Are We Too Busy For What Really Matters?

I hope that you enjoy reading this post on the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where six of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic was chosen by Shackman. The five other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, gaelikaa, Maxi, Paul, Shackman, and The Old Fossil. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!
Calvin busyThere are a few readers out there who will bear witness to my assertion that I was never so busy that I could not find the time for what really mattered. Nor were they for that matter.  All of us are now comfortably retired and have all the time in the world to attend to only things that matter. In fact, I have so much of time that I can read something like this and wonder just what has gone wrong with the world. We had working parents in our time too and they did not get overwhelmed.

It was different those days for an Indian in the corporate world where even the bosses would consider people who worked before and after office hours as inefficient.  We used to joke about colleagues who would show a lot of motion but no action. There was a certain understanding that what is now called work life balance was automatically provided for by the employer.  As a boss, I used to tell my staff, just as I used to be told my boss/es that if one worked late or on holidays, it was an indication of a miserable home life and that the person should find a solution in double quick time.

There was a certain elegance in dropping in at the club or a bar on the way home after work for a couple of drinks and fellowship and beery week end afternoons and siestas were very much part of one’s normal life.

With the reforms of the nineties of the last century and the explosion of the IT industry in India, things changed and I am told that the culture is vastly different and someone worrying about her/his home life can either opt to be an entrepreneur or look for a job with the government.  This is telling on health and relationships and when I talk to young people about my days, they either do not believe me or say that they cannot find such employment anywhere now.

So, the answer to Shackman’s question is Yes, it would appear to be so now.  It is sad and I for one feel sorry for the present day workforce that has to live such lives.

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23 Responses to Are We Too Busy For What Really Matters?

  1. I read reviews of the book. A lot of people thought it had good ideas, others said, “What? They didn’t stop to think earlier?” So it sounds as if they had the freedom to make good choices, but they didn’t use that freedom earlier. It is possible that not everyone has the same freedom.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..Telephones

  2. Maxi says:

    You have approached today’s topic in a much different way than I, Rummy. Still, I can close my eyes and see you go about your day. Aah, the retired life.
    blessings ~ maxi
    Maxi recently posted..8 Ways To Change Your Life

  3. nick says:

    I think it’s very true that many of today’s workers are expected to work so hard and for such long hours that they don’t have enough time to enjoy their non-work life and as you say, their health and relationships suffer. We’ve moved into an era of badly-paid, sweated labour where many bosses see your non-work life as irrelevant.
    nick recently posted..Flight into oblivion

  4. It’s sad but true – but there are exceptions. I have commented on 3 such exceptions.

  5. As a single mom, I’ve definitely felt overwhelmed with the work involved in raising kids, running a full-time practice, and maintaining a household. But even so, I take time for what’s important, including fun time with my kids and friends and time for myself.
    Secret Agent Woman recently posted..Conversations with my ex.

    • From all that you get to do that I read about in your blog, I can understand that you do find time. You are an exception in the modern competition driven environment.

  6. tammyj says:

    i think the physical environment too is as unhealthy as the pace.
    i worked under constant deadline… day in day out… in an airless closed in space filled with cubicles. no windows. two doors. it had been the archive storage room of a huge law firm.
    if everyone could work in a building with windows and natural light…
    even THAT would help the feeling of ‘no life!’.
    but as someone said… when you win the rat race… you’re still a rat?
    is that what they said? LOLOL. a rat on a wheel. no wait. that’s a hamster.
    what were we talking about?
    LOLOL.
    tammyj recently posted..clearness of knowing

  7. Grannymar says:

    A career is not a life, it is only a job. If you become ill, how many of the people you burst a gut for on a daily basis, will actually come to your aid?
    Grannymar recently posted..The End is never the End ~ Part 2

    • Try telling that to a DINK (Double Income No Kids) couple here with heavy mortgage and monthly installment payments that leave them broke for cash by the third week of every month. Apart from that indignity, they are also physically and mentally exhausted and the relationships usually are floundering too.

  8. vagabonde says:

    This is an interesting subject but I think different cultures place different priorities on their lives. Here in the US, with the Puritan ethic, work is very important and leisure takes second place. The US is the only western country without laws about vacations, they leave it to the companies and some don’t give any. In my native country, France, it is very different – work and leisure come hand in hand. I remember at work here in Georgia, a large corporation, if we took French clients to lunch they were not pleased to talk business during their meals, but for the US bosses they have “working lunches” or “working breakfast” – that is frown upon in France. In France they have 4 to 6 weeks vacation by law and people take their vacations, here in my company many people did not take they yearly vacations of 2 weeks and opted to get paid for it – money was more important than time off! As I said it has a lot to do with culture. Of course in France education is free from pre kindergarten to university and healthcare too, but in the US people have to pay for everything, including a substandard healthcare – so I guess they need more money…
    vagabonde recently posted..Bulloch Hall 32nd Quilt Show – Ground Floor

    • I quite see where you come from. My experience was with two British companies and with Indian companies who more or less followed the same British values. I however understand that even in Britain now it is vastly different.

  9. renu says:

    I fully agree with your comments. It is always easier to have a work-life balance in countries where education, healthcare, social security benefits etc are taken care of by the state. But when all these provisions have to be made by the working individual, it leaves them little choice but to slave away at their jobs. Additionally, peoples wants now exceed their needs leading to a culture shift even in societies which were considered to be content with little. Materialism has now become the mantra. We may have to accept that a little extra cash can buy a certain amount of comfort and security. Unfortunately, all this takes a toll on the health, relationships etc of the present day workforce.This is an issue which is not just regional but affecting an entire generation across many continents.

    • Renu, I am fully in agreement with you as you are at that age when things in India look so depressing. I mentor young people with similar problems and some of them do decide to compromise and change their life styles to lesser income driven careers that give them better work life balance. I iterate that there will be a compromise.

  10. In my profession, busy-ness sometimes replaced productivity. Doing what is/was important is always a matter of sorting priorities. Busy-ness is easy to fall prey to.
    Talk to Me…I’m Your Mother recently posted..A Crisis…of Faith…of Knowing?

  11. Cathy in NZ says:

    I can do more or less as I like as well, even though not officially retired… but to all means purposes I am. I basically have had not choice in the matter because of my health and disability issues…

    So have I have found my own way…which allows me to have this weekend as a complete “respite retreat” from life. Why? Because my health has sneaky little add-ons that it likes to remind me at inopportune moments “hey over here, sweetie” and then sends me a not too gentle reminder!

    Plus we have the tail-end of a cyclone wending it’s way down through our skinny little landmass – it’s rather windy outdoors…the rain didn’t have a big impact on my lawn though!
    Cathy in NZ recently posted..History: 8 destructive storms, NZ

    • I think that all of us eventually did if we can talk about it now in this blog post. It is the younger lot that are going through problems and I have two youngsters at home trying to achieve precisely what I am driving at.

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