Sunday, December 12, 2004

Pleasurable Pressure

Pleasurable Pressure

With the year coming to a close, I realized that this is the year that I've watched the least number of movies. I missed almost every major movie that was released except for Troy which I managed to catch when I was in Bangkok, and the rather disappointing Exorcist: The Beginning a couple of months back at in Jakarta. Other than that, I cannot recall having seen any other movie...yes there was one that I watched at the Shaw House theatre in Singapore, but I can't even remember the title.

I did manage to enjoy The Passion of the Christ on DVD though but that seems to be the only movie I've caught on DVD this year. Four movies in a whole year? I used to watch that many movies in one week!

I think I also spent less time reading for pleasure this year because so much of my time has been spent on work. Should I be complaining? Probably not. Sometimes work can be pleasurable too, even though there's always a lot of pressure when I'm on a project because every customer situation is slightly different. Hence work is never routine and time is never enough.

I'd like to think that the pleasurable part of my work is being able to meet and chat with different levels of people in the customer's organization--from CIO to datacenter operators. The pressure comes from always having to be prepared, alert and sharp in every meeting; but if you are relaxed, open and sincere, people are always willing to share information and their views with you and your job is made a lot easier.

I try to look at pressure positively--a football team always play with a little more urgency when they are one goal down. It's important to know how to manage pressure: one must be conscious of how much one is able to stretch oneself--a healthy amount of it induces growth, too much of it brings one to the point of breaking.

I try to look at it this way: Pressure is painful but it can also be a kind of positive pain--like a good hard massage one gets at Bersih Sehat. I always expect pressure in my line of work and I try to manage pressure well so that it can be a catalyst for growth and healing, like the pressure applied by the skillful hands (and feet too, if you like shiatsu) of a masseur: Pleasurable pressure. Going to work should be like going for a massage. Expect pressure!

One must also learn to see work-related pressure in its proper perspective: What's the worst that could happen? In the end, it's only work--it's not a matter of life and death. Yes, one could lose one's job and reputation but hey, it's not like we are going to starve to death if we do. We suffer mainly because we are more worried about our reputation and ego--that illusory self that we try so hard to maintain. The ego is the cause of all pain but please, don't get me started on that...

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