When I have the time (in between housework and a screaming toddler), I love to read my followers’ blogs. Sometimes, I am lucky enough to stumble upon great articles that are related to careers – the theme of MiddleMe. Like the one I am about to introduce to you here.

If you love the below article, you need to pop over to Thechaoticmind for more heartfelt posts penned by a beautiful and talented writer. 



Glossary:

Dilemma : a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two or more alternatives, especially ones that are equally undesirable.

Feasibility: the state or degree of being easily or conveniently done.

Practicality: the aspects of a situation that involve the actual doing or experience of something rather than theories or ideas.

Choice: an act of choosing between two or more possibilities

Back when I was in school, like most Asian parents my parents would stress upon our education as being the most important aspect in our lives. They told us how a good education would ensure that we’d be successful, happy adults with a steady income and enough to spare to lead a content luxurious life. I to this day do not disagree to it. Of course formal education up to a certain level is a must to function in present day India.

I had been a Straight-A student all my life thanks to my parents’ persistence, love and sacrifice (I take no credit for this, if left alone, I’d have probably failed most subjects). We’d not attend any family gatherings leading up to the exam days, we’d not be allowed to watch television for long, no sleeping late, or spending hours finishing dinner, rising early to finish up chapters. Mum would always make sure I had healthy snacks lying around to munch on during the grueling study sessions. Dad would watch TV on mute. Most of our relatives avoided barging in during exams lest they disturb our flow. They sympathized as they had children of the same age and we’d do the same for them. It was  a norm all across my neighborhood, probably most of India in 90’s and 2000’s.

You’d think I had an unhappy home. But no, I loved being with my family all year round. They were fun absolutely amazing people who’d love me unconditionally. We have always been a tight bunch. They’d made me realize that just a month or two of hard-work and abstinence during exams and I would have a report card to flaunt, a degree to be proud of, a respectable highly paid career.

And so I am here, working for an IT firm that ranks among the top five IT companies in India. For my age, I am told I am highly paid. I have an extremely good job portfolio. I enjoy enough holidays, have a healthy work environment, have managed to make great friends around here. I even love my job a little. Thanks to my work I have traveled in and around India and abroad for a few times and I have smaller cousins who look up to me and want to be me in future.

But am I doing what I chose to do?

I did not choose to pursue science for higher education, I did not choose to take up Software as my profession.

Was I pressured into it by someone? No!

Then why would I, a person so deeply in love with arts, books, history, culture, human psychology, astronomy, makeup and hair styling etc choose to be a Java coder?

DilemmaI was never in one. Never given a chance to be in one. My crossroad led to only one single destiny. You see, I was never presented with two situations that were equally lucrative. I was convinced if I pursued a degree in fine arts, even from the best college in India, I’d still have to struggle to get to where I am now with my current job. Probably I would still be unpaid, trying to figure a steady source of income, becoming a ridicule in the society(because close mindedness), becoming a good example of what not to do in life! Example: A friend who chose to be a photographer, is still struggling with finances. Mind you he is amazing at it and tells me he envies the stability and money my job brings to me. He does odd jobs to feed himself and afford a humble shelter.

Another friend who opted out of a corporate job to pursue a dance career two years back regularly calls me up for financial help. And not once has she told me she regrets quitting her job, but she has never told me she’s any happier for it either! What are we doing to our talented people? and why are we doing this to them? Not providing them with enough opportunities, constantly looking down upon them for taking reckless decisions? reckless? really? You chasing your dreams can me more reckless than you speeding to office everyday, at a job you never wanted, with a degree you never fully signed up for!

Was my choice absolutely not feasible? In a third world country where people struggle to get a good job even with the finest degrees in their hands. The best lawyers unemployed, engineers and Chartered Accountants still looking for better payed jobs, would a degree in fine arts get me anywhere?

Was I being Practical? My parents, relatives, grandparents, distant cousins, neighbors and gardener all thought I was too naive to think I could earn a living with dreams as small as mine.

Back in school again, I had taken up arts as my sixth subject. I forego economics, computer science and accountancy. I remember distinctly how my teachers and school principal had taken me to the staff room to talk me into taking one of the “more important” subjects. That arts was meant for students who could not cope with the difficulties of these subjects. I also remember taking back a note from them, asking my parents to intervene in this vain decision I was about to take.

Thankfully I stood my ground and my parents supported me. There were many other “good students” who lost the battle.

I wish I had the courage to stand up later in life. I wish my parents had supported me then. I wish I could logically tell them how my choice of stream could help me stand a chance at a flourishing career.  I can’t fully blame them. I could give them no arguments. India had failed to generate jobs in most sectors and the sectors it had managed to, were flooded, but your safest bet. Parents wanted stability in their children’s life. Your dreams were irrelevant. There were only a few like Shahrukh Khan, only few like Tendulkar and only one single M.F Hussain.

