Is your life essentially a never-ending conveyor belt of panic with little sushi bowls of varied and wondrous crises bobbling along every few minutes in a relentless river of pain and worry and hyper-ventilation?
If so, you really need to chill, my friend. Because the vast majority of sashimi that is coming your way is not worth the tension. Especially the sesame-seed encrusted avocado maki rolls of workplace annoyance and conflicts. Those are the worst. And must be avoided at all costs.
Fed up of the sushi analogy? Duly noted. Not entirely convinced that your worries are mostly pointless? Let me explain flippantly.
So you may be a middle-management worry-cutlet in some telecom company that is struggling to pump up your Arpus or Snafus or whatever it is and can’t sleep at night knowing that out there customers are lining up to port their numbers to another network and flee from your ramshackle concern. Each night you go to bed in a funk, cry yourself to sleep, then wake up refreshed and overjoyed. Which feeling lasts for exactly 10 seconds before you realize how life is meaningless and your Russian stakeholders are beginning to get testy. So you slog and slog away at work not knowing that at this very moment Vladimir’s boys are lining up the entire top management of your Russian partner in front of a train and making it “look like an accident”. Boom boom boom, India exit.
Or you may be a management consultant grappling with the single greatest report ever presented on emerging markets strategy. A piece of work that will make Goldman Sachs’ BRICS report look like instruction manuals inside electronic items made in China: “And then this charge you inside 220V wow totally in a domestic plausibility carrot. Wow.” Every moment of every day your mind is obsessed with the yet another disparate grouping of nations, say, Poland, Ukraine, Burma, Indonesia, Slovakia. Little do you know that at this very moment some Slovakian military general, out of boredom more than anything else, is planning a spot of coup d’etat to spice up the Easter weekend, thereby destroying your acronym and the integrity of your complete report which had Slovakia ranked “No. 7 in the world for political stability”. Boo.
Or you may be one of those shiny, semi-formal private equity guys who look almost exactly like consultants but wear much better shoes. In particular you have been slogging for months to place a few million dollars in some protifable-looking-but-quite-possibly-audit-frauding family-owned business in Baddi or Salem. The managing director of Jai Moogambigai High-tech Textiles is slimier than a banana bajji at a Trichy bus terminus at 4am. But your investors in California are frothing at the mouth to get into the “India story” and your slow pace is utterly unexpectable. So you’ve spent weeks in some unholy hotel in Salem away from family and a good espresso machiatto trying to, basically, bribe your way into the deal. But how are you to know that back at head office your CEO has just completed pilfering $36 million in funds, Shreya in human resources, and thence absconded to Corfu. Where he will retire to a life of leisure, consultancy and World Economic Forums.
Or perhaps you are the fearless leader of some high-powered taskforce in some top-notch multinational behemoth. You are well organized and super-efficient yourself, but you cannot afford to slack even for a second. Because the team worships you like a father figure. They draw their intensity and their sense of purpose from you. All the time, even as your spouse and children are jumping all over you lovingly, your mind is glued to your team. “I wonder how those guys are coping right now with the database migration procedure,” you think as your children playfully set fire to an asbestos factory or some such family crisis unfolds. But the thing is this. It doesn’t matter, you poor, poor fool. CEOs, even the good ones, drop dead all the time. Young ones get heart attacks. Old ones die in their sleep. Yet companies and teams and conglomerates cope without blinking a collective eyelid. Because, to be frank, you are fungible, old chap.
Or maybe you are an entrepreneur, freelance writer, contemporary dancer or some such free bird, sailing the winds on your own wings. You have legitimate reasons to be crisis-prone. After all your back-up career plan is to go back to work, marry for dowry and pay off debts. But still…worrying isn’t going to get you too far. Thinking and talking and doing and undoing and redoing are all quite useful. But sitting and worrying? It can only do good to the guy running the coffee shop in which you are ensconced with worry.
So my point, and Salman Khan has made this many times before, is to just chill. Reserve worry for the genuine crises. In fact isn’t bounce-back-ability the real message of Easter? They might crucify you and torture you and humiliate you one day. But two days later, come Sunday, you are up and about again wearing white, with a glowing countenance and eating large chocolate eggs.
Cubiclenama takes a weekly look at pleasures and perils of corporate life. Your comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read Sidin Vadukut’s previous columns, go to www.livemint.com/cubiclenama