Mr Narayana Murthy is undoubtedly one of the most
famous persons from Karnataka. He is known not just
for building the biggest IT empire in India but also
for his simplicity.
Almost every important dignitary visits Infosys
campus. He delivered an interesting speech during an
employee session with another IT company in India. He
is incidentally, one of the top 50 Influential people
of Asia according to an Asiaweek publication and also
the new IT Advisor to the Thailand Prime Minister.
Extract of Mr Narayana Murthy’s Speech during Mentor
“LOVE YOUR JOB, BUT NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR
COMPANY BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN THE COMPANY STOPS
LOVING YOU” — Narayana Murthy
I know people who work 12 hours a day, six days a
week, or more. Some people do so because of a work
emergency where the long hours are only temporary.
Other people I know have put in these hours for years.
I don’t know if they are working all these hours, but
I do know they are in the office this long. Others
put in long office hours because they are addicted to
Whatever the reason for putting in overtime, working
long hours over the long term is harmful to the person
and to the organization.
There are things managers can do to change this for
Being in the office long hours, over long periods of
time, makes way for potential errors. My colleagues
who are in the office long hours frequently make
mistakes caused by fatigue.
Correcting these mistakes requires their time as well
as the time and energy of others. I
have seen people work Tuesday through Friday to
correct mistakes made after 5 PM on Monday.
Another problem is that people who are in the office
long hours are not pleasant company. They often
complain about other people (who aren’t working as
hard); they are irritable, or cranky, or even angry.
Other people avoid them.
Such behaviour poses problems, where work goes much
better when people work together instead of avoiding
As Managers, there are things we can do to help people
leave the office.
First and foremost is to set the example and go home
Second is to encourage people to put some balance in
their lives. For instance, here is a guideline I find
- Wake up, eat a good breakfast, and go to work.
- Work hard and smart for eight or nine hours.
- Go home.
- Read books/comics, watch a funny movie, play with your kids, etc.
- Eat well and sleep well.
This is called recreating. Doing steps 1, 3, 4, and 5
enable step 2.
Working regular hours and recreating daily are simple
concepts. They are hard for some of us because that
requires ‘personal change’. They are possible since
we all have the
power to choose to do them.
In considering the issue of overtime, I am reminded of
my oldest son.
When he was a toddler, if people were visiting the
apartment, he would not fall asleep no matter how long
the visit, and no matter what time of day it was. He
would fight off sleep until the visitors left. It was
as if he was afraid that he would miss something.
Once our visitors left, he would go to sleep. By this
time, however, he was over tired and would scream
through half the night with nightmares.
He, my wife, and I, all paid the price for his fear of
Perhaps some people put in such long hours because
they don’t want to miss anything when they leave the
office. The trouble with this is that events will
never stop happening.
That is life! Things happen 24 hours a day. Allowing
for little rest is not ultimately practical. So, take
a nap. Things will happen while you’re asleep, but
you will have the energy to catch up when you wake.
Hence… “LOVE YOUR JOB BUT NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH
Fauzul Na'im Ishak