Thoughts

Is Work more Important than Health?

Some of us seem to think so. Recently, I happened to interact with a fresher who had just joined a software company in Chennai, in some event. This is the approximate version of our conversation, on this topic –

He: [Proudly] You know what, most of the days I skip breakfast. Some days I skip lunch too. But I eat heavily in the night.

Me: Oh no. You should actually be doing the reverse. Breakfast and lunch are important, you can eat light dinner or skip it at times. But why do you do that?

He: If I start working at 9:00 AM in the morning, I stop only at 7 or 8 PM in the evening.

Me: OK, but what stops you from taking a break for breakfast or lunch?

He: I don’t have time – there is so much work. If I leave my desk for such things, then others will work more than me. They will get higher salaries and promotions. I want to always stay ahead of my colleagues.

Me: Which college did you graduate from?

He: Anna University [One of the premium colleges in Chennai].

No wonder he was thinking like that! I wanted to tell him that skipping breakfast or lunch will result in health issues later on, he is working in order to live a happy/healthy life and not vice-versa, etc. But I guessed it wouldn’t have made much difference to him anyway.

I wonder if we have created such a competitive environment that people have started thinking achievements/incentives at work are the only thing to aim for, in life. Health, happiness, relationships, recreation, etc. are nuisances that interfere our work!

I don’t blame that guy – he was doing exactly what the society was expecting out of him. From a young age he should have been pushed by his parents/relatives/school to get the best possible marks, get into the best possible college, and now get the most possible money!

I am sure his bosses are happy – just the kind of dream workers they want! His colleagues should also be happy – they can/will offload some work onto him. For all his hard-work and ‘sacrifice’, he will (hopefully) get an early promotion and pay-rise.

But, isn’t this coming at a cost? At a cost of ignoring his health/well-being which will have serious repercussions, later on? People seem to celebrate over-working (especially in that IT sector – I have other friends there, too) in order to be able to earn more or even to stay in their jobs! They are actually proud of over-working.

But one word they will not associate with over-working is ‘greed’. Essentially, we as a society, are getting greedier by the day. The work-hard and party-hard lifestyle we are driving ourselves into has serious health/well-being implications, later on. But by the time we realize it, it may/will be too late.

Now, I don’t have anything against people working hard. But, don’t skip that breakfast or lunch or dinner. And be timely about it. Is that so difficult?

In my defense I should say that I have never skipped eating timely meals. At one point of time, I used to travel from Ambattur to Mylapore (12 KM – one way) just to eat the excellent lunch served at Mylapore Sangeetha hotel (at Rs. 20 per meal). Actually, Petrol bills were reimbursed by the company 😀 This is to prove the kind of priority I give to meals 🙂

Yea, it became an issue and even ppl at my head office came to know about my lunch ‘adventures’. So, I started eating at our office canteen shortly afterwards 🙂

See what a gem of an example I’ve set for youngsters to follow! 😛

Destination Infinity

20 Comments

  • KP

    Skipping breakfast or lunch once a while to meet a deadline is understandable.But doing it on regular basis is foolish and fraught with health issues when the individual will will lose the competition.
    A good old adage is “Eat like a King, a Prince and a Pauper” for breakfast,lunch and dinner in that order

  • B

    well the answer is NO, work is not important than health..

    its funny , I have just saved a article on something similar,

    but I am guilty , I hardly get time to have breakfast, usually i have a glass of milk and leave , I know not good but time is something that i am always rushing for ..

    I have my lunch at work but dinner is a big one .. I know I do it the opposite way , I need to change my habits ..

    • Rajesh K

      I am sure you will. Just that I haven’t seen people reminding/reinforcing others, on this point. Wonder why they don’t feel it important enough!

      Destination Infinity

  • Ashwini C N

    Well Said. People make the mistake of ignoring their health when it comes to working hard. It’s not that you cannot take care of your health while working hard, a balance is required and a proper planning. I’ve seen people who boast of working long hours without food, but they dont realize they’ve more to lose than to gain.

    • Rajesh K

      Proper planning is required from their side and some guidance and understanding is required from managers/higher ups.

      The issue is, guys like him are at an age where they can do such things and get away with it. Consequences, if any, have to be faced only at a later age.

      Destination Infinity

  • SG

    Good article. Never skip a breakfast or lunch. If you are too busy, you can eat at your desk. (And, stop blogging, reading other blogs, commenting, etc. at office.)

    • Rajesh K

      I am sure he is spending time on other activities in the office (at least a little bit), like blogging/fb. Instead of that, he could step out and eat some food!

      Destination Infinity

  • RajeshMani

    If he skips, then he is not planning his work schedule properly.
    15 Mins is all required to have something at the right time.

    Even I used to be like this when I started my career but the reason is not greed for promotion but the team structure made me to skip food. In two months of time, I lost 7 kgs and became ill. In my dreams also I used to think abt work.

    But slowly I changed all my habit of skipping my meals, extending late hours, working on weekends, sacrificing holidays, not speaking with friends, not going out.. everything in couple of months. Now its been three years, I haven’t followed any of my above habit.

    I feel more relaxed, having my personal time and more calmer now.

    If you meet him again tell him , ” Get a Life, Dude”.

    • Rajesh K

      Good to see your comment. I think, he might also follow your footsteps after a few months/years. People do realize things, slowly.

      Destination Infinity

  • Avada Kedavra

    This is something that my husband used to do – skip lunch. For some days, I used to call and remind him to have lunch. So now he somehow makes time for lunch. Even I can never skip any meal. 🙂 I don’t know why people these days think meal is not very important.

    • Rajesh K

      They will realize the importance of not skipping meals, later on. It’s good to know that you don’t skip meals – keep up this good habit 🙂

      Destination Infinity

  • Sri Kalyan

    How come most of us forget that “Health is Wealth”….if we are healthy then only what ever we are trying to earn so hard can be spent on our luxurious life otherwise we have to spend it all in hospital bills. May be we can prioritize our jobs and meals. Eat healthy live happy

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