Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lowered expectations

In an article in the chronicle titled,  "Upside of the Downturn", the author states that reduced expectations for our material success might make us happier, even if we’re poorer. The article goes on to say,

When expectations are high, the best we can hope to do is match them. When expectations are lower, matching them is easier and exceeding them is possible. By lowering expectations and keeping expectations modest, the downturn may actually enable people to derive satisfaction from activities and possessions that would previously have been disappointing. Managing expectations is a crucial determinant of well-being, and the downturn may be managing our expectations for us. 

This is good advice for almost everyone working in government jobs. As the article notes (in a different context), "They may seek what is good about their institution, and be grateful for it, instead of noticing the ways their institution falls short, and resenting it."


Anonymous said...

in other words government institutions/government run organizations aren't efficient and must eventually be scrapped.

PKBang said...

"government institutions/government run organizations aren't efficient" doesn't necessarily imply that they must be scrapped there are other options too, like making them better((e.g., Finland's schooling system which was in the news recently)).

Ankur Kulkarni said...

Government jobs are not the best jobs, yet there are so many good people in government jobs. This is quite a contradiction.

Part of the reason, I think, is the general confusion around this concept govt jobs: many seem to think that working in a government job is the same as, or is the best way of, working for the country. This impression is even stronger amongst small-town boys who want to become IAS officers to "serve the country."

This impression perpetuates the inefficiency of government institutions. Because institutions are believed to be working for a higher cause, they are rarely held to account and even forgiven for being inefficient. In educational and scientific institutions, it also leads to the grandiose idea that employees should feel privileged to belong to the institution and be self-sacrificing for the sake of the country.

Sustaining this sort of an attitude requires extraordinary human beings with intense training - such as those in the armed forces. For the rest, a more grounded attitude that clearly distinguishes between government and country is perhaps necessary.

Anonymous said...


if in india high end research is somehow managed to get done outside of the governmental setup, even this 'sense of privilege' will vanish.

anyhow, we are nowhere in the world in terms of scientific output/progress and we have to accept that first and try to make changes to become more efficient.

Anonymous said...

'anyhow, we are nowhere in the world in terms of scientific output/progress and we have to accept that first and try to make changes to become more efficient.'

Why scientific progress alone? Our India is average or below average in almost all fields (science/technology/social science/literature/administration/politics/diplomacy/sports/cinema/business and so on...). In some of these fields, we may appear in the front row...but that also due to successful copying of developed nations. We are a slowly progressing country and we will take time to innovate and lead.

Vimal Mishra said...

Research in Asia heats up!