Which is your favourite food? Assume, it's caviar. Let’s say, it has the capacity to bring immense pleasure to you, whenever you relish it. Now, think about a situation where you get to cherish it every single day, every time you are hungry. What is the chance of it, still aiding to create ecstatic culinary experience for you? Feeble right. Same can be said about many other things, for which we strive hard, to make them a day today reality. On the other hand, how about an experience of climbing a mountain, playing a game or conversation with a dear friend. Say, you did it repeatedly. Do you get tired or bored of it anytime soon...? These are the things representing two facets of work we do, outcome & process. Let’s see why all we work and the way in which outcome orientation of work differs from process orientation..!!
Work for….or Outcome Orientation
1. Money which brings Security, Comfort & Freedom of Choice
First thing that comes to our mind when we think about any work is what does it pay..? It isn’t illogical to think so as money helps us do away with basic needs like food and shelter and helps us expand our horizon freely. More the money is, more the choices are in life. It can give comfort of a car, bungalow or a lifestyle. It creates the sense of physical security making way for psychological & emotional securities. It multiplies the possibility of entertainment. It opens the gate for several paths. Overall it makes the world compact, accessible and to an extent controllable. It is good enough a reason to work, to begin with. Making lot of money is like marrying best looking guy or girl in the premises. There is no guarantee of equally good looking life with him/her. It's up to you to make the marriage itself work further. Real value of the money is in the confidence it can give to plunge into experiences which enhance self esteem.
2. Recognition from Boss : Approval & Appreciation from the Authority Figure
From the minute one is born, there is a tendency to look at someone who towers over him/her, for their reaction to confirm the acceptability or the worth of the action. Anytime in our life, we tend to have some authority figure whose perception of us helps us decide our own value. As a child grows she would have authority at home, authority at school & authority at every other place she visits whose opinions hold a special meaning for her. Most of the children who stand out at what they do, want to stand out to impress parents & teachers more than anything else. Effort one puts in at work tends to be directly proportional to the value associated to the appreciation of authorities. Even at work place, the way one is treated by the boss is the major factor in the satisfaction derived at work place. One wishes to be regarded highly & treated with respect by boss to associate a higher value for the work he/she does. There is a craving for the unconditional acceptance from boss for the person you are & all the efforts you have been putting in..!!
3. Recognition of society, which may bring Name, Fame or Power
We all crave for the attention & approval. Work is the means through which we get society to stand up & notice what we are. Recognition & appreciation is as important as food & water for us to sustain. We need others, to know what we truly are. No one is born confident, aware & self-reliant. One has the possibility to be so through the role of others, who would recognise him/her . Recognition by others is the means through which one perceives & understands himself to create a self-image initially. Going further ahead some might stop needing recognition & approval of others, as much as they would have needed it in the beginning by building a strong as well as worthy self-image. Many might be drugged by the high of name, fame or power which are the representation of the society's idea of worth at the moment and enjoy perceiving themselves through societal lens for longer. Either ways the role of work in bestowing recognition & appreciation which create a foundation for self-image/self-worth is huge.
Work at…or Process Orientation
1.Constructive Engagement: Avoid boredom & create food for stimulation of senses/thoughts/emotions
Would you agree, If I say that there might not be a single moment when we aren’t working? We aren’t acting on something, doesn’t really mean we aren’t working. Even when we do not act, we might be thinking consciously or automatically, feeling continuously and sensing outer world or inner world. It is extremely hard for us to not work. Try to hold yourself back from sensory experiences like watching a TV, intentional physical activities like working out, thought provoking activities like discussion or reading for one day and see how boring life can become. Work is the real fuel that drives us. Many a times we live for the sake of the work we do and health of mind is the outcome of effective engagement. Every day needs to be structured to make space for every sort of experiencing like stimulating thoughts, stimulating senses & getting entertained, using physical energy effectively, stimulating finer emotions etc. Irrespective of the sort of work, every moment at work holds a value as a moment of engagement.
2. Sense of Satisfaction : Realising the dream, Living the Passion, attempting something inline with your natural preferences
How does it feel when you have a splendid dream at night, which becomes a reality the very next day..? There would be certain sort of work which comes to you effortlessly and you seem to cherish every single moment of it. It can keep you driven by it's own spell on you, irrespective of it's appeal to the rest of the world. For some it could be sailing smoothly through physical, mental or emotional challenges which does the magic & a steady job of a particular type might do the same for some others. For a few any work that goes deep might be satisfactory and for few others a work involving lot many things. Overall any type of work that is inline with the natural preferences of an individual could be thoroughly satisfying & rewarding for him/her. Work won't be just an engagement but the lifeline if it's an avenue for expression of one's very own nature.
