What (not) To Expect When You Are Expecting

First up, a disclaimer. This note has nothing whatsoever to do with expecting with a pregnancy connotation.

Here’s a poser. How many times have you ended up dejected, dismayed, disgruntled or any of the words that describe any of the emotions that lie in that spectrum?

Expectations are a part of the dowry that comes along with any relationship organisation-employee, husband-wife, parent-child, you name a relationship and there is a set of expectations.

Now, these expectations may be categorized as:

A) Natural: Parents nurture
B) Social: The love thy neighbour genre
C) Contractual: I pay, you deliver & vice-versa
D) Obligatory: Caring for elderly, grand-children or anything in the IOU space
E) Internal: Expectations based on self-image

While some of these expectations, more specifically categories A-C  set themselves, the one cardinal rule that applies to  categories D & E moreso category E is:

“An expectation not set, is an expectation not met”

Like any other rule there will be exceptions that will go on to prove the rule.

Coming back, here a few pointers based on wisdom on what not to expect and I’ll try to address each of the categories that I mentioned above. These by the way are notes to self too.

Category A: Nature
A parent should not expect compliance to orders/commands in return for the nurturing:- Millions of years of human history bear testament to this and still do. Just take a look around if there is a parent-child act playing out the most likely speak of the parent is “don’t go there” or “don’t do this” or someother instruction beginning with a Don’t.

Category B: Social
Do not expect courtesy:- This one is my pet peeve. The other day I was at a counter paying the quarterly fee at my daughters school. In walks a kid, a thirteener perhaps and get this… there’s one counter with just me standing there and he puts his hand across my shoulder and tries to pay!! I just step aside allowed the kid to pay and just said one thing “Son, I think you are old enough to understand the concept of a queue.” While that did elicit a quick apology, I did not sense any remorse.

Category C: Contractual
Do not expect professionalism:- Ha! I know this one resonates. Organisations are full of Johnnies who serve no fruitful purpose and are undeserving of their paycheck.Somehow, its become unreasonable for you to expect things delivered in order or in time from colleagues. Some  hide behind bosses, some behind friendship, neither want to move their asses!

Category D: Obligatory
Do not expect. As pessimistic or cynical as it may sound this is the category where it is important that when you did whatever you did for whomsoever you did it felt that you had indeed obliged.If not, too bad because that IOU post it that you have on your memory wall is headed straight for the recycle bin. When in doubt apply the rule!

Category E: Internal
No if, no but, only gut:- This one is all about you, it’s about your opinion of yourself and it’s how you feel you have done…in your gut. This is the trickiest of the categories and here’s where the world will quote

“Karmanye vadhikaraste ma phaleshu kadachna
Karmaphalehtur bhurma te sangostvakarmani”
for the uninitiated translated this verse from the Bhagwad Gita would mean:
“You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action। Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty”

Taking a corporate example for this one again, one of Rewards and Recognition. All of us long for recognition of our efforts, applause makes everyone special. However, this is an expectation that is almost never set. We are all too nice to say it aloud.Is it wrong to say that I have busted or will be busting my back side towards this assignment/project, I deserve some recognition on this one?
Apparently, yes and I can feel the corporate ‘same pinch’ 😉

Finally, to close a quote from Charles Dickens Great Expectations and I use it in the context of us being the designers of our set of expectations

“I am what you designed me to be.I am your blade. You cannot now complain if you also feel the hurt”


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