I began my weekend morning at 9 AM and immediately after I freshened up, I went to the kitchen to get done some long overdue chores and prep up our lunch. At times, I have infinite patience to do small stuff which would usually be put on the back burner when I have a busy, tiring day. I was working and listening to music to keep me from getting bored for over 3.5 hours and my brother came in to check up on me a few times. Around 12, he gave me a missed call and a WhatsApp text saying “take rest now”. Completing all I wanted to do at around 12:30, I went to ask him about the missed call and he ends up saying, “I sent you a message (and also a gif of a cat taking a nap), read it. Now enough of work, turn on the AC and have some rest.”
I have always been amazed by his thoughtfulness, and this again touched my heart. Just then, I began to ponder – does our good work ever goes unnoticed? I know a lot of times, we don’t get instant gratification; but does it mean that we lose track of our intrinsic motivation and stop the hard work?
A lot of times in life, we will have only delayed gratification. A seed you plant today will turn into a beautiful fruit-bearing tree only years later. Your investment of love, care and selfless affection into your personal relationships will give you warmth back much later. Many times, we need to rely on our intrinsic values and motivation to persevere. Doubts may engulf us “Is all of this worth it?”, “Do they even care?”, “Is my good work even valued?”.
In times of such doubts, it is very essential to truly detach from the idea of the results or appreciation and continue doing what you ought to do. Sometime, much later, highly unexpected, you will get to hear the golden words you have always been waiting for.
On October 18th, 2018, I got to know that it was World Boss’s Day. I sent a message to some of the people under who I had worked till date to say a thank you for giving me a supportive and nurturing environment to learn and grow. My first boss, under whom I began my professional career; sent me a message back saying “Thanks. It was great working with you. Still searching for a colleague like you who is hardworking and a quick learner. The crude trading desk also misses you at times.”
His message had left me spellbound and nostalgic. I could vividly remember my first day at the office when I was introduced to our CFO and COO who quizzed me about my favorite subject and the number of zeros in a million before assigning me to the newly formed team, where I was the first member of the team under my manager. We started off as a two-member team which then over the course of my 3 years expanded into a 10+ member team. I still very clearly recollect the evenings where I would sit with the trading desk VPs to understand trading strategies and since I was a newbie, I would ask them to write it on my book so I could refer later. I would go back and forth with my doubts and queries until I had absolute clarity, never being shy of looking dumb 😛 My manager would also help and explain me concepts right from the scratch and not just that even excel formulas. In those 3 years, I learned the maximum and there was always something new coming to my desk which would keep me engaged.
The weirdest thing was that while I was working, I never got any appreciation or recognition for my work. There were no pats on my back, there were just ‘thank you’s’ when I’d help out the trading desk. And the thing was that I didn’t work with the expectation of being praised. I just had to do my work.
After I quit, I was told by many team members who worked with me that they miss working with me and the dedication with which I’d support the team. To be very honest, I think it makes me happy and smile that long after I am gone, my work is still valued and appreciated. In fact, it was great that I wasn’t told I did a good job while I worked there, as it enabled me to strive harder and work without any expectations in return. After all, we got to go; what we have to do. It’s just about giving our 100% with 0% expectations in return of the outcome of our work. If we can detach ourselves from the rewards linked, we can be much happier even when things are crappy.
To summarize, even if no one ever appreciates you – immediately or delayed; always know that God is the best score keeper. Karma works, always. The good you do shall come back to you a 1000 folds, in ways unexpected.
Do, not because you have to. Do – because YOU WANT TO.