7 Hints to Know When to Quit

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The post over Instagram made me smirk,

“Mondays are not bad, it’s your job that is”

Later at tai chi class, I asked my Shifu for advice over stress management.

“Why do you want to MANAGE stress? Why not eliminate it?”

The question was poignant, yet vague. Stress and jobs inevitably co-existed, and the thought of dispelling such a pervasive element such as stress was clearly impossible. At the end of class, Shifu summoned me and said,

“It’s not about stress, it’s about asking yourself the right question. What is it that prevents you from enjoying what you do?”

Many of us are fraught with a besetting loyalty towards our work places (or atleast pretend to be), and procrastinate a crucial choice between the obstinacy to stay and the reasons for leaving, despite clear and conspicuous hints that point to the latter. In my career spanning more than 10 years, I have now come to realize that many (including myself), keep the faith that events will eventually conjure a positive turn, and until then do not wish to disquiet themselves. However, ‘waiting’ may only perhaps undermine opportunities for betterment elsewhere. Therefore, I have compiled a checklist of 7 must-haves, to know when it’s time to pull the plugs and move on:

  1. Are you progressing? Increased stress, work overtime, or an increase in salary are not indicators for progress. Always pally with professionals in the same field from other companies and make a healthy comparison. Are you given regular training, refresher courses, advanced software workshops, competitive tests? Or are you on the same level of knowledge since you started? If your answer is the latter, then this will dangerously hamper your chances outside the organisation where others with lower salaries than yourself may probably be a lot more productive than you are. This is a primary question, that must determine your reasons for staying.
  2. Has your Income advanced? Life and inflation are two inevitable realities that your management must acknowledge. Human needs increase and so do expenditures. If your organisation has been unable to contend with these realities, it will leave you stifled. But if you seem content with your regular annual appraisal, then its best to stay.
  3. Are you appreciated? Appreciation does not have to always come in a pay package. A good leader must show no diffidence when saying a few warm words of thanks to the employee. Understandably, staff are paid to face vitriolic customers, maintain pressure deadlines, and remain pleasant in the face of delayed productivity, but their steadfast loyalty is priceless, and must be acknowledged. If the CEO needs to value the goodwill of his organisation, staff appreciation must be initiated.
  4. Can you trust your colleagues? Your peers, whether at the noisy cubicle or at the coffee machine, form that social unit that you could be stuck with for a major part of your career or profession. No matter what your supervisor may tell you, the ‘other’ team too gets their paycheck from the same common employer, so ask yourselves are you behaving like united team mates with a common goal, or are you on a battlefield everyday with conniving, back-stabbing and deceptive players waiting to knock you down? Which sounds better: trust or insecurity?
  5. Work to Live: I must admit that while on my previous job, I did not even muster the time to enjoy the view of my next door neighbor’s sprightly bougainvillea, under the false notion that I was a hard worker. Our world is competitive, but if you have forgotten how to live in it, then you will have missed much. Your family, friends and health are what stays with you, during your bad times, and years after your retirement. Not all tracks are meant for running, so slow down.
  6. “Should be able to handle pressure”: This can be tricky. All jobs have their pressure points, that is the ability to reach designated targets within agreed deadlines. With thorough experience over time, you can overcome pressure mayhem by prioritizing the tasks in order of their importance as well as keeping required reports updated. Know when to draw the line over too many responsibilities, and when to ask for assistance or additional time. Remember to keep yourself human, and not an order taking machine.
  7. Do you like what you do? Last but not least, this is an integral question that we must ask ourselves. Did you give up your dreams for this profession, or is it vice versa? Once the initial basic needs have been met – loan paybacks, mortgage, family support, education, etc, you need to appraise your talents and live out what you have been born to do. It could be a path less taken, it could involve risks, you could even end up alone. But the attempt will assuredly be rewarding. Remember, that any dream can be successful, all you need to do is wake up.

