I’m writing this while waiting for a flight to head out on a business trip. I will be gone for 5 days, away from home, loving wife and kids. It has been a hectic couple of months for me so far. Traveling, by nature has it’s advantages as it takes you places you might not have been before and opens doors to new people, cultures and experiences. However, at times, it also takes you away from your loved ones as well, which would be a hard thing to do often for many of us.
I guess travel is just one of many things that’s keeping people away from families. In the “new world” many things have changed in terms of how, when and where people work. With the advent of Internet and improved mobile computing experience, while people are getting things done at the speed of light, they are also compelled to take work where ever they go.
While that is the case, there are still many opportunities for people to work at managing their work – life balance. But given the fast, competitive and challenging world, I think it is getting harder and harder for people to be able to do that. I’m rooting and hoping for the day that would let me do all the work that I want to but still help me spend considerable time with the loved ones. I hope that day is not a mirage as I put it in the title of this post.
I wrote a blog post about “What Life Is a Life Worth?” some time back.
I was watching a program on TV this weekend about the Deepwater Horizon oil Spill aka. Gulf of Mexico oil spill/BP oil spill. The reporter was interviewing people about the impact the incident had on their lives, the compensation they were being paid by BP through the fund that was setup. BP has suffered probably it’s worst losses in a quarter because of this and probably is paying up the largest amount of compensation ever paid in the history. In this case I think the punishment fits the crime, this incident being the largest oil spill ever. We have all been given vivid details of the magnitude of disaster in terms of no. of deaths, amount of oil spill, lives (human and others) impacted and also the compensation that is being spent in cleaning up the mess and bring things back to normal.
This incident reminded me of another incident that took place in India when I was a kid. It’s dubbed “Bhopal Tragedy“. An excerpt from Wikipedia below:
The Bhopal disaster (also referred to as the Bhopal gas tragedy) is the world’s worst industrial catastrophe. It occurred on the night of December 2–3, 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India. A leak of methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas and other chemicals from the plant resulted in the exposure of several thousands of people. Estimates vary on the death toll. The official immediate death toll was 2,259 and the government of Madhya Pradesh has confirmed a total of 3,787 deaths related to the gas release. Other government agencies estimate 15,000 deaths. Others estimate that 3,000 died within weeks and that another 8,000 have since died from gas-related diseases. A government affidavit in 2006 stated the leak caused 558,125 injuries including 38,478 temporary partial and approximately 3,900 severely and permanently disabling injuries.
UCIL was the Indian subsidiary of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC). Indian Government controlled banks and the Indian public held 49.1 percent ownership share. In 1994, the Supreme Court of India allowed UCC to sell its 50.9 percent share. The Bhopal plant was sold to McLeod Russel (India) Ltd. UCC was purchased by Dow Chemical Company in 2001.
Civil and criminal cases are pending in the United States District Court, Manhattan and the District Court of Bhopal, India, involving UCC, UCIL employees, and Warren Anderson, UCC CEO at the time of the disaster. In June 2010, seven ex-employees, including the former UCIL chairman, were convicted in Bhopal of causing death by negligence and sentenced to two years imprisonment and a fine of about $2,000 each, the maximum punishment allowed by law. An eighth former employee was also convicted but died before judgment was passed.
If you stop and think, what life is worth by comparing the crimes (I think that’s what we should call them given that in both cases a lot of regulations and safety rules have been breached) and the punishment delivered to people and/or corporations, despite taking into effect factors like inflation etc., it sounds so ridiculous the way the Bhopal Tragedy was investigated, tried and perpetrators punished.
So I ask the question again.
What is a Life Worth?
How does it change with time, geography, governments, political considerations?
It varies from nothing to invaluable.
That could probably explain why there is migration of people from one geography to another.
I would like to think people would want to live their lives with out being messed with and if indeed some one is harmed, they want their life to be treated invaluable and to be compensated like wise in terms of punishment to the perpetrators and compensation to their loved ones.
Time and Tide waits for none…
Many of us have read or heard this a lot of times. However, we go about doing our business like Honey Bees. That’s right, Honey Bees. Each of us in our own way “think” that we are working for our future. However, what we do not realize is that we are not enjoying the current moment to the fullest in the process of working for our future. The future that we so fervently work for, passes by, but we will not have time to realize that because we are working for future. Every second that we spend working for future is another second that we miss.
That might have sounded crazy, but I have been reflecting on my work and personal life for the past 10 years. Work has been the epicenter of my world.I think it would be more justified to say that work has been my entire world. Everything else was secondary. I am ashamed to say that even my family, my financial future and everything that is considered my personal life was secondary. I expected and steered everything and all my closed ones to fall in line with this philosophy.
Many of you might be thinking “That’s Me”. Wake up people. Wake up and think about what you are doing. I know the impending economic situation, job losses etc. would be motivating enough to bury yourself in work, more than ever. Stop and think where you would go for shelter, consolation and a few words of encouragement if you are down. My guess is your closed ones. Make sure you are giving enough water to that tree today so that you can expect it to give you enough shade when you are tired, beaten down and desperately need some help to rejuvenate and recharge to get back to work for your future.
I know all this might sound incoherent like Joaquin Phoenix, not the actor but the musician, on Dave Letterman. But, I think somewhere in there are a few questions that you should ask yourself.
- Who are you working for?
- When was the last time you had 8 hours of sleep?
- When was the last time you have spent Sunday evenings, not thinking about your work on Monday?
- When was the last time you have gone back home after work and never had to open your laptop to respond to emails that you could not catch up on during your work hours?
- When was the last time you did not search for your Blackberry or laptop the moment you opened your eyes, early in the morning?
Happy Thinking 🙂 . Hope you get out of your depression pretty soon after reading this post.