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In an era where entrepreneurship and success stories often take center stage, it's crucial to recognise the far-reaching impact of ambitiousness and overachievement that masquerade as generic comments loosely made by people in positions of power.
Kunal Shah – the founder of CRED, garnered attention when he remarked on Twitter, "If you are still working for a salary at the age of 35, you have failed." This statement stirred a significant online debate. On the other hand, Narayana Murthy, the co-founder of Infosys, has on multiple occasions, publicly expressed skepticism about the commitment of employees who leave work before 6 PM. Last week, it was the 70-hour work week comment that snowballed into a big controversy.
While some of these stories may sound inspirational, they tend to do more harm than good, especially for those stuck in traditional 9 to 5 employments.
How Feasible Is Such a Model for Indian Workforce?
Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur, and success stories like those among the 1% are the exception rather than the rule.
While these comments may seem to be motivating some, they inadvertently set unrealistic expectations, undermining the working style and choices of countless individuals.
The issue here is not about entrepreneurship or dedication to work. Rather, it's about the potential consequences of sweeping generalisations and the creation of a false binary between entrepreneurs and salaried employees.
When we talk about long work hours, we keep Japan at the centre of our discussion. Japan, despite its technological advancements and economic prosperity, suffers from one of the highest suicide rates in the world.
A contributing factor is the immense pressure placed on individuals to conform to societal norms, achieve professional success, and meet unrealistically high expectations. These statistics serve as a stark reminder that the relentless pursuit of traditional notions of success can have devastating consequences on the new generation.
This issue is beyond India and Japan and fast becoming a global phenomenon. For some reason, the world seems to have unlearned too quickly what the pandemic taught us.
How Gen Z Is Pushing the Envelope for Work-Life Balance
The relentless push for profit, physical presence at work, and productivity can lead to burnout, anxiety, and a lack of work-life balance. The societal obsession with great productivity and long working hours, as the sole marker of success can undermine individual well-being and happiness.
In response, it's imperative for the new generation to reconsider its definition of success. The Gen Z is motivated by causes above profits. They value life and prioritise work culture above hierarchy and leadership.
Gen Z in India is challenging the existing norms and the workforce in India deserves a revolutionary change to improve work-life balance.
Success should not be confined to entrepreneurship or climbing the corporate ladder, but rather encompass personal growth, happiness, and overall well-being. Young individuals must realise that passion and employment are not mutually exclusive.
To address the impact of unfiltered comments and unrealistic expectations set by influential figures, individuals should be encouraged to manifest their own meaning of success and accomplishment.
Success Stories Should Not Dictate Life Choices
Instead, they should inspire individuals to explore their unique paths, find their passions, and seek a balance between work, personal life, and self-fulfillment.
The unfiltered comments of leading founders have the power to shape societal narratives and affect individual lives but, it is imperative for our society to acknowledge that success comes in various forms.
The youth of today should be empowered to make wise choices, prioritise their well-being, and define success on their own terms, rather than conforming to unrealistic expectations set by a select few.
(This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)