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It was quite shocking to read in the Times of India that a 25 year old IIT educated engineer committed suicide because he was unable to cope with work pressure.

The article says Sandeep Shelke, the IIT educated software professional jumped from the 7th floor of his office building in Pune. The stated reason was that he was not able to perform upto expectations. Many comments have been written by readers  of the article- some blaming the organisation, others blaming his boss who is supposed to have put pressure on him to perform, and yet others blaming the boy himself, saying that if he was not happy he should have simply quit his job.

” I am unable to do my work well and very depressed because of it.” the youngster wrote in the note he left behind. It is tragic for anyone to go though such an incident. Imagine the stress the boy was under before taking this extreme step. Think of his parents. They would have expected so much from their son.

High work pressure is a part of working life today. As business needs become more demanding, so do the pressures of work in an extremely competitive economy. If you can’t cope, you will be under great deal of stress.

To younger readers who are under pressure to perform, here is something to think about:

  1. Nothing, but nothing is as precious as your life. Ending your life is not the solution to any problem- however major it may appear to be.
  2. Have a discussion with your friends and colleagues in the office about your problem. Try to explain your difficulties to your boss or to a neutral function such as HR.
  3. Understand why you are not able to meet expectations. Is the gap imaginary or real? Even if be real, it is not the end of the world. The reasons can be traced back to being a result of the lack of knowledge, skills or attitude. These can be developed and gaps plugged over time.
  4. Be optimistc. There can be are many different approachs to solve the problem. Don’t lose heart without exploring various options.
  5. You are responsible for your own actions. You owe it to yourself, your parents, your family and your friends- if not your organisation- to try all possible options to resolve the problem- without resorting to such an extreme step.

My condolences to the Shelke family on this tragic event.

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This is Post No: 249 of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success.