Everyone works for money. It’s the ‘out in the open’ answer we all know, but hardly ever say. But there it is. Lurking at the back, behind the reason we say we’ve chosen a specific job, or prefer a certain company, or have ended up in a job by chance because we got cleared in the interview there, it’s a huge motivating factor. How much will I get paid?  

In the current IT job market, people talk a lot about passion. As the WeWork slogan says, “love what you do.” There’s an expectation that we should all love what we do, and many buy into this. When asked if they love their job, there seems to be a lot of peer pressure to say ‘yes’. I know very few people who’ll openly say, ‘no’, they don’t love their jobs. They just do it for the money.

Personally, I sit on the fence. I kind of love my job, but that love comes with conditions. It’s neither blind nor unconditional. It’s a contract. I provide my labour, but there are things I want in return for the long hours I put in.

Personally, I sit on the fence. I kind of love my job, but that love comes with conditions. It’s neither blind nor unconditional. It’s a contract. I provide my labour, but there are things I want in return for the long hours I put in.

Most importantly, I expect to be shown that I’m valued for the job I do, irrespective of whether or not I love to do it. Yes, money reflects a sense of value, but on a daily basis it’s the work culture that counts, not how many Rupees go in my account at the end of the month. That work culture is defined by the relationship between delivery teams and management. It’s that relationship that sets the tone, creates the environment and is the main factor that differentiates a good place to work from a bad one. It impacts how you feel and what you do every day of the week, not just on pay day.

For me, I need a good leader or boss who encourages me to achieve the company goals, my individual goals, and can connect the 2 in a way that makes sense. But in practice this doesn’t happen. So often our bosses act like bull cart drivers, sitting behind us and pinching us with a needle stick, while constantly shouting, “Go, go, go!”

I love hard work. But surely hard work is not meant to mean working like a slave. It should be about taking pride in your work, and responsibility for the job you’re doing. Yes, in my career I’ve had too many leaders who think it’s acceptable to just shout to get the work done, and I hate it. There’s no dialogue, and when it happens too often or becomes the norm, it has a demoralising effect. It means we go back to seeing work as just a monetary transaction. It kills any sense of accountability or desire to do a good job.

The way our bosses behave has a direct impact on how we view work. Is it about love and passion, or labour for money? The ability to inspire people to bring their A-game, to take responsibility, is powerful, rare and an artform. Unfortunately, very few leaders have it. However, it’s a skill that can surely be taught, and it should, if large MNCs want to inspire us to bring our best selves to work. If the IT industry in India is left in the hands of bull cart drivers, it’s heading into a ditch!

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