June 22, 2007

The three year itch

Three years at work is an interesting period in the present times. Three - because people hardly stay that long in a particular job now - also because staying that long at one job encourages the millions of well wishers and friends and so many others to say that it is now high time to move onto to a higher sphere of responsibility. But those are just the external influences that trap an already confused mind to take steps in extreme anxiety.
What is of concern at the end of three years is a person's appreciaitionof his immediate environment, his profile at work and the knowledge of his increased or continuing stagnant responsibilities. He has been working for three years, starting with little responsibility but high work pressure. He then moves on to roles with a little higher profile but is still working with many superiors, each of whom intends to get his work completed ( wonder whether they care for the junior's work load). At this phase, the person in question is already performing at increasing levels of eficiency and rigour. He is doing better today than he did yesterday. By his third year at work, he has learnt to rope in his ideas into implementable outputs and is immensely satisfied with his efficiency, he is now striving to work even better everyday. He starts getting new and better ideas that seem imminently possible to implement and he sees his ideas forming into a reality every passing day.

He is happy in his work, happy enough in the knowledge of his friends moving on to much better paying jobs, yet expressing their wonder at his work and how meaningful it is, he is also happy enough to somehow fob off the jibes of those who attempt to show him at his lowly place as compared to others of his qualification and background.

This showcasing of his increasing isolation in the overall sphere of rising friends and compatriots does take its toll and the conflict begins. Correct, the work being done is exemplary, it is making a difference at the ground, your employer is gaining with your higher work ethic and appreciating the small differences that you make.

But, you are stressed out, Aren't you... Stressed with your profile, your monthly take home salary and stressed witht the conflicts that never seem to leave you. You were naturally inclined to work at higher levels of efficiency but are stressed out with the knowing fact of not being handed enough responsibilities that match you. You clash with your seniors, severely affected by their nonchalance and realise that often, you are the only one fighting a battle. Even to ask for more work, you need to take up a fight that then seems to spill on to the next day and further still. You are fixed on the organisational pattern that seems to award those who work less and burden those who work more. Your friends concur with your observations and again, tell you - Hey, it is high time for you to leave.

Besides, not being given responsible enough jobs, you are plagued with workload of a different manner. It is true that writiting a book and carrying garbage cannot be matched but you should be doing what is you vocation and not what is others' work profile. You are overburdened and unable to see the positive impacts of your work (almost as if the garden never looks clean though you may prune the roses everyday). This is a time of a sense of failure setting in when you see that your well meaning decisions at the start of your career are actually leading to failure of your dreams and ambitions,,, may be you have just become a failure and incapable of taking up a better job.You are psyched out by by your decreasing self worth and about to burn out from your perceived incompatibility with your present work.

This in short are the symtoms of the three year itch and you may be one of them suffering from this ailment. Though, I have writtn down the symtoms, yet I do not seem to have the right answers to cure them.. Maybe, time woould play a bigger part in this, maybe