Some of us seem to think so. Recently, I happened to interact with a fresher who had just joined a software company in Chennai, in some event. This is the approximate version of our conversation, on this topic –
He: [Proudly] You know what, most of the days I skip breakfast. Some days I skip lunch too. But I eat heavily in the night.
Me: Oh no. You should actually be doing the reverse. Breakfast and lunch are important, you can eat light dinner or skip it at times. But why do you do that?
He: If I start working at 9:00 AM in the morning, I stop only at 7 or 8 PM in the evening.
Me: OK, but what stops you from taking a break for breakfast or lunch?
He: I don’t have time – there is so much work. If I leave my desk for such things, then others will work more than me. They will get higher salaries and promotions. I want to always stay ahead of my colleagues.
Me: Which college did you graduate from?
He: Anna University [One of the premium colleges in Chennai].
No wonder he was thinking like that! I wanted to tell him that skipping breakfast or lunch will result in health issues later on, he is working in order to live a happy/healthy life and not vice-versa, etc. But I guessed it wouldn’t have made much difference to him anyway.
I wonder if we have created such a competitive environment that people have started thinking achievements/incentives at work are the only thing to aim for, in life. Health, happiness, relationships, recreation, etc. are nuisances that interfere our work!
I don’t blame that guy – he was doing exactly what the society was expecting out of him. From a young age he should have been pushed by his parents/relatives/school to get the best possible marks, get into the best possible college, and now get the most possible money!
I am sure his bosses are happy – just the kind of dream workers they want! His colleagues should also be happy – they can/will offload some work onto him. For all his hard-work and ‘sacrifice’, he will (hopefully) get an early promotion and pay-rise.
But, isn’t this coming at a cost? At a cost of ignoring his health/well-being which will have serious repercussions, later on? People seem to celebrate over-working (especially in that IT sector – I have other friends there, too) in order to be able to earn more or even to stay in their jobs! They are actually proud of over-working.
But one word they will not associate with over-working is ‘greed’. Essentially, we as a society, are getting greedier by the day. The work-hard and party-hard lifestyle we are driving ourselves into has serious health/well-being implications, later on. But by the time we realize it, it may/will be too late.
Now, I don’t have anything against people working hard. But, don’t skip that breakfast or lunch or dinner. And be timely about it. Is that so difficult?
In my defense I should say that I have never skipped eating timely meals. At one point of time, I used to travel from Ambattur to Mylapore (12 KM – one way) just to eat the excellent lunch served at Mylapore Sangeetha hotel (at Rs. 20 per meal). Actually, Petrol bills were reimbursed by the company 😀 This is to prove the kind of priority I give to meals 🙂
Yea, it became an issue and even ppl at my head office came to know about my lunch ‘adventures’. So, I started eating at our office canteen shortly afterwards 🙂
See what a gem of an example I’ve set for youngsters to follow! 😛