Tag Archives: Value add

Meaningful work

I don’t exactly remember the exact trigger, but the topic of ‘two snakes swallowing each other’ came up during yesterday’s lunch. I was having lunch with some friends from the Organization Study team. These are the folks who study manpower requirements, productivity, resource utilization etc in the Organization.

This is a hypothetical situation. Imagine two snakes exactly of the same size starts swallowing each other from the tail at the same pace(apparently this lead to the discovery of benzene ring). What would happen if they continue swallowing forever? Hypothetically, there should be nothing left.

Once I finished explaining, after a pause, one of them said “Why should you have two snakes? If one snake starts swallowing itself from the tail, the same thing would happen”

“So we have saved one snake, which means a 50% saving”, remarked another colleague.

The discussion then drifted off in to how we have created a value add that how we can project that saving in the appraisal etc.

But there is something interesting here. This is actually a representation of the work many of us do, especially in the corporate functions. The problem, the solution, the value add- everything is hypothetical. It’s all a kind of mental circus. It looks frightening at the same time very funny. Most of the work at corporate functions is to offset someone else’s dys-functionality. For e.g people are supposed to be productive, but then people aren’t. Then you need someone to study and tell them that they are not productive. The whole stuff is a mental game, but looks so convincing.

Just living around our thoughts is what makes our lives probably such a mess. I was inclined to think that the work needs to produce something that’s physical for it to be rewarding. But when I look at the Bangalore city and the traffic from my office on the 11th floor, I am forced to change that view. The vast expanse of the mess that’s stretched in front of you is simply a reflection of the chaotic human mind. It’s taken some physical form, that’s all.

I think, the way to end this potential insanity is to collaborate with nature. When you grow something, it’s a shared effort. You do your part and then nature does its part. I think that connects you with something deep and meaningful. Perhaps the biggest problem that this generation faces is that we are cut off from nature.