In the last several months, I encountered a rising incidence of job losses among people I know. Some of them were told that their services were no longer required, while others were offered revised terms that were neither practical nor humanly possible to agree to. Some others chose to step down since it was just not possible to put up with the work environment any more. This phenomenon, along with the upheaval that it causes in the life of the person concerned, is something that I have been trying to understand for the last few years. In this post, I will try and fulfill a promise that I made to my readers over 30 months back, to share my understanding of right livelihood and how I am trying to live by this understanding.
I quit working about three years back, convinced that there was something better I could do with my life beyond helping a corporation make money for its shareholders. In these three years, I have realized that this simple decision of mine held the key to a lot of what bothers all of us. For a person to function at his best, there needs to be integrity, a singleness of purpose, a harmony between what one believes and desires and what one does and says. For a large number of professionals, there is a disconnect between what they believe and what they do for a livelihood. Yes, there is greater good being created at every step, but often at a pace that seems to favor those least in need of that good. Professions like medicine, law, law enforcement and defence are obvious examples, but with a little introspection, it can be found in almost all organized professions. This would also explain the attractiveness of not-for-profits to the youth of today.