As mentioned in my last post, I had a whirlwind of a month. It was emotionally stressful, and I was in an overthinking mode. But all’s well that ends well. Thankful to the universe for every little blessing.
With each unchartered experience, you learn something new. Lessons that overshadow the learnings of the past. Here are some things I realized in the past month alone.
Indian managers often act like robots when there is a personal crisis.
The bigwigs did not share any emotion when I gave my reasons for a leave request. No “hope your mother feels better soon” or “hope everything goes well.” What was I expecting? Humanity in the Indian corporate world is a myth. We preach on LinkedIn with the most quotable quotes, but actions prove otherwise.
For the top-level, nothing warrants a response unless it is related to work. In fact, I got dumped with more work and some uncalled-for criticisms on the day of my mother’s hospitalization, even if I had notified my issue well in advance. On that day, I must have thought about quitting at least 10 times. But keeping the robotic virtues aside, the company is quite good. And, of course, you have bills to pay. So you carry on.
After my mom’s heart procedure, a few colleagues asked how my mother was doing. The number of people from top-level management who enquired about her health? Zero. My stress was there for them to see. Yet, none cared.
People often tell you to keep your professional and personal lives apart. I follow and believe this to a large extent. Still, when someone is going through a tough time, I make it a point to provide some motivation, whether a junior or senior. My conscience does not let me rest otherwise.
It was alarming to see the level of indifference from senior managers. Is this what professionalism is all about? Killing your empathy? Another point to add to my An Ode to People Who Are Not CEOs post.
We are giving importance to the wrong things.
For most of our lives, we stress over trivial things – relationships, work disputes, earning more money, materialistic gains, etc. But all it takes is one medical emergency to see the true light – that nothing comes above health.
The last month was a major eye-opener for me. I learned that I should be thankful for each day for all the miracles it offers, no matter how small and no matter how insignificant it may seem to be. It also showed how important it is to keep our physical and mental health happy and stress-free. If I had to choose between peace and more money now, I would undoubtedly choose peace.
Most people will be unavailable.
The people you know will primarily be available only through words, phone calls, and social media messages. But very few will physically show up when you need support, including your siblings. Ultimately, you will have to deal with most of the things yourself. It doesn’t matter if you have a big family or a huge friendship circle; there will be a lot of routes you will have to navigate by yourself. It will be overwhelming and frustrating, but that’s just how life is. You live. You learn.
Regular medical checkups and second opinions are important.
In India, we do not prioritize our health. Many do not have health insurance, especially older people, because it is expensive. We do not get annual health checkups done. This needs to change.
It was during my mother’s regular health checkup that we spotted a variation in her ECG. The doctor did not take it seriously. He declared it as anxiety and aging and told us to let it go. Big mistake. We should have asked for a second opinion.
Always treat minor variations in your tests with great seriousness, especially if you have a family history of heart disease or genetic disorders. Always get a second opinion.
Social media can be deceptive.
In the past month, I did not reveal anywhere online that I was stressed (except for this blog which is unknown to many). I posted memes as usual because it was a form of escapism for me. It might be the same for many others. Things might just be an act. Never take social media too seriously. There might be a lot happening behind the scenes.
Korean drama is like medicine.
When you are having a stressful day, there is nothing like a good Korean drama to melt your worries away. This is important because it made me realize how feel-good entertainment is sorely lacking nowadays. Stuff that people like me can relax to and feel a bit better at the end of the day, even if the emotion is superficial.
Almost all movies and tv shows are dark and serious, with the focus being on realism. Why aren’t there more light-hearted, feel-good, clean, romantic stuff? Looking at you, Indian cinema. Enough of reality. Bring back the escapism.
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