The Students “Aspire”, should the rest perspire ?

February 24, 2006

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 http://spirituality.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1430394.cms