Happy New You!

Well, its New Year’s Eve. And it’s time for resolutions.

Perhaps knowing that everyone else is coming up with personalised resolutions at the same time, and implementing it at the stroke of midnight, sort of gives us the desire to come up with some, and to stick to it. Something like people attending Pilates classes because they can’t trust themselves to stick to it if they did it on their own.

Well, never mind the herd mentality. It’s still good if it can lead to some personal accomplishments - so long as we try to ensure that such a herd-mentality does not affect our other aspirations and activities.

But whilst we are at it, we ought to remember that we ought not to only make resolutions that are accommodated by our work-life. In other words, perhaps quitting smoking, exercising more, etc, etc, are nice resolutions, but they do not necessarily conflict with our work identities, or serve as much of a counter-identity. Rather, much of the resolutions made may serve as compensatory or recuperative mechanisms that feeds back most positively on our performance at work.

I’ve often said, ‘to be good at work, you have to be good at other stuff, as the perspectives learnt in these other stuff can be used at work as well.’ - i.e. want to be good at photography, take up sociology...want to be good at sociology, take up figure-modelling.

But in order to get the most out of a separate pastime, and develop an identity to appreciate and express it, we’ll have to force ourselves into it, allow such exposure and thoughtful appreciation of it to develop another personality within us, and then we’ll be able to use this new personality to appreciate it even further. That is when we will move on from simply engaging in the activity, to having the initiative to innovate what we’ve learnt through exposure.

And it is only then that we’ll be able to access those more advanced perspectives from such pastimes that can impact on our work performance, whilst developing other identities within ourselves that serve to counter the work identity.

Pursuing another pastime, with or without other people, is the first step. By doing so, we are saying, i’m gonna think, feel, express my interest, initiative, and imagination, even if it doesn’t lead to a pay check at the end on the month.’
I’ve said in previous observations that we shouldn’t allow our 3 I’s - interest, initiative, imagination - to be monopolised by our work experience. If we do, it will determine when we feel tired, motivated, rejuvenated, think, and so on. We ought to develop identities separate from our ‘careers’, so that we can feel equally motivated, rejuvenated, think, etc, when we pursue other interests. So, for instance, when we feel tired after a day’s work, we won’t feel tired because our other identities will be crying out for expression. And as many of these pastimes are pursued with other people, or at least develop other personalities within ourselves, our own relationships with people will be more meaningful. We won’t just give them a bit of the 3 I’s because we’re unwittingly reserved the bulk of it for work.

So when we interact with people, we’ll really get to know them so that we can be relevant to their concerns and aspirations. But in order to do all of these, and more, we’ll first have to break the said monopoly our ‘careers’ have on our 3 I’s. Pursuing another pastime, with or without other people, is the first step. By doing so, we are saying, i’m gonna think, feel, express my interest, initiative, and imagination, even if it doesn’t lead to a pay check at the end on the month.’ That is when we can truly become better friends, husbands, wives, amongst others.

Well, if you don’t have any particular interest that comes to mind, and to serve as a pursuit to resolve yourself to engage in at the stroke of midnight, here’s an idea...

Get hold of a friend, your wife, husband.....and ask them stuff about themselves, their pastimes, which you never asked about before. Don’t just stick to one question, but follow their response with more questions, and then suggestions, as if you’re in their shoes. Let it invoke in you the spirit of empathy, humanity, despite your ‘careers’, and then, upon the stroke of midnight, resolve to embark on your new ‘career’ as a human being.

That is when you’re going to be ‘employed’, even if you’re officially not.

Happy New Year!...and You :-)

edwin s anthony


  1. Agree that making resolutions together as a group is still better than not making any resolutions as it can lead to some personal achievements. Being one who is guilty of having a work identity, I acknowledge that it is definitely not easy to to develop interests that are non-work related. This is however, an excuse that I have been giving myself for years to justify not doing anything outside work. My work experience determines when I am tired and when I am not. On those times when I had conference calls at night after working hours, I only felt tired when I finished my calls around 11ish at night. While on other ocassions, I felt tired when I finished work at 7ish at night. I agree that we have to break the control work has over us. Work should be a means to life, not an end itself.

    One of my new year resolutions is to force myself to engage in non-work related activity and to pick up activities that I have dropped off in the past years on the excuse that I have no time. I totally agree that we have to force ourselves into non-work related activities and once we have developed another personality within us, we will be able to use this new personality to appreciate them further.

    Let's embark on a ‘career’ as a human being together!

    Happy New Year!



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