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Home > Business > Special

Tips for a stress-free corporate life

Kusal Roy | October 10, 2007

A couple of years ago, I had an interesting conversation with a 33-year-old colleague on career goals. He simply said that he looked forward to 240 more monthly pay-checks, with every thirteenth cheque being larger than the twelfth. The rest, he said, was mere detail.

Most of us "MBA-types" find such monumentally phlegmatic heights difficult to attain. And with good reason too - as you climb the corporate ladder, it is easy to get bogged down in a confusing morass of targets, bottom-lines, strategies and vision-statements, many of which are singularly "un-visionary".

Life after B-school is a constant race for promotions, grades and fat bonuses that are as elusive as the proverbial will-o'-the-wisp. You suddenly realise that trench warfare did not go out with World War I, and your B-school never told you what to do when stress-overheating jams your guns.

Here are a couple of quick-and-dirty tips on how to keep your blood-pressure down and last longer in the never-ending race.

For starters, never take yourself too seriously. Sure, you are an important executive who takes many key decisions. But once you leave your office, be nice to the cabbie who takes you home, and the paanwallah round the corner who supplies that much-needed smoke.

Remember that they don't work for you and to them you are just another human being, shorn of all the trappings of corporate clout. You leave your chair and your power behind in your office, and when you start missing that point, it is time to take a deep breath.

Have fun at work - if you smile often, it does not mean that you lack the "senior management" aura. A sense of humour goes a long way in creating sustainable relationships, especially when you can laugh at your own little foibles.

Encourage humour with a dash of irreverence, and you will find that it also creates an atmosphere of openness, rather than grim-faced, grumpy automatons who say "yes" on cue.

Take leave every year, at least two weeks at a stretch.  Recharge your batteries regularly - or run the risk of an early burnout. 

In some organisations, people refer to their annual vacation as "mandy" - short for "mandatory leave" - an interesting corporate euphemism that implies executives are so engrossed with their work, they need to be literally ordered out of office. Scott Adams and Dilbert never cooked up anything better.

Kusal Roy graduated from IIM, Ahmedabad in 1995.

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