Pakistani workplaces are not entirely — if at all — suited to the comfortable positioning of skilled and talented resources who wish to see to their employment obligations with any measurable degree of professionalism and uncompromising focus. And the reason behind this dispensation is not hard to understand; because it directly has a lot to do with the conscious instigations of the other people, the more differently (read: less professionally, and more status-quo) inclined workers, managerially cultivated within the same setting. Individuals who, given the going practical-case scenario, constitute the local mob-majority, the immediate societal malignancy (I apologize for putting it like this; but the reality, I dare say, is even starker!) one is inevitably forced to put up with; and who, through the sheer trade-unionist-reminiscent group capability rendered by their brute force in numbers, bring about the entrenchment of their own ‘productive median’: a state of workplace activity that falls just below the radar of admonishing official purview (a necessity for employment retention — as such people instinctively know), and just at the threshold of the ‘least levels of work’ negotiable. Or when considered from another vantage, the entire motivation behind this soul-gutting working orientation — or, at least, as any sincere and ‘Halal-o-fying’ (a favourite coinage of one of my mentors of old; now an authority in global HR circles) worker would fervently chance to put it — is to score the monthly or hourly paycheck with the lowest frequency of committed work that can be gotten away with. This observation is obvious; it only requires a mind accepting of one’s ambient truth conditions and not one fully succumbed to a meticulously constructed experience. I use the term ‘managerially’ here out of conceptual necessity; since our workplace ‘seniors’ (very few of whom are deserving of the meritorious designation; again a tragedy), charged with overseeing the helm of organizational affairs, are victims as much as they are authority-crats; because even if they are, themselves, committed to the organizational workflow, their legitimate worker expectations have to be lowered, incessantly, to cater to the exploitative workforce that is popularly on offer. The bulk of an organization’s labour force, after all, has to be inducted from the local pool — there’s no going around this fact (which can prove to be either a handicap or a positive enabler: it all depends on the worker(s) under question). As an off-and-on hirer myself, I know only too well how a pressing team vacancy, particularly when it relates to the important workings of a specialist-in-trade, or a low HR recruitment budget, can at times compel managers to make do with the best interviewee who shows up — even if the prospective worker invited would hardly qualify for the position should the ideal-case scenario (which hardly ever comes about in Pakistan) had prevailed. When analyzed from the macro, sociocultural, perspective, a lot of societal issues, seemingly working in a dialectical arrangement, can be blamed for bringing about our communal worker-oriented moral pathogenesis to its depressing denouement of today. An ever-increasing cost of living (which has even pushed many formerly categorized among the urban middle-class demographic down the poverty line; to speak nothing of the droves of our already severely — historically — disenfranchised), the unhinged, capitalistic glorification of wealth (be it ill-gotten or fairly conceived — who cares anymore, right?) above all mores of universally-good personal conduct, cultural factors that ‘naturally’ relegate some to a higher positioning on the social ladder instead of others (think our suffocating national binds of ethnicity, linguistic origination, sex, age, and social class conformity) and reinforce rigid class divisions/barriers to entry, declining state of education and very few instances of self-initiated scholastic enterprise (most of our higher educational degrees which relate of impressive learner GPAs and university credentials, I’m again loathed to state, don’t count for much in the practical/applied workplace for a number of publically discussed reasons), and, of course, our culturally damaging and all-moral-subverting, political and religious conditioning which is both a direct causative and resultant issue of all of these recounted pathologies of contemporary Pakistani professional living. Needless to say, but many other factors can be listed here…but the aim inherent in this summation is not to put the reader into an even greater descent of our collective abject state of despair than is absolutely necessary. It is only to shed light on the concerns that have cumulatively led to this decadence taking hold; grievances that we, in both our organizational and other social spaces of interaction, appear to be doing little to alleviate. And the worry is that this degenerative state of affairs will only lead to a further entrenchment of our going ‘brain drain’ phenomenon — the famous one sparked en masse in the 60s and which has only ever been on an ascent since. Good workers, sound on both theoretical (knowledge-based) and practical (applied skills-based) fronts, despite the increasing tide of racialism and socioeconomic protectionism currently underway in most developed countries, will continue to willingly emigrate in search of better employment opportunities and chances at living; only choosing to come back after they’ve amassed a lot of overseas currency to ensure a more respectable, foreign-stamped, existence back home. They are not interested in merely surviving, which, for the greater, overwhelming majority of our citizens (particularly our hardworking, patriotic citizens who, in spite of all social pressures inflicted on their persons — both worker-oriented and others, still love their country) figures as the primary mode of day-to-day existence. They are keen on living. And there is a big difference between the two that we need to appreciate — if we are to work towards any semblance of a societal betterment; and, more narrowly, towards improving our workplace culture. Because it is only then that the quality worker will remain; along with being motivated enough to freely and fearlessly exhibit his or her true potential for the good of both country and company.