Beware-Right occupation does not guarantee commercial success.

February 2, 2008

The objective of this Blog was to create an awareness of the significance of hobbies or interest or passion in one’s life. Two of the best quotes that I have come across in this context and mentioned in my articles- a hobby is more a measure of a man than his profession is and the luckiest man is the person whose hobby and profession are the same. We take hobbies to be a sort of side- activity but in many cases it turns out to be the main acitivity. When I did my management diploma course in August 1991, we were taught self actualization according to which after the basic needs of food, shelter, cothing one aspired for social affiliation and security and self actualization which implied achieving one’s potential and getting recognition for the same. The way it turned out to be in real life at least for me was drastically different from what was taught to us. When I pointed this out to one of the professors who had taught me, he got back to me after one month and requested me to address the students in their newsletter which is represented in the blog by the article “ Guidance to Management students”

All hobbies cannot become professions is an obvious fact for the simple reason that all acitivites do not pay well. The best example which I have mentioned in one of my published articles is that of an American Entreupreneur, who, when asked how he had the guts to leave a six figure salary simply replied “such decisions can only be made if the personal profile, the business profile, and the market profile match”. Not to give importance to money would be equally foolish and unnaturally idealistic.
For most people, emotional fulfillment alongwith financial security can only be a long term objective.

Some people may be lucky to find their vocation at a young age- it may or may not be paying. If it is paying, that would be doubly lucky.

Some people may not be extreme misfits and therefore may not mind being in the wrong occupation if it pays well.

Some people may not give too much importance to job satisfaction and personal fulfillment.- Some housewives for instance who believe in giving equal or more emphasis to their family.

Some people may lead a double life and follow both profession and hobby as former Lintas Chairman, Mr Alyque Padamsee.

Some people may have to rot in the wrong profession throughout life in which case apart from Yoga, they should do Zen meditation and read my article on Making the best of a bad career situation-
Even if you are able to follow your paying passion at an early age, nobody can guarantee commercial success which is why one should also plan for an alternative career. The objective of this blog is mearly to create awareness of the significance of this problem and not to undermine formal education.


Real life stories of people who made their passions their professions.

October 21, 2006

Among all the American consultants that I have mentioned in my links, previous posts and articles. I have found both the life story and work of Craig Nathanson the most inspiring. Co-sufferers have defined the wrong occupation as “spiritual suicide” and “lifetime imprisonment”. Craig, more than anybody else has made the career transition process(studies show that it can take anything between three to five years)seem smoother if not easier.

Among the numerous comments to my previous posts that I have recd so far, I don’t recall reading a single optimistic comment regarding career transition’s feasibility is . Most people say that they agree with me but beyond a stage, compromise becomes inevitable.

I have always been of the view that career consultants are happiness counsellors since a majority of time is spent at work. I feel that Craig, more than anybody else lives upto that description. He has also been kind enough to share the inspiring stories of many of his clients. Before we proceed to that, let’s have his life story from the great man himself (extract from his webstie):-

“After 25 years in Corporate America being good at what I did, but never liking it, I walked away. I walked away from faceless products, faceless bosses and pointless meetings. Over the next 4 years, I pursued my life’s passion — helping others of my age find the will and the strength to pursue their own passions. This change has given me peace and joy because I am now living my life with authenticity and integrity, and I am now being true to who I really am. But this change did not come without a price.I had to give up my million dollar house and I ended up in bankruptcy. The best I could afford was a 400 square foot, one bedroom apartment. Living an authentic life also meant that I could no longer stay in my lifeless and abusive marriage. As you can imagine, this was a very difficult time and there were days I wasn’t sure that I would be able to feed my kids. I remember once trying to find a pawn shop to sell my wedding ring to buy food. But we grew closer as a family and we had many fun-filled pizza and popcorn nights at home on the floor (no furniture!). Although I didn’t plan for this extreme situation, I did want to teach my kids a lesson about life and authenticity and what it meant to have integrity. Will you go homeless or die?You probably won’t die but you may have to re-define what homeless means. Following your vocational passion is not easy. It may be the hardest thing you will ever do.

I had days with no money, no gas and little food for the kids to eat. Yet somehow, someway, I always managed to come through when it counted.Even as I went through this time of crisis, I wrote and published a book, started a private practice, and started teaching, speaking and creating CDs and other products all targeted at those over 40.

My father’s suicide not long after his retirement just served to strengthen my belief that we all should be doing what we love. If he had found and pursued his life’s passion, perhaps he would still be alive today.One of the things that got me through was my deep belief in my new life mission: that the world would be a better place if we all did what we love.

I second that wholeheartedly since a majority of waking time is spent at work.

The link of the inspiring real life stories that Craig has helped are:-

Real life examples from Craig Nathanson

Craig has also been kind enough to share his numerous stimulating writeups:-

Interesting articles from Craig Nathanson

I have suggested in my previous posts that if the United States has such a serious problem, India with its huge population and lack of resources is bound to be worse. Where are the Craig Nathanson’s of India? For that matter, where are the real life stories of India?
We have had enough of theory and from next post onwards, I am going to try and feature Indian examples. Contributions are welcome.

