Stressed, Depressed but Well-Dressed!
"I am a corporate slave during the whole day and a restless soul in the evenings and weekends," he introduced himself in a recent gathering. I have never experienced someone introducing himself with such a blunt statement and only then coming to his name and profile.
After the introductions, all other guests started agreeing that this guy was actually right. The difference is that the majority of people do not have the courage for articulating it so bluntly; nevertheless, the stories of their lives are the same, and many of them share the same issue on personal level.
Who decides when you can go home and spend time with your family?
If you are employed in the big corporate world, you are a slave of the clock. Your boss tells you when you can go home, and your boss allots the time you have available to spend with your family. Often, people are sitting in the office after work hours, not because they have work to do, but because the boss is there, and it is taboo to leave the office before your boss leaves!
Who decides where and when you take a vacation?
Your boss dictates to you when you can take a prescribed amount of time off for your vacation, for yourself, for your family. They can even decide where you are able to go, by controlling the amount of money you earn. Once a guy came to me for advice, whether to continue his job or not. Upon asking the issue, he disclosed that he needed his annual leave now, which he had not taken in the last three years. Initially, he was promised that this year he would have a leave for two weeks only, but just a week before his leave started, his boss called him and said that he could not go to vacations due to some important project coming up. His wife and kids had been waiting to spend some time with him for three years and now he was sick of it. This was not a job, this was slavery! He was stressed and all the money he was earning was no more a motivator for him.
Who decides what you do and when you do it at your job?
Most employers even decide when you can drink coffee or go to rest room, go for prayers and for how long. "Immediately go to pray and come back in five minutes, because we have to start an important meeting." Or "How can I leave this intense discussion right now for prayer, because all the top management is here? What will they think about me? It won't look nice." Or asking you to lie: "Just go out and say to the vendor that CFO is not around (which is a lie!) and his cheque will take another two weeks." Sounds familiar, doesn't it? The prioritization gets disturbed! Your values got bulldozed! But this is how the world works, and this is how we can go up the ladder of career!
Who decides at what time you go to bed?
For the vast majority of people, their boss (or their job) decides the sleeping time, because the boss decide at what time you have to be at work. Or he calls you on Skype at 2 am (and destroys your sleep) or at 5:30 am (which is time for Fajr suppose!). I've experienced thousands of restless people, because they cannot adopt a healthy sleeping cycle just because their job does not permit that. I know of thousands of people who miss their prayers every single day not because they do not want to pray, but the slavery is so influential that they do not have the courage to say 'no'. This is a disaster! Now everybody is looking for work-life balance and finding themselves nowhere!
Who makes decisions about your life?
Robert Kiyosaki in his bestseller "Rich Dad Poor Dad" says:
The Rich Dad said, "Somewhere along the way, people became more desirous of security and have paid the price by selling their freedom. You may have noticed that schools today focus primarily on job security rather than financial freedom. The problem is most people do not know that the cost of that security is their freedom." He continued to say, "If you choose security, someone is always telling you what hours to work, how much you make, and even when you can eat your lunch. That is the price of security."
There is no way a person can be truly happy working for someone else, when his work is not aligned with his personal visions. You cannot be happy, when you have to beg someone for time off. You cannot be fully content, when you have to follow someone else's rules or guidelines, especially when they are the exact opposite to your own ideology. You cannot be completely satisfied with decisions that are not your own.
Those who say they are happy with such lifestyle are saying so out of lack of vision. They have become numb to the possibilities and have accepted this as their fate. They are unable to unleash much more powerful and worthier visions to lead lives with. The organizations and businesses think that this is the only way the life works. We are slaves, both individuals and organizations... and like complacent slaves, we do not know that there is a way out of slavery to leading a truly free and meaningful life.
Have you given up your right to make decisions about your life by selling your life one hour at a time, one paycheck at a time? If yes, you are a slave... slave to the currently running system, which I call "System B".
You may be very well dressed every morning, but actually stressed, depressed and restless behind that branded suit that you are wearing today. You want to contribute to the bigger visions, but you do not have control over your resources, specially time. Your prime time goes into producing capital for some investors and getting something out of it for yourself at the end of every month, just to continue the same cycle the next month and so life goes on.
Allah (swt) has designed the life on the principle of balance and not imbalance, but you cannot have it, unless you understand what is going on and why, what needs to be done and why and then how to achieve it.
I pray to Allah (swt) to give us wisdom to understand the true meaning of slavery and where to use it, instead of spending our lives in this rate race of artificial slavery. By the way, even if we win this race, we will still be just rats!