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17 Jun 2024, Edition - 3261, Monday

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Mr. Narayana Murthy’s 70-Hour Workweek and the Dynamics of Identity and Discipleship

Santosh Avvannavar


It is widely believed that the education system significantly influences the formation of one’s identity. This process often hinges on the courses an individual chooses to pursue. Within the realm of education, one’s roles serve as a means of expressing their potential in specific areas. Assessing this potential often involves the evaluation of skills, though occasionally this potential remains undiscovered. These assessments are frequently regarded as a compass for gauging an individual’s capabilities and performance. However, it’s essential to recognize that these assessments rely on somewhat rudimentary or psychological tools and come with inherent limitations.

On the other hand, certain career paths are forged through an ongoing, interdependent relationship with mentors. In such cases, leaders are tasked with treating their subordinates as learners who require substantial guidance. Likewise, the subordinates need to place their trust in this mentorship system. This approach does have its downsides, as it may stifle individual expressiveness. While it can be a valuable way to acquire skills and promote personal growth, it often faces scrutiny from those who believe in a process shaped by both education and the work environment. Developing these dependent relationships is a time-consuming endeavor, ultimately giving rise to narratives of a fulfilling life.

Designed and discovered identities tend to be influenced by ideas and images reminiscent of advertisements. Individuals are led to believe that advertisements or ratings provide the right framework for decision-making, leading to a temporary departure of critical thinking. Consider the case of Mr. Narayana Murthy’s endorsement of a 70-hour workweek. The responses from several individuals on social media indicated a lack of thoughtful reflection. Unfortunately, Mr. Murthy is not on Twitter to engage with these views. Moreover, many tweets displayed a clear bias or were confined to specific belief systems and work environments that encouraged working smart over working hard, among other ideals. This is illustrative of the impact that derived identities can have on one’s perspectives. Some tweets also delved into mental health concerns, often rooted in the narratives drawn from select scientific studies. While these tweets may not be entirely incorrect, they often do not represent the complete truth, thus posing challenges for those with newly discovered identities. As derived and discovered identities continue to challenge the assumptions related to self-expression and the tendency to generalize from limited studies, it’s regrettable not to witness a tweet from Mr. Murthy himself.

Mr. Murthy’s concept of a 70-hour workweek serves as a core theme in our discourse on leadership and discipleship within the workplace. It embodies a form of authority that shapes relationships based on differences. Several tweets conveyed a sense of storytelling inadequacy, while others attempted to offer alternative narratives for the benefit of future generations.

Mr. Murthy’s remarks warrant attention because they are consistently reinforced by his actions, which constitute a critical aspect of derived relationships. His ongoing challenge to the ever-evolving work ecosystem with shorter-term goals and vision underscores the need for a sustainable narrative. How many startups can endure for multiple years?
Sustainability emerges as a vital narrative element that contributes to overall security. Years ago, the individual in charge of campus hiring at Infosys at NITK Surathkal stated that, even in the absence of projects for a year, they could sustain every employee. Such factual accounts are essential for illuminating the inner workings of reality. This disclosure is crucial for capturing the public’s imagination, especially in debates over whether a four-day workweek is more productive than a five-day workweek. If a similar framework were applied, would we accept a scenario where doctors fail to show up when patients arrive at a clinic? The question naturally arises: should some individuals continually rely on derived relationships while others flourish within designed or discovered identities?

Mr. Murthy’s perspective serves as a reflection of a relationship grounded in identity formation through ongoing discipleship, emphasizing the importance of continuous dialogue. There is always room for uncomfortable conversations, which, in turn, can nurture discipleship.

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