Happiness At Work By Dr. Srikumar Rao – Parables And Advice That Could Be Life Changing

By now, I have joined the workforce for a decade and a half and I consider myself – after years of learning and finding my way – pretty happy at work.  I manage to maintain a good level of work life balance, I have built good rapport with my colleagues, and I take pride in my daily work that contributes at an organisational level.  OK, there are ups and downs.  But overall, I am contented.  So what can “Happiness at Work” possibly teach me?  It turns out that there are more than I have anticipated.  And throughout my working life thus far, I have met friends who are more prone to feeling angry, envious, afraid, exhausted, disgusted, drained, anxious, betrayed, confused, cheated, frustrated, guilty, humiliated, impatient, inadequate, vulnerable, manipulated, embarrassed, neglected, heartbroken, trapped, fatigue, victimized, resentful, or worn out – borrowing the descriptions from the book.  I sincerely wish that they could take some time, read this book, and make a positive change to their lives.

Reading “Happiness at Work” is a journey.  The author has divided the book into bite-size chapters filled with parables and advice.  The materials are largely derived from his experience of conducting workshops to corporate executives on this very topic.  Some of the parables and ideas, I observe, are based on Indian tradition or Buddhism so they could be familiar to some, intriguingly foreign to others.  Depending on your background and level of experience (or shall I say how unhappy you are at work in reality?), be prepared to be confronted and you may find yourself denying or not wanting to accept what the author says.  I too, at times.  But if you read this book with an open mind and go through the exercises as instructed by the author, you may be surprised at how you would view the world and yourself differently.  Some parables, you may recognize, are similar to other self help books or real life stories.  Such as the idea of beginning with an end in mind from the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey (which may also be based on materials from elsewhere).  Or the powerful theme of “This, too, shall pass” that I use daily, in fact, prior to reading this book.  There are still much to learn such as always being positive may not be the most ideal way of dealing with the external factors, investing on the process instead of the outcomes, understanding that there is no right or wrong and the different mental models that work or do not work for you, examining what happiness is and how some are able to attain that, and more.

One powerful lesson I have learned, perhaps, is that there is no dream job or passionate work.  Passion is what inside of us and our ideal job will find us once we start kindling that enthusiasm.  One colleague at work joked with me when he saw me carrying this book.  He said, “Are you not happy at work?  Why do you need to read this book?”.  I humbly think that even if you think you are happy at work, there are still much to learn, to your surprise.  “Happiness at Work” has a high re-read value as you would need practice and constant reminder to get the ideas to work.  And it can be a nice gift for your friends too.

External Sites: Purchase this book from Amazon.comDr. Rao’s official site.

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