Work Diary: the meaning of labour

Life is cruel.
I have sixteen days left of annual leave.
I have enough frequent flyers miles for London – return.
I haven’t got a clue where to go or what to do.
Maybe once I’ve gotten pass pissed off I’ll start thinking.
I am still in need of a travel partner.
Yes, believe it or not I have never traveled solo.
Obviously not very much.
And thank god I like Bob-the-Builder enough not to kill him with mutton fat clogged arteries. 
Being my Voice of Reasoning (VR), he had said this in a matter of fact, are you absolutely bonkers, way: you need a torch right in front of you to see who’s standing 15 centimeters away. They could be putting you in a sled pulled by a snow mobile or even a motorised pulley, play some barking sound effects and occasionally haul some dog poo to make it authentic
when I said I’m gonna ride on a huskies mobile in Lapland for Christmas. Yes, that’s what I had thought I would do, not once pausing to think why the price tag had dropped > 50%!
Obviously NOT thinking.
But how is it possible when every blood vessel feeding into my neocortex is ragging boiling mad???
pissed off as they say.
I have saved my annual leave for this MUSTgo2trip.
I have juggled all my work commitments – executive programmes, workshops, stretched assignments schedules, overseas travel, even board presentations – around this MUSTgo2trip.
I have even given Pushkar a missed and I gave up a Bali photo-workshop with The Travel Photographer to make way for work commitments so that I could make it for this MUSTgo2trip.
I have contacted contacts from both sides of the stories; civilians and the military government.
I have sourced contacts of freedom fighters, underground media folks, refugees and even folks at the United Nations to ensure that this MUSTgo2trip is fruitful for his research.
I have found people willing to speak up and be photographed; all this against a harsh backdrop of uncertainty, possible detention and prosecution, and gun fires.
While tix and visas should have been in the process of being issued; as his is way more complex to obtain than mine {did I ever tell you it’s great to travel on a Malaysian passport?} … I received one lousy email saying he can’t possibly slot time for this MUSTgo2trip and suggested that it be postponed for circa a year.
Seriously WTF {and this time I make no apologies for the profanity}.
Do you seriously think the people will wait?
Do you seriously think with credibility at stake, the contacts, and contacts of contacts will be there the next time??
And seriously, WTF for one lousy email.
I mean, thanks man, for the blinding light and violent shake that woke me up to reality.
… a reality where I am too ‘small’ to be deserving of a phone call at the very least.
… a reality where I am certainly not worthy of your apology.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
But, why am I reacting this way?
The way in which I am furious at my inability to drag him into the ‘thrash’ bin. To block him out of all my social network and what nots.
He is far from being in the arsehole category and worthless … the category in which my lawyer occupies comfortably.
But surely he belong somewhere in the grey areas.
Why should I even care?
I never really cared much about the story.
It’s not something I am compelled to do a photo documentary on.
It was painful enough to spend many wee hours into the night reading and researching on it; political, sociology, anthropology, geography, history and obviously travel given that I have to get in and out in the most efficient and least noticeable way … studying all routes, options and topography.
Why am I upset when I know upfront that I have nothing to gain?
Monetarily or recognition upon successfully completing the assignment?
Behavioural economist, Dan Ariely, hit the nail on its head with his chapter ‘the meaning of labour’ in his book “The upside of IRRATIONALITY”
Reading this chapter made me realise two things:
ONE – John Creedy’s brilliance and bookish geeky good looks aside, I should have taken Behavioural Economics as my elective rather than Social Economics.
TWO – Why, though totally burnt out {a condition that has persisted for more than 2 years now}, I still go back for more ‘pain’ and irritation by participating in a great deal and numbers of special initiatives ran by the Bank that does not culminate to my KPIs and ultimately rewards.
Certainly the other points hold true: each and everyone of us has a labour-identity connection. It simply means that many of us find pride and meaning in our jobs to the point that it is a larger connection of who we are than our name, school, place of birth, etc. Often than not, when faced with a stranger we talk about what we do first even before names are being introduced.
Hence, when placed in a “Sissyphean*” condition {assuming the boss is neither superb nor a total ‘thrash bin’ category person},we perish and move on in search of the meaning of labour.
In my recent experience, I was demotivated and angry primarily because that one lousy email {which could have been drafted better as well} was akin to seeing my work destroyed and torn apart. Coupled with the feeling that he did not seem to assist or do anything to help the situation {from my (misguided?) perception at least}
Borrowing Hipocrate’s words:
“make a habit of two things – to help, or at least do no harm
is as important in the workplace and life, as they are in medicine.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
*  term used as a tribute to the mythical King Sissyphus who was punished by the Gods to push a big rock up a steep hill that rolls backwards as soon as it reaches the top again and again and again for eternity for his avarice and trickery.

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