The internet exploded when one entrepreneur recently shared in a LinkedIn post that during the initial years of your career you should work 18 hours a day. A few posts trolling him got the entire internet trolling him for being insensitive and asking to work for 18 hours. While most of us only saw the 18 hours a day aspect of the post, there were many other things in the post that were actually on point and we have been hearing them from ancestors.
I remember when I started working, I got the exact same advice from my parents and professors. My father always said that when you go out and work, give your 100% and work very hard, at least for the initial five years of your career. Work relentlessly, learn as much as you can, and put in those extra hours. That is what will help you build your foundation. Your work will speak for you and shape your life. One very important thing he also said was that work is your biggest asset after your family. As we do not segregate our family from our personal life, we should make work an integral part of it.
As an individual and a working professional, you chose for yourself. There are some people who just love their work, they own it up and strive to always deliver the best. For them, the number of hours doesn’t matter. For instance, I remember on many occasions when my bosses asked me to leave for the day, but I always chose to stay back and finish the task instead of postponing it for the next day. Similarly, I had co-workers who would just not stay a minute longer than their designated time. For them, they were getting paid only for those 8 hours, and they didn’t want to put in a minute extra beyond that. You may argue both sides of the case; however, a bit of hard work and passion for what you do doesn’t hurt anyone.
The LinkedIn post also correctly addressed the fact that there are many voices in the social media space today advising us on what to do and what not to do. They are bombarding us with an array of content on what is right and what is not, rightly convincing us to take a break, rejuvenate ourselves, work-life balance, etc. While all these things are important and should be done, only at the right time. I have personally worked with young graduates who needed a break from work just after barely working for six months. While I always envy the luxury, they had to even think about it, and I also learned that when it’s work, it’s work no rona dhona or compromise on that.
Work-life balance does not necessarily imply that one should not work on weekends or beyond the fixed working hours if it is required. Similarly, it’s not necessary for one to wait for the weekends to go out to party. In a modern work environment, work-life balance is all about having the intelligence and common sense to understand which one to prioritise over the other at a particular time. Let us not try and trade off work and life to find the illusion of work-life balance. Instead, seek try and seek Life AT Work. Make friends, trust, laugh, complain, learn, explore and don’t compartmentalise the two. And as beautifully penned by Harsh Goenka, Chairman-RPG Enterprises, “working 18-hours a day is not for everyone, but let’s not rubbish the idea of hard work”.
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