Students, watchout before choosing a job/ Career

October 18, 2005

It is said that choose a career not on the basis of what you know but who you are or rather follow your heart. Studies in USA show that the single biggest factor in business success is passion. It is a foregone conclusion that everyone has to work hard to come up in life. In reality you can work hard consistently all your life on something only if you have a genuine passion for it. The great inventor Thomas Edison had said ,” I never ever worked in my life. It was all fun” despite working 18 hours a day. An American writer had said that hobbies are more a measure of a man than profession is. Other writers have defined wrong occupation as “lifetime imprisonment” and “Spiritual suicide” However one understands the deeper significance of all this only when one suffers in practical life. There is even a site by the name

The second factor after passion is talent. It is true that by and far if we are interested in something, we are likely to have the requisite talent for it but this is not absolutely necessary. Just as one can know whether one is a cricketer only by actually playing cricket, one can know whether one is good or bad at any occupation only by trial and error. Qualifications can prove deceptive. You maybe qualified for something but your real talent may lie somewhere else. If you have the passion but not too much talent, then passion may enable you to surmount the problem.

Volunteer project work– In USA , people actively take up volunteer project work to figure out where their real talent lies. This is important enough to be mentioned separately. Whether or not you are a good organizer or administrator can only be gauged by actually doing those things and observing yourself vis-à-vis those people who are extremely good at those things. In school and college, organizing events is a frivolous activity that is taken into consideration once in a while. However in real life, professional organizers are completely different and just by stuffing one self with knowledge, one cannot become good at practical applications.

The kind of work environment you enjoy can also have a strong bearing to choosing your career. I personally know the son of a very high profile corporate executive taking “river rafting guidance” as a career because he loved being with nature. So one should give a strong weightage on what kind of environment one would like to be in.

The sort of people you like– I had an interesting chat with the son of a businessman who wanted to apprear for the Indian Administrative Service. When I apprised him of how politicians can be and would he like to work under them, he was not so sure. Therefore, one has to take all this also into consideration.

The kind of Technology involved– If you are a technocrat or those tech-heavy types, this would be an important consideration.

Some people choose their career on the social issues they feel strongly about.

Some people decide on their career depending upon their value systems- Love
Wealth , health, success, meaningful work, Intimacy, security etc. What weightage do you assign to each of these will decide what kind of career you should choose. They will naturally not have the same weightage throughout your life.

I am deliberately mentioning knowledge and qualifications last because unless you are among the lucky ones whose qualifications exactly synchronises with what they intend to do, qualifications can prove very deceptive. Einstein had said that Imagination is more important than knowledge. So just because you are stuffed with knowledge on a particular subject does not necessarily mean you can apply it with dexterity. Intelligence lies in application and what value addition you do to that knowledge- not in knowledge per se. summarises it best when they say that:-

(1) It must resonate with your deepest sense of meaning. (2) You must have the talent to be successful at it, perhaps in collaboration with others. (3) It must be needed in the world.

Poem- The wrong Career

October 10, 2005

Considering the number of hours spent at work, the wrong career can consideraby harm one’s life. That can only be avoided by the right kind of education. This poem propagates that to avoid a severe tragedy later on:-

The wrong Career
The two most important decisions are one’s career and one’s wife.
Considering the time spent on the former, a wrong choice can ruin one’s life.
In fact one’s career is something that one spends most of his time.
It would be an understatement to state whether in prose or rhyme.  

If there is one thing that in one’s progress as an individual can be a strong barrier,It is the wrong choice of career.

On the other hand the choice of the right occupation
Thomas Edison’s “I never worked in my life. It was all fun.” suggests a lifelong vacation.

Education being derived from latin terms; “ek” means ‘out’ and ducere means to draw If the basic purpose of education is unfulfilled, it should withdraw.  

There are many for whom the “Concentration or absorption in work is a kind of orgasm”
If really so, why in theory and practice in education, there is such a wide chasm.

Concentration is the secret of success in politics, War, trade, in all of human affairs
It is actually spontaneous concentration; a wrong job is full of nightmares.
“Idle mind; Devil’s workshop’ the result of education not being able to draw out.
Work banishes boredom, vice and poverty; for misfits there can be a dangerous fallout.

The consequences of not following the real education are far reaching.
A teacher should try to be an educator; he should not restrict himself to teaching.

A lot of teachers are obsessed with knowledge stuffing and blind instruction.
They should give personal attention to ensure that in “knowing thyself”, there is no obstruction.

Education has to go beyond the obvious, it has to go beyond merit.
Instead of stuffing facts, it should be detecting talent; looking at spirit.

Occupation should be such that in which one can spontaneously occupy
You are in the wrong field if it takes too much force to apply.

One’s career is something you simply cannot but adore, it should not be a bore
How can one spend a lifetime on the work which seems like a chore.

What is the purpose of running after infotech and biotech
Why not get the right occupation for everyone, why not pursue humotech.

It is for this reason that for not detecting talent the education system has no excuse.
For being in the wrong place forces people to live the life of a wretched recluse.

How can one not pity if in one’s work ones sees no beauty
Who wants to live lifelong doing some imposed duty.

It is a pity that despite the kind of clout that the education authorities wield
They are not able to fulfill the basic purpose; people still end up being in the wrong field.

Whether the pursuit is knowledge based or vocational,
The education system must try and ensure a perfect fit; such instances should not be occasional.

The well reputed education institutions boast of very good placements.
however once inside, both the employer and employee face a plethora of resentments.

Everybody has heard of “Square peg in a round hole”;

That is so dangerous that from a very young age finding the right career should be a goal.  

There can be nothing more appalling,
Then not being able to find one’s calling.

It is high time that the benefits of education are both financial and emotional.
Restricted to degrees and jobs, they are merely notional.

Considering the emotional and financial implications involved, there cannot be any concession
In not being able to pinpoint the right profession.

If there is one thing that for individuals and nations can prove to be a blessing,
It is that there is not a single misplaced human being.
I hope I have been able to prove that the inappropriate career is a major wrong

One should fit With one’s career in a way that it should seem like poetry and life a song.