Doing nothing looking busy feeling stressed

Sounds familiar, yes it happens. Let us take some time to think why it happens. I guess this is a syndrome which is now an essential ingredient of modern living which is so full of technology and gadgets. I can not comment about other industries but here are few models I have seen in software industry.

  1. Borrowed Stress – I remember working in a team where the guy who leaves the office earliest and works least use to feel more stressed then rest of the team which spent much more time. His approach was pretty simple. I don’t have stress as I am doing almost nothing so let me borrow it from others around me as being busy with work is such a cool fashion statement in almost all the social circles. The pleasure of telling your friends and family that i did not get this done because I was busy with work is a temptation too hard to resist and most of the humans do succumb to this.
  2. Embedded Office Stress – Some people love to carry there office wherever they go. When they are on vacation they are just waiting to get a phone call from their office on the cell to get an update on the most trivial issue. They will pay 30$ on some airport to get internet access for an hour just to end up reading mails about Tom’s affair with Julia and the breakup between Amy and Rick.   Such people are the slaves of their gadgets and when you see them with their gadgets it feels like a dog and a bone. This category of people derive more stress from waiting for the email or the cell phone call then the content of it. A great Urdu sher on this issue – “Umr-e-daraz maang kar laye the char din, do arzoo main kat gaye do intzar main” – I got an extension of 4 days in life, spent two of them in craving and two of them in waiting.
  3. Crib Stress – Some people just love to crib(boss and customers are the favorite targets). For them if you give them an option between solving a problem about which they are cribbing and cribbing, they would probably prfer the problem not to get solved so that they can continue to crib. They derive their stress from the time spent to crib. The also spread it among their colleages using their powerful communication channels.
  4. VIP Stress – This is an intresting form of stress. This occurs to the people who feel that the entire organization will collapse if they don’t come to office even for 1 day. They just forget that the organization consists of lots of people who also work for same goals. They carry this feeling of importance everywhere like a stone tied to their legs. As a result they are stressed when they are having Pani Puri with their wife and kids. They just refuse to let this feeling go as they feel this is an important part of them to keep them going. In the longer run they become uni-dimensional and burnt out.

Love to know from all of you other forms of stress you have seen in the industry……..


  1. nearfar

    Cool! so you identified the fundamental problem as `craving’ (for gadgets, etc.) that is leading to `stress’. When it comes to day job, I agree with Steve Jobs (Read this, or See this).

    Yes, sometimes I too feel such stress in work. Combined with other stress and suffering in life, it has led to me go for a meditation retreat (for first time) from May 15.

  2. aivalli

    They will pay 30$ on some airport to get internet access for an hour just to end up reading mails about Tom’s affair with Julia and the breakup between Amy and Rick.

    Oye ! Then how will I learn about the progress of the love affairs in the office ? :-?

    And that said – You’ll never never be a great gadgeteer ! :|


  3. bkbirla

    The point is that checking the love affair is not so important. You need to create yours and waste others money to check the status 🙂

  4. bkbirla

    BTW I have found walking as an intresting form of meditation. You might see me on Bangalore roads with my headphones tuned to radio city/mirchi. Sometimes even on busy roads you can just focus on what you want to think about and sometimes you can decide to keep your mind blak also. The rythym of walking and music certainly helps you in taking focus away from things which you do not want to think about.

  5. umang

    Stress from undue worry is something else I’ve noticed. But this is more a personality trait than something seen in the “industry”. Some people just have a habit of worry too much about too many things.

    Another form of stress is that arising from conflict. Some people don’t take to conflict – even if it as a professional level of just battling it out in the design or brainstorming meetings. What remains in their minds is the conflict and not the argumentative reasoning. What they come out with is not a decision or clarity, but with hostility. This is, in most cases, a function of the mind and not necessarily a reality. This form of stress can be particularly maleficent because of its tendency to come down to a personal level.

  6. bkbirla

    I have added one more in the list what I call VIP stress.

    BTW I am trying to summarize types of avoidable stress. I guess the one coming from conflict is not so avoidable always.

  7. umang

    Hehe.. the VIP is so funny and yet accurate. I guess it comes from too much self-importance.

    Stress from conflict cannot be avoided, but can be minimized if you can accept conflict as a part of work. I didn’t mean conflict in the sense of pulling out your neighbour’s network cables, but in the sense of profressional argument.

  8. bkbirla

    Yup! You are right. Self importance is not a very neat idea for people in managerial position. In fact it represents a failure on the managers part that he/she could not create a healthy team environment. There is an interesting doha by Kabir which brings this out best – “Jab main that tab hari nahin, ab hari hai aur main nahin-When feeling of I was there God was not there, now only God is there not the feeling of I”. Not so sure about the God part but I guess it conveys the meaning.

  9. bkbirla

    Nice links.

    Before you pointed them out, I almost thought I was inventing this 🙂

  10. anonymous

    I think one stress is missed out — I call it non-achievement stress. The problem, especially as you’ve been around longer in industry and personal life is not achieving that big thing either at work or at home. This stress builds up over time and incrementally leads to stresses in all other kinds of areas.

    The big problem here is being unable to identify the achievements that a person needs to accomplish. People don’t spend enough time on nailing down the achievements and instead spend a lot of time essentially doing things that don’t contribute to where they want to go.

    Then at the end of the day, physical forces catch up with them and the dam bursts.

  11. anonymous

    And there is stress because of internal conflict as well. Many a time, people desire two things which are mutually exclusive and they can not decide which of the two is more (or less) important.

  12. bkbirla

    Few ways I have used to resolve conflicts
    – Get back to your childhood. Think of things you liked and u didn’t. There is a great possibility that what you liked as a kid(hope u have gooten above candy stage) is what you truly love.

    – If you die the next moment what would you regret more.

    – toss a coin

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