The Students “Aspire”, should the rest perspire ?

India today magazine  has come out with a new magazine called Aspire with the purpose of guiding students in their choice of careers. It is a much needed handsome initiative. I had already subscribed to the main magazine for 10 years a few years ago and have not been disappointed. What was disappointing however was their attitude when I met a young lady at India today’s editorial office who informed me quite curtly that India today does not accept articles from outsiders. I found that attitude a little out of synch with today’s world if not a little snobbish.

Today , we are in the era of interactive media. Television is pulling out all stops to make TV more interactive than ever before. In more and more programs, priority is given to audience preferences because nobody can be absolutely sure what the audience will accept or reject.. Even well established film producers concede the fact. That apart, I feel that a magazine can be enriched by the real life experiences of people which can also enable other people to learn.

Coming to the main point now. Its all right to guide the students but what about the people who are trapped in the wrong jobs?. I read an American article recently which stated that a survey indicated that as many as 87% people hated their daily jobs. The incidence of heart attacks too wason Monday mornings. I have heard this 80% bit several times i.e 80% of the people are stuck in the wrong jobs and stuff like that. Considering the fact that work occupies most of our waking hours, if 80 percent of the people are miserable 80 percent of the time, isn’t that life a kind of mental Aids or mental Cancer? What kind of life is this? Should they rot for the rest of their lives because they made a wrong decision once ?

In the book “Karma, Destiny and Career” , author Jenette Hucknall  states that some people in the United States have to go back to school after they choose a wrong career. Except for high-tech issues like surgery or piloting, I feel that that is an impractical solution. The author explains in detail how much family and friends suffer because of this shifting of careers and how much adjustment it entails on behalf of the individual and his family. Would not quick, short term courses be a more practical solution. If somebody has the talent for something, he or she requires only fine tuning and not blind thrusting of knowledge.

The problem is that what you are really suited for is determined only after actually attempting different kinds of work in the practical world. To some lucky people, it can be at first attempt. Otherwise even a lifetime is not enough. No wonder Thomas Carlyle said “ The person who has found his vocation in life is a blessed human being. Let him ask for no other blessedness” .

If the real life stories of such people were told in detail, the students would understand the implications of choosing a wrong career. I have stated earlier that despite reading in Dale Carnegie’s books in which sufficient warning was given, I still went the wrong way because of strong pre conceived notions about money and qualifications and suffered profusely. What is needed is depth understanding (the deeper the water, the calmer the surface, still waters run deep etc) and that can be provided only by real life stories.

That apart, in the last three years, I have come across so many websites and books written by Americans(displayed on the links on the right) that I wonder how grave the situation in India must be with its huge population. Some American experts have conceded that it can sometimes take years to determine what exactly you are suited for by going through various parameters such as hobbies, social work preferences, work ambience etc etc and not qualifications or knowledge alone.

The only really good  Indian book I have come across on the subject is by former billiards World champion Geet Sethi’s “Success v/s Joy” . It is a wonderful book, a fact conceded by no less than Superstar Amitabh Bachchan.

A day after I wrote this, I came across this interesting article in the times of India


19 Responses to The Students “Aspire”, should the rest perspire ?

  1. phoenix says:

    Very informative I must say.
    And depressing too, slightly.

  2. amrit says:

    You have got point here. I sincerely hope it doesn’t take a lifetime for me to realize what have I been created for..

    Keep writing ya, coz reading your blogs is like feeling peace in this competitive world where we seldom stop and think what are we doing.

  3. Paresh says:

    In the Indian scenario, it is the overall attitude of the society that needs a change. Certain profession are considered safe and stable and following the beaten path is considered a key to successful life. Just as an example, one of my engineer friend said this: “We will marry well because we are software engineers”. Now this comes from a well educated person, you can imagine how much resistence someone may need to face if he/she decides to go out of the boundary.
    But times are changing. These days you see atleast some examples of people making innovative career choices. But that again has another side. Most of them are well setteled and may have family support. Will an average graduate who has a family to look after follow his passion by giving up a safe job?

