CA Prarthana Jalan has issued the timely warning that professionals get so obsessed with their professional duties, that they do not even realize that they are neglecting their own well-being and that of their families. She urges everyone to maintain a healthy work-life balance lest we face health and emotional problems later in life
Just a few days back, somebody asked me “what are your working hours”?
To this question with curved eyebrows I started with “10-6, no actually 9.30 to 7 or sometimes beyond or early to that, depends upon the work” and eventually the correct answer that I was able to arrive at was surprisingly from the time I get up in the morning till the time I am asleep in the night.
A person who is not associated with our legal/tax practitioner’s fraternity might think that I am using hyperbole or trying to show off but most of the members of my fraternity would second me, for many of us are having the same time schedule of working, it might appear strange but it is reality- From the time we open up our eyes till we are asleep in the night, we are actually doing professional work. (If we have an important case scheduled for hearing the next day or if any of the client is in tension than sound sleep is substituted by restless sleep). Sometimes, even while sleeping also we think about interpretations/ways to defend clients.
There was a time when a person used to have stipulated working hours i.e 10 to 6 or any other stipulated office timings i.e when the office used to open or close, but thanks to smart phones especially whatsapp we all have parallel/virtual offices running almost 24*7.
When we get up in the morning, before newspapers or meeting our family members, we do meeting with our whatsapp/mails, which is flooded with all kinds of notices, replies, case laws, updations etc. This virtual office operates and we manage it all throughout the day as well as late night. We solve various kinds of queries/problems in our this office.
Our day times goes in various courts/departments i.e Hon’ble ITAT, Hon’ble CIT(Appeals), AO (E-assessments as still to be implemented in true spirit) and in the evenings we usually have meetings with the clients. In Night we need to study and keep ourselves updated and finalize our replies/submissions (some have the habit of doing it early in the morning also).
We hear that internet has made the world a global village, but for us due to it there is no distinction left between our homes and offices. The only distinction is that at our homes there are people who we don’t do meetings with, whom the world know them as our family members.
Usually weekend’s i.e Saturday/Sundays are used in drafting/preparing the important submissions/replies of the cases of coming week provided we are not occupied in any seminars/conferences.
We all are happy for we are winning the cases, keeping ourselves updated and available to client is need of the hour, everything is going in our favour.
Well, “Adjourn” all these life-style proceedings for a while and think and ponder “Are we really doing justice with our family and most importantly with us, while getting justice for others?”. We skip/eat at odd hours -breakfasts, lunch, we are working till late nights or waking up early not taking sufficient sleep. Hobbies/personal sports have got no time to be involved in. We are fighting and getting justice for others, getting their tax demands deleted but we very well know that ultimately the “taxes” for this lifestyle would be paid by our “health” and our family would have to pay the “interest” and “penalty” for it.
Work is important, keeping updated is also important, being sincere, hard working, dedicated towards work is also important but our priorities above all should be our family, health and most importantly us. Due to this working style many professionals are suffering from various kinds of ailments and God forbids but if we are prosecuted by ill health or any kind of personal problem than for our compounding applications only our family/true friends would be available.
So work as much as you can but work only after giving due priority to family and oneself first, for we should not do injustice with ourselves for getting justice for others.