3. Sense of Mastery : Conceiving a near perfect craft which stands, breathes & exists in itself..!!
The best part of being a craftsman or engaging in a work is the joy of yielding to the voice of craft and let it take over and lead you. Who wouldn't want to know what Beethoven might have been experiencing when he was composing his symphonies. How exactly Pele might have felt when he was mastering the ground..?? What was Einstein's thought pattern..?? Aren't there moments when there is a perfect sync between what you want & what you express hence creating something that is a master craft.? Isn't the work we do the craving to reach our personal best at it..? To reach the highest level of beauty, creativity, skill & hence the perfection..!! Many of us might have experienced the elation of mastery at one point or the other..? From simple gaming to complex algorithms, to gain mastery could be the best aspect of work.
4. Sense of Acceptance : Trust, Attention and Appreciation from family for the work you do
Work is not just about your engagement, mastery & satisfaction but also about the way your loved ones perceive it. It is not just the value you associate with it that is important but also the value associated by your intimate circle, which is family & friends. Family creates the motivation for you to work in the most important way by having expectations from you. You play a certain role in the family which comes with a set of responsibilities. Concept of trust, accountability & ownership starts from home.In your choice of work or during the course of work, understanding and support from the family for what you do is a major aspect of your life. When your family accepts what you do, you consider it the acceptance for person you are. Sense of non acceptance from family for the work you do is sufficient to keep you confused, how much ever rewarding your work is for yourself & the rest of the world.
5. Sense of Belonging: To be an integral part of visible network
Human being is not an Iceland, everything he does, he does to belong in one way or the other. When he works with others, they become the direct part of the value he or she has been creating. They become his second family, who's approval of what he does begins to matter .When the role, ownership limits and the way one sort of work/person is linked to the other is clear amongst the team members or the along the teams, there is a sense of belonging which gets established for the whole work family.When we work in a group, we want to work as a seamlessly connected & integrated whole which is mutually complimentary. The environment at work & the way relationships shape at workplace holds as much an importance as the work itself.
6. Sense of Contribution: To be part of an invisible greater network
Each one of us is a giving entity. We have been giving through our thoughts, emotions or actions irrespective of it reaching or being understood by another. This has been one of our primary needs from very beginning. In every work we do, there is a dire need to be clear about the way in which we have been connected & contributing to the whole world through what we do. Every profession and every aspect of the profession has it's own contribution to whole world in one way or the other. However it need not be clear or evident to us. The work in which one cannot see the clear contribution becomes an empty work, without a purpose or meaning and can keep the person in the state of continuous dissatisfaction. One other important thing we work at is contribution.
7. Sense of Growth: To be competent, Enjoy & Evolve as a person as well as organisation
We continuously express ourselves through our work. It gives us a space to observe & understand the way we are. Work in itself could be a self-feedback mechanism helping us reflect, polish & evolve in a way parallel to the possibility of mere coal turning itself eventually into a sparkling diamond irrespective of someone noticing.Growth isn’t merely an unconscious process which happens to the person but the eventual breaking free of the consciousness, within the person, by the person, illuminated through the aid of work. Evolution of the organisation is ultimately the result of growth as well as evolved work of the individuals.
Balancing the Outcome and Process
We all are at different positions when it comes to our need & understanding of work however it's good to pause & think why exactly am I working and what all am I gaining through it..?? Every one begins with outcome orientation of the work as there is an inherent need to standout before we can stand with. Outcome prominently is for the society to approve & focus on process has potential to create self approval. A kid might start to study desiring the toffee she’s going to get in the end, however eventually she is to realise that life has been happening when she was studying halfheartedly, visualising the toffee which would come to her and make her happy in the future. Toffee would stop it's appeal if it becomes a reality for a while, following which her life seems more or less empty ..? When the process in itself becomes the motivation to work, destination merges into process and process becomes the destination. In this parade of balancing outcome & process let’s put in effort to not just do, but try and pay attention to what we have been doing to check if work is giving us everything that e want..!!
Going with and adapting the wise words of Immanuel Kant, we can readily say that work as self-expression need not just be a means to an end but also an end in itself...!!
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