  4. Shiv says:


    Luks like u did lot of research before u wrote this article.Good compilation of links.

    Yes..that is valid question u have asked.It really takes a long time for one to find whether he fits in his job.With notations of stereotyped esp in India, people tend to get into job without even understanding if they can.

    Doesn’t change of jobs in the middle leave one in ‘na ghar ka na ghat ka’ state?

  5. Deepali says:

    Hi Hiren

    Thank you for your kind appreciation on my latest post :).

    I actually checked out the site regarding the Jessica Lal case and found it be rather vague. Are you aware of any petition [online] bya recognised group or such?

  6. Mary says:

    How true! Even I have had so many colleagues who turned to mouding themselves into doctors when they had not one caring bone in their was all parental pressure.Now after graduating many are turning to get an MBA!What is that…just shows how much that new magazine is needed plus the mindsets of parents have to be altered.
    they can’t just push their kids into choosing careers that they couldn’t

  7. thulika says:

    Nice and informative Blog. About the News papr thing, Journalists believe they are the best in doing the writing stuff. I have been trying to work as Freelancer, but I am not being able to because I have a degree in something else. It is hard for people to think out of their shell. It is hard for people to accept there could be people who are not professionally qualified yet be good at some job. 🙂

  8. the Monk says:

    nail on the head, man…

  9. Deepak says:

    I fully agree with the notion followed by India Today. Tough, this magazine, in recent years, is lagging far behind its rival Outlook, the established media should published articles only from the experts. Hiren, u should know that journalism too is a technical field like medicine or engineering. You can hone, polish and embellish ur writing now and can be a good writer tomorrow. So, wait for the right time to come.

  10. Mihir says:

    you have a valid point there. I find many of my friends complaining about their jobs. But, at the same time i do feel that we ourselves should know which field is best suitable to us before joining it. The motive behind launching Aspire might be to guide students and introduce them to the various fields and careers available after they graduate… It is our choice to select our career, we should know what are we good in. I think that it is a good move by India Today…

  11. Tiya says:

    Hi Hiren,
    I believe that a few people in their younger ages especially in the United States (I can speak for them since this is one world I ‘ve seen other than India) have an opportunity to take a break after high school, either go travel and discover their passion in life and the meaning of life or start working because the purpose is to find what they really want to do and once they know that, should go back to college and pursue it. But today, like you said a majority still end up being in a wrong profession and thus the frustration. Many people do not realise the sabbatical after high school as an exploration rather either get more lost or just give in to peer pressure (like drugs, violence, mundane things and a narrow focus).
    I blame it on the school system which should provide the students with a unified vision which is to create a vision for themselves and challenge their minds and let it grow in all directions in a positive way.

    Its there but its very rare and thus we see the statistics.

    Thanks for dropping by my blog.

  12. manish says:

    Hi Hiren,

    Blogging excellent stuff !! Something we all should think about before stepping into careers and make sure,that we are not trying to fit square pegs into round holes 🙂

    And yes,thanks for your kind comments.

    and guys,I had even blogged a similar story,read it if you find time

  13. silkboard says:

    Nice post Hiren.

    Its like the Matrix. We plug in and out of work. Actually, some of us stay plugged in to work all the time. But as a society we have accepted this “divide”, there are two worlds, period. work and life. Alternatively, passion and profession.

    Making passion your profession – we all chase that dream. But most end up making our profession our passion 🙂

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  17. shekhar says:

    its nt about where to go wht to…its about i dont know what is my passion my likings in which field i will be more happy….till nw my life going on others advice ,suggestion ….how hell i still dont know where my joy lies in which field……
    i need a counsellor man….bt sometime i thnk let life go as it is….

  18. You happen to be a very brilliant person!

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    The Students “Aspire”, should the rest perspire ? | Make your passion your profession(Work prisoners and students)

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