Thursday, July 6, 2017

Welcome to the rat race !!

As much as I am an ambition driven, competitive, career driven individual, I am also a mother to an intelligent, observant seven year old son who has a great sense of humor. (I would like to believe, it’s my rational analytical mind that has penned these words about my son and not my emotional side!!)

I have unknowingly tried to treat motherhood akin to a project or assignment, and have asked myself the question, what I would do at work, had I faced a similar situation may times along the way. I do not know if the approach is right or wrong, but as it is commonly said, if it works for you, go ahead and do it.

I was faced with an unusual situation when I had a conversation with my son yesterday (an ongoing 360 degree feedback conversation which we do have quite regularly). He happened to mention that a close friend of his had been named “Star of the month “at school. I could sense something beyond a routine passing mention in his voice and so I probed him a little further. And it surprised me no end. I realized that while he was happy for his friend, he had mentally made a list of the reasons why his friend could have got the citation and what could he do to get it.

The mother in me faced a situation; I could not fathom how to take forward. Should I tell him, its ok and not bother about such stuff and enjoy being in school, participating in activities, or help him clearly chalk out all that he could do to be a recipient of the next “Star of the month”

Hey presto, I realize that, this is his first self-initiation into the famous “rat race”. Competition to reach a pre-determined goal, unhappy if you do not reach on time, ready for the next milestone as soon as you have completed one, the list goes on.
I am sure one “Star of the month” may not be enough. It will be time to work towards the next one, and countless others as you move on.

I believe that there are no black and white answers to this one. Both alternatives have their advantages. Getting on early, and learning how to form a game plan, prepares you for the competitive game called professional life ahead. Taking each day as it comes and enjoying at school, excelling in what you like makes life enjoyable, fun and less stressful for sure.
For the first time in this case, I gave a very diplomatic and guarded answer to my son , but it got me thinking , that I need to get a more appropriate and good answer for it very soon. I am sure this question will surface once again in a few days.

Those of us born in the 70s and 80s are classic examples of those, who got sucked into the “rat race” whether we liked it or not. Some reveled in it and some fell along the way. Is this generation different? Should we deal with them, or more importantly, will they deal with their personal or professional lives differently?