My choice was dictated by the needs of the modern society.  It was dictated by simple demand and supply. It was dictated by the need to fit in, the need for approval from my peers. It was dictated by the need to feed my stomach.

But my soul? It’s still hungry for more. My creative side dying a slow death and my attempts at redeeming it seem feeble.

So why can’t I now change my job? Take up my passion, peruse a life I always wanted? My beloved country is fast changing, we have amazing people in all sectors flourishing now. Outlooks have changed. It gives me hope that now parents push their child to try their hands at several interests before they can make up their minds. We now have able millennials who have already started to shape their careers, flaunting their respective talents as successful You -tubers and Instagrammers. They know in present day India, they can be pastry chefs, fashion designers, makeup artists, dancers and writers. They know they’ll have to struggle but have the heart to accept and give it a go.

Let’s do it now. I have enough in the bank and I can finally think I can shut my ears to any criticism.

I feel happy and ready.

*Googles* Change career at 27. Difficult! very Difficult.

P.S. if you’ve read this and have any experience you can share. Any advice, any regrets please feel free to let me know. I hope my post was not too depressing. I also feel my Country is still an infant with only 70 years of existence and has a long way before it can sort all our problems. Also, I love my life and everyone around but I still think I am not meant for a nine-to-five. I am still contemplating and still not sure. I could use all your wisdom. Thanks for reading.


About The Author
The warmest hello to you all. I thank you immensely for taking time out and visiting. I am an Indian, working for an IT firm by the day (so much for the stereotype!). I have varied interests and writing is my refuge. After a long day at work nothing excites me more than sitting down and reflecting on things important and unimportant, talking about things I love and detest and reading about all things under the sun.

I love that here I can make friends from all different places and from all different ages. I can share, discuss and get absolutely new perspectives on topics mundane or popular.  Basically, I spend a lot of time roaming the blogosphere, absorbing the wisdom and enjoying the random. I thoroughly love this little family I found

I hope you like my content too and any feedback will help me better!

Thank you.

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38 replies on “Guest Post: Careers, do we have a choice?

    1. This is a great post. What you experienced isn’t restricted to India, even in the UK I was pushed by my parents to follow certain paths and ignore my creative side. Now as I approach my late 30s, having a very successful career behind me I am eternally searching for creative outlets as I am not satisfied by my corporate life. If you have the chance to make a change and you know what your alternative looks like I say seize the chance…. you can always go back to your IT path if you need to as that’s not something you are going to forget how to do. very good luck to you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I’d say your advice is very good and true to your passion. I’ll seize the chance as well just to pursue something I love.

        Like

  1. I can relate to some of this. I have a career in electronics and like you was easily able to learn at school but we had very few options in the arts field and very few people studied arts or language. I am good at my job (my CV is on my blog if you are bored enough to read it) but it is not my passion. I love writing and acting and am going to publish a poetry book soon with any luck. I just wish I could make a living out of it. Take care and have a great day/night

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow, Roger. You do have an extreme ends to both your career and your passion. We wish you all the best in your poetry book and do let us know here once it is published.

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        1. Good for you to try out new things. I often challenge myself to learn new things too. I can’t see myself twiddling my thumbs for too long. Haha.

          Like

  2. My 9 to 5 job ended in 2015, I have no regrets. We are not all the same though, I asked a friend if she will ever consider resigning in future and she said no. Discover what you truly want to do and go after it, passion is what you need to succeed

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Different people have different passion and of course, at different period of our lives, we have different needs. I always say choose something that you’ll never regret choosing and that’s how I live mine.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi. I know the feeling. I had 3 degrees – 2 college and 1 masters by now but I always get back to writing! And sometimes, I’m torn between my 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job and freelancing at writing full-time. Ever since in my college days, I wanted to take up Journalism but I was told not to pursue it so I didn’t. But I do love writing big time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you like writing big time, maybe it is an inner calling to you to take up journalism. I wonder why you are told not to when it is clearly something you love despite your 3 degrees.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing… I am sure that one day you will realize your dreams, perhaps at the moment you are helping others with their dreams by doing what you do… 🙂

    “Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow them.” Louisa May Alcott

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy June to you and thank you for your stopping by and liking my posts, dear friend. Life is busy even once children are out of the nest, helping with grandchildren! Lol 😊 🌈 Robin 🐦

    Liked by 1 person

      1. They really are, Kally! I think having your independent career and young daughter, Aubrey, must sometimes be stressful. The Joy is evident in your words and posts which include how you have managed to do this! 😊
        I’m glad you have found the way to balance these, as well as you have your husband to help out, too. (I’m sure he loves his father-daughter times! 💕) Take care! 💐

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I am also from India. My parents were quite cool. I could study whatever I wanted. Could choose a career. Full support! But when the chance came to finally implement things in my life, my parents made a choice for me marriage. No I did not have a choice there career is for the needy people we are well to do. We don’t need no career

    Liked by 1 person

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