The Catholic Hindu Link – Day 9: How to know when you are doing the right thing

Damn! Just a month before I enter the great thirties 😦 .

It was decided that me and my online friend (who just celebrated her 30th birthday bash) should write a biographical account of ourselves covering the last 10 years. This made us re-visit the adrenalinous journey from the moment we cut that 20th Birthday cake until today. It was a good assignment, as we began to realize the reasons behind some of the memories and why they were worth mentioning, while others didn’t matter anymore; how some events stressed us to the point of suicide back then, and made us laugh so much now; what were some of the independent decisions we made for the first time, how we failed because of them, who stood by us and what we learnt from all of that within the decade. I think many of us should do this review once in a lifetime; it can be painstaking, but definitely rewarding.

When I gave my final outline for her to read, she was truly amazed. I hinted at the end that my theologies had changed – I was no longer the fanatic pharisee, but instead my spirituality had improved for the better; to cut it short, I ‘may be’ comfortable stretching myself beyond catholic horizons in marriage.  I guess it was the blog that impressed her at first, since she appreciated the content, the writing style, the use of quotes, etc. It took a good 3 hour mid day break (she works on split shift, and travels home for lunch) to realize that my content could indeed be ‘controversial’. She began to spray me with questions backed by Bible quotes, testimonials and a whole lot of catholic canons. Expectantly, she wasn’t happy, and it broke my heart to think that the only person I share my beliefs in, didn’t believe in me.

Anyways, in order to keep the friendship I nodded in agreement to her supposed explanations, but this was not why I am writing this blog. Passing ahead of this event, I would like to share with you the rewards of writing a self-memoir:

  • All events, situations, embarrassing moments, humiliations, triumphs and hurts get revisited. Some memories seem faded and need recollection, while there will be some whose memories are loud enough to echo again in your blog. Either way, there’s a reason behind why you remember them, and which you choose to write some and which you chose to ignore.
  • You may realize that some people have changed, just as much as you have. These changes may foster the reasons behind why they still remained in/ walked out of  your life.
  • It shows you the bigger picture: how birth, deaths, travel and break-ups led to your present evolution.
  • You may have a second chance to reconsider those incompleted resolutions, reverse a few regrets or reconcile with yourself. Its never too late to start fresh and revamp the plans for the future.
  • Most importantly: Check the pattern of your life – your childhood: relationships, friends and tragic & happy circumstances. Then check for developments / changes in your adulthood: the people you met, their relationship with you, your choices, your faith, your attitudes, your mentors and events. Spiritually perhaps there is a pattern that you haven’t recognized yet.

Back to the Question

Once, my younger cousin asked me ‘How do I know if I am doing the right thing?’

I admit, I’m no swami or astrologer to know, but based on the above assignment, I noted the times when I took good decisions – the choices I made without regretting later. I’d like to share these maxims with you, based on what I gathered from my own experiences, in addition to advises from several wise personas:

  • When making a decision between 2 or more choices: weigh the odds and the crowns. Focus on the quality, than the quantity of these odds.
  • Ensure that the decision you are taking / bound to take is based on your personal gratification and choice, and not on coercion or public opinion. This is important if you need to be happy and positive in the future.
  • Never make a decision based on retaliation, re-bounded emotions, revenge or vain one-sided interests.
  • Its true that we cannot keep everyone happy; therefore making a decision solely for the sake of others happiness may have a toll on us someday. We may not openly show resentment, but our actions, relations with kin and self will be negatively affected.
  • If the path you want to undertake gives you restless nights, anxieties, over-stressed emotions and negative reactions, then its not worth the fight. Trust me.
  • No lifetime decision is a confident one, you may end up failing, but if your heart is at peace then you have the strength to pick yourself despite multiple failures.
  • Your pathway should ensure you LIVE – Everyday.

Since I am a spiritual person, I’d like to add a footnote: There are things we cannot control, so rather than fight fate, live for the day; do what we can do as a human, and leave the rest to the Divine.