Altruism at work

A clear reason why will we be unhappy if we work or study or live in an atmosphere of constant competitiveness and have no common goals, no kindness or no compassion towards each other.

My happiest memories of work are with people who believed in inclusiveness, learning and mutual growth. I have worked in organizations that promoted competition between peers and all level of colleagues with the intention of producing some striking work. It never really appealed to me. Rather than constantly thinking will I feature in the monthly list of “creative individuals,” I was more focused on getting the job done and doing it without any error. And that, in no way meant, that I wasn’t creative or successful. For me, work was never about the spotlight.

One of the most amazing feelings when you are a part of team is helping someone who is junior (hierarchy wise) to you, succeed or aiding them in doing what they want. I felt crazy amount of bliss when I did that. In fact, one of my biggest concerns when I had a team was that I couldn’t spend much time helping them grow. I loved spending whatever time I could helping others. It wasn’t about taking on extra work. It was more about learning from someone else and helping someone else learn. An exchange of knowledge and ideas. Human interaction that helps creative people grow, achieve new levels of creativity and do awesome work. And competitiveness is a complete antithesis of that.

Recognition is a temporary result of good work. We work in teams. While giving out accolades, pointing out one single person is creating an atmosphere of potential hostility between team mates. I have so many times heard people say, “It was team work,” when they have been awarded something. And so many times I wanted to ask everyone in that team, did it really feel like team work? Did you help someone grow or were you more concerned about being better than the rest in that team? Common goals unite us. There is so much discord when everyone is trying to be better than the other. No wonder people like me hate working in teams.

It is the unsung work. Things that people don’t notice. Like taking time to help someone do better, making a cup of coffee for a colleague who is struggling, buying someone lunch. And sometimes, it is the big things that you do without expectations like double checking a piece of work, proactively making sure there are no glitches, foreseeing disasters. And then there are massive things like ensuring a calm day. It is this stuff that made me feel great about the work I did. These moments were what made working-job-employment worthwhile for me.

And frankly, in retrospect, it didn’t matter if recognition came or came late. It took me a while but I made peace with my priorities. The smiles I shared with my team, the trust and rapport from clients and knowing I did my best was much more to me than award at the end of a month.

I saw this video today and realised why was there such level discontent in me when I worked in the environment I mention above. It explained to me the reason why I couldn’t feel at ease or happy even when things were seemingly good. And what exactly did I decide to quit when I left certain jobs.

Resolves, Superstitions and Happiness

So it has been more than two weeks since my birthday and haven’t had the time or the inclination to come here and write about it. So here it goes, it was one of the best yet. For very simple reasons at that:

  • I confirmed a job I was looking forward to
  • Received some awesome and funny phone calls from some really awesome friends
  • Had someone to keep me company throughout the day and flirt with me
  • Got some really nice gifts and flowers
  • Had a nice dinner, preceded by buying stationery! Nothing could make me happier.

I guess more than anything else, I was just happy. There was no single reason that made me happy but something did. I think it was just my resolve to be happy that day.

Over to the second bit. Yes, I have started working again. It is something that took very long to happen but in the end, my patience paid off. It is very rare that I look at something and say that I want to do this. This was one of those very few moments. And for some reason, I am ridiculously superstitious about it. Very few people know I have started working again. I refuse to update my Facebook or Linkedin, even when I know that it is a practical thing to do. Like always, I am scared to be happy. Scared to jinx it. I don’t think anyone can blame me. It does have way too many plus points as of now. But * touches wood * patience. This is going to be about patience and not excitement. I am going to let things happen at their own speed. I am not going to rush into things.  I am not going to do anything that I’ll regret.

After watching Life of Pi yesterday, I have resolved to go to Pondicherry in the beginning of the New Year. Pick up my bags and go sort of trip. I have wanted to do this for a very long time. Just book tickets in advance because I just cannot afford the airfares.  That is, if one of my other secret plans doesn’t work out. And you will have to wait for that secret to come out.

Yes, this has been a month of secrets, superstitions and happiness. * touch wood *