Som Patel is a 28-year-old science graduate. He finished his bachelor degree 8 years ago. He tried his hand at post-graduation but left it after 6 months citing lack of interest in further studies. He tried a few jobs here and there but no consistent effort was made. It was either too difficult, the remuneration was too low or the job was uninteresting. Since the last 5 years, he has simply not advanced in his life and there is stagnation. He has even stopped even being perturbed by it. His worried parents lose their sleep daily over his future.
Som is shying away from the biggest problem of adulthood – the problem of work. People like Som do not understand the need to work because they do not understand the necessity of living in association with others. His attitude and behavior would be totally different if he understands the concepts of social co-operation. He continually demands support from others and lives on the labors of others without making a contribution of his own. This is the life-style of a pampered child – solving problems by the efforts of others. It is an unfair burden on his parents who are actively engaged in solving the problems of life. Som fails to understand that an occupation is necessary for marriage and to be able to connect with other human beings. His problem of work can be sometimes used as an excuse for evading the other problems of his life. Just as a workaholic is avoiding facing the aspects of life by immersing himself in his work and not paying attention to other facets, so does an avoidant Som runs away from making an attempt to solve problems. One of the reasons for Som’s failure is a lack of consistent efforts of training made in childhood through the parents and through the schools. What he has developed is a desire that can never be satisfied and that is the desire of superiority without working for it. He considers it a virtue to be lazy and a vice to be industrious. He has lost the characteristic of being motivated and stimulated to make an effort and apply his skills; instead, he has perfected the art of distancing himself from an effort and putting a judgmental value to it.
What Som should do?
The first thing is to sit down with him and find out his main interest even though it may be far off from his skills and from his academic degree. If the value of money has been overstressed in family life. Som may be tempted to look at the problem of work only in the light of what he can make. This will not help him to follow an interest, which will motive his efforts. His self-esteem depends on how much he can make and that will not be a right attitude to have in the long run. True, everyone should earn their living; but people who ignore this point make themselves a burden by following greed. Needs can be met, greed cannot. It is in Som’s best interest to start following some work of his liking. It may not be remunerative but at least it will help him to bring some interest back into his life. Even if he starts to address the other problems of his life apart from work, it may help him to start using his mind in a constructive manner. One of the chief obstacles to his efforts is that there is a lot of unemployment in our country and while there are no jobs for people who want to work, Som is handicapped by his attitude of easy work. It will be quite a painful process to look into his ambitions again, have the courage to pursue them, get back into the mould of training further as need arises but nevertheless, it is his only way out. He will have to identify the opportunities that will help him move towards his goal. He can start by associating himself with people who are working and try to imbibe from them the virtues of hard work and constructive efforts. These impressions would serve as a pillar around which he can weave his efforts. He will also have to start racking up his fantasies and look within them for encouragement towards work. The main problem in this intervention is that he might have a fantasy of gains without labor and this would prevent him from working fully. He can also start a healthy competition with his family members in the sense that if he can try and outdistance the achievements of his father and brothers, and then he may find the motivation to work. Of course, this is only for motivational purpose and not for introducing envy of their achievements and the consequence of a depression of never being able to achieve what they have achieved. One another point that can help Som is to let go of the private meaning of life that he has attributed. If he is able to relate to others then he will probably allow others to help him solve this problem. He will be able to voice his difficulties, take help without feeling embarrassed or ashamed that it has lowered his personal superiority and let his capabilities develop. All these interventions are to help Som get a grip on his life. They require time and consistent efforts. It will not be a bed of roses; the first reason why he refused to make efforts. There will be many times when he will feel like giving up and go back to his lazy life; those times have to be identified as minor obstacles rather than failures. Success is a word, which everyone understands differently, and the attitude that Som has right now is one of defeat without a test. He needs to abandon that in favor of actual accomplishments that will define his success for him.