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               Six software professionals under the age of 33 have died and 2 top executives from renowned software companies have become paralyzed because of stress-related heart ailments in the last six months in Chennai, says a study by Mitran Foundation, a Bangalore-based voluntary association of practicing doctors.

             All the six who died, and the two who became invalid, had no family history of heart attacks or any pre-history of heart ailments or paralysis. They were all in their prime, between 27 and 33 years, and handled challenging projects at work in their respective companies. They worked long and continuous hours. The end struck them very suddenly, andit looked as if their hearts refused to take any more stress,” said Dr Dwarakanath, director of Mitran Foundation, who has studied stress components in 40 software companies in Chennai during the last six months.

                      The study, conducted at a cost of Rs 45 lakhs, covered more than 4,000 software professionals from 80 companies who were in service for a minimum of three years. The email responses were scientifically  tabulated and the findings were ready in 2002. Dr Dwarakanath, who was the late Dhirubhai Ambani’s personal stress management consultant, said questionnaires extracting every minute detail were sent to the respondents. The personal background, family history and personal characteristics of these individuals were assessed and it was found that the stress in these professionals was only due to work pressure. All other factors were eliminated.

                         “Our study confirmed that the number of suicides, divorces, heart ailments, BP and diabetes patients and mental depression are the highest in the software industry. The fancy salaries of software professionals are no longer something to rejoice about,” Dr Dwarakanath said.

                           “We found that the software industry has simply no routine. Deadlines hang before them and every day they chase new problems. During weekends more than 60 per cent of the vehicles are found parked in the office complexes. There is no physical exercise and new food habits favoured by pizza culture fuel the problem. Cervical spondilitis and wrist problems due to uncomfortable handling of the computer mouse, eye problems and discomfort in bowel movements are common.

                            The stress for couples where both are employed in the IT industry is the worst. The simple step of taking time off from work for three months allowed an IT couple wanting a child for years to conceive one,” DrDwarakanath said.

                         M.T.R. Venukopalan, senior training coordinator, Covansys India, acknowledged that IT professionals were the most stressed individuals. Even if the company sponsors a movie or self-care lecture, not many attend them,” he said.

Jyothsana, a travel coordinator for Temenos India Pvt Ltd, expressed concern for the young employees who complain of back and knee pains. She acknowledged that IT professionals require a specific eating and physical exercise routine to ease their stress. “Our lives are becoming mechanical, guided only by deadlines,” she said.

So think again if you are staying late in the office regularly. Think again about your family. Think again about your social life and health.

Work is essential. Your contribution to the goal should be great. But, please don’t make it a habit to stay late.

 Don’t skip your Break Fast /Lunch/Dinner. None of these are equated by Pizza, Biscuits / Wafers / Chat items

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