Sunday, March 24, 2013

Why do we do what we do . . .

Over the last week, we've been having some serious discussions about the reasons why many of us are serving in remote and trying locations such as NJH with supposedly hardships and challenges. Of course, this is a question which we in most of the EHA hospitals ends up replying to many inquisitive friends and even family members almost every alternate week. 

Many of us attribute our presence in such locations to a response to a personal relationship to the Lordship of Christ Jesus. Yes . . . it is quite difficult for many of our own friends and family members to understand this 'professional suicide'. 

There are quite a lot of our acquaintances who attribute our escapades to the travel bug, inability to manage a high stress job, preference for a laid back lifestyle, poor family relations etc. etc. But, on the whole, most of my colleagues and myself are quite sure about the reason why we are here.  

However, one of the major challenges in our situations is to serve alongside communities and colleagues who are just there for a reason which does not match yours, but mainly for the job and the money. Considering the crunch in resources and technical expertise, it is quite a challenge to expect the intensity and commitment from colleagues who are just there to earn a living. 

I feel sad for such people especially in a low resource setting such as ours, where what we earn is less than what we could have earned elsewhere. 

Couple of years ago, one of my friends narrated a conversation he had in a train journey with a group of staff of a mission hospital who were on their way to a conference. He started to enquire about the role and significance of mission hospitals in healthcare scenario of the country. 

My friend was shocked to find out that except one guy, none of the others had any clue on why they were the part of such an organisation. The group cut such a sorry figure . . . and of course was not at all a good advertisement of the prospects for joining such a sort of institution.

And to make matters worse, the guy who was explaining all the reasons for the existence of mission hospitals . . . he was new to his job whereas all the others were veterans in their jobs. 

I'm glad such conversations gives me the opportunity to re-look and question myself and my colleagues about the reason on why we are in this sort of a job. 

My final note on this . . . if you think that people like us are a very rare breed . . . sorry . . . you're mistaken. You may be surprised to know that there are quite a lot of such people, much qualified and dedicated than us, serving in more remote areas in very trying situations. 

We are so privileged to be associated with quite a lot of such people who are in such trying situations. Most of them belong to various congregations of the Catholic Church involved in education, healthcare and development. 

I say that even if you are in a job for no reason, you should be absolutely sure that you are there for no reason . . . rather than beat around the bush trying to find a reason. If you are there for the money and the status, be sure that you are there for the same.  

By the way, quite a lot of my colleagues think that qualified staff in the organisation get a secret packet of salary directly to their account without it coming into the account books. Otherwise, they just cannot imagine these highly qualified guys being in such difficult jobs. 

My take on the whole matter. When people do things (especially a job) about which they are not sure of the reasons or try to think of a better or 'honourable' reason, I feel that is a very sorry state. 

I could only mumble a prayer for mercy for the management of the hospital whose staff my friend met on the train. 

. . . Do take some time off and think . . . 'Why do I do what I do?' It's quite a good exercise. 

1 comment:

  1. Jeevan,

    I think one really cannot expect other people to have the same ambitions and the spirit he or she has. Most people in the world really do not long for that sense of professional calling to know exactly what they should be doing. Neither do all people make it to that one thing which they always wanted to do. Most of them aim to get a good work that gives a good salary and will enable to support their families. The ones who think that they are called for a special purpose are few.

    If the employee does not know why he is there, I would think that the problem is with the leadership of the place.

    Moreover, I do not find the idea of having a definite sense of vocational calling biblical. I would say that if one has an idea that he is called to be a Christian and that being a Christian includes being faithful in one's profession, that would be enough. The rest of the work lies with the leader of the institution to align them with the purposes of the institution.