u, will u be blamed for such an analysis, how the earlier team had seen this issue if it’s a continuing event, what the earlier team may think of me, social and possible political (here I mean the usual petty office politics of splinter groups) etc.
When the span of control is large as in a Government set up, the pressure is felt at each stage by each group.
These days, masked ones threaten to invoke the RTI Act provisions, resort to frequent anonymous complaints, indulge in indirect harassment Techniques of spreading wrong messages, shouting loudly over phone before third party, well planned character assassination campaign to defame their own people. These people take care that their harassing attitude doesn’t reach the superiors by creating firewalls with in the organisation. Hence, work related Stress in Government offices is much more.
Our policy makers have devised the best possible rules and regulation frame work to address all such issues, but, as the saying goes EVERY RULE has an exception.
Each one of us should understand our roles and responsibilities; Both in working and family arena, identify the sources of stress and take remedial action rather than brooding. As long as there’s support for the weak wicked masked people out to create trouble within the organisation, any stern effort from policy makers too will not have a desired impact.
Stress is identified with guidelines, regulations and Expectations and converted to PRESSURE.
So, it’s within us not to fall a prey to the STRESS which is our Negative Reaction For Pressure respond positively to Pressure and be stress free.