on 17 July, 2013

If Money Was No Object..

If money was no object then what career path would you have chosen? This was a question posed on a forum held on a very popular blogging platform. The answers that poured in were simply amusing and were a revelation.

Some answers were completely uninspiring and some were too fantastical to be true. We often conclude that if you are stuck in a field which you don’t completely enjoy it is because one has been forced into it by parental pressure. That’s not always true. Sometimes, kids don’t really know what will be good for them because

a) they are unaware of their own potential
b) they are misinformed about the various career options at hand
c) they don’t have the required financial aid

Let’s face it. We think hundred times before stepping into unchartered territory. If you make one mistake and slip then you have to be ready for the possibility that no one is going to pick you up. You’ll be on your own and then you have to put band-aid to your own bruises. We love to be molly coddled. We love to be served everything on a ready-made platter. But that’s not going to happen. Not even if you are Narayan Murthy’s son (He gets a salary of Re. 1 for his consulting business with Infosys. Imagine!).

So, if you hail from a Doctor’s family then in all likelihood you will end up being a doctor unless you want to be the black sheep of the family and pursue Arts instead. Then you’ll be assaulted with taunts about how Arts is for losers (That’s not true at all. My Delhi fellows can give you a fitting retort for that misconception!). We need guidance and before the problem was there was no source of information. Now, the problem is that there is so much information that we don’t know what to follow.

In moments of crisis, you turn to a person who knows you the most but that does not always imply that they know everything about the options available to you. Talk to your seniors instead. They give you the best advice since they’ll make you weary about the mistakes that they’ve made. Talk to strangers (I know Mommy said not to but hear me out) who are related to the field that you are interested in. Send out e-mails or meet for random coffee conversations. The mentoring is more personal and frank. Often, we go to education counsellors and they don’t give you the dirt. They’ll always be on the fence about the matters that concern you the most. So, talking to industry experts or people from the industry is going to help you paint the real picture (Of course, for Engineering related doubts and clarifications you can refer to Stupidsid blindfolded).

But exploring options and getting the right guidance is just one part of the big problem. It’s a problem of the privileged class, I believe. Very bright and talented kids from rural backgrounds cannot further pursue their education because of the lack of funds. Quality education is expensive and not everyone can afford it. These kids have to make a trade-off between investing more money in their education versus earning daily wages. The school drop-out rates increase significantly as they grow older and they prefer taking care of their families instead.

On a completely different note, we hired a temporary servant at my place to do basic dusting and cleaning for 15 days. He seemed pretty decent and belonged to a remote village in Andhra Pradesh. He even spoke English. I asked him why was he doing this kind of work when he could do something better. He said that despite doing his graduation in Commerce, the job offers he got there didn’t pay him as much as doing household work in 4 houses in Bombay did.

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it, if that degree even matters at the end of the day? What difference will studying at the best college make? Does studying Science stop you from entering the Finance world? Does learning to paint stop you from being a programming whiz?

I don’t know. I really don’t know.

What I do know is that if money was not an issue I would be studying all my life. Most probably, I'd enrol myself in Liberal Arts courses, study origami, learn glass blowing, learn tailoring, study communication design and study history of India and then the rest of the world. I'd teach and become a professor, I'd volunteer more often for women and children related issues or promote vegetarianism. I'd learn waltz and film-making. I'd write scripts for short films.

If money was no object then I'd learn languages and teach them too. Complete my French and Sanskrit education. If money was no object, I would've never dropped Arts in Senior High and pursued engineering instead. Codes don't make sense to me as much as fresh paints and colours do.

What would you do?

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