I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.
~ Jon Krakauer
The moment I’m writing this, I’ve been unemployed for more than a month. In this past month, though, I’ve learned a lot about life in general and put immense thought-process on careers, in particular. In my readings, I was deeply influenced by this particular quote by my hero, Christopher Johnson McCandless
Careers are demeaning “twentieth-century inventions”, more of a liability than an asset!
I find such quotes soothing, telling me that I did a good thing leaving the well-defined, prosperous career in an booming IT industry. No doubt, I can’t bring myself to comprehend the fact that I, a first-class career student didn’t find a pinch of meaning in such a vibrant environment. But, the hordes of opportunities that the fateful decision have stored in front of me is too gratifying to put me back in doubt and uncertainty. I consider myself a forward looking guy. I live in the present, always remember the past and only think about the future.
In the past, when I was an employee of a multi-national IT organisation, I had few career options. Among them, MBA was the most promiscuous option. The fact is I was never a money-minded person. I love spending it but I’ve never had any value for it. Conservative Indians say it’s Laxmi (the goddess of wealth and prosperity) and like all holy materials, it demand respect and obedience. I think I have little problem with that belief system and I chose to ignore the holiness behind this man-created ill. Since business is directly proportional to the money (you have or you want), I want no part in that too. Hence, Master of Business Administration was out of question as my higher vocation.
Another very interesting prospect was MS. Now, it’s the most sought-after higher education degree for graduates seeking multi-disciplinary career alternative. I even went far researching on this one and found a good course more to my liking — STS (Science, Technology & Society). I even got an idea about good institutes offering this particular course and their fees. That’s where I stopped. The 2 year course fee suggested an amount near 10 Lakhs (1 million) rupees. Add to that, accommodation, food, travel and shopping charges and that ends up close to 20-25 Lakhs rupees. I knew my father can’t bear such expenses on his own. I’ld have to take loan from banks and to repay that, I’ll have to get a job, preferably in corporate world. Result – back to where I started. The only difference being a master’s degree, a hefty payslip and lakhs of loans to repay.
Before absconding my job on 10th of April, I, for months was frustrated by this life. I was bogged down by the mediocrity of corporate job and dreamed of movements I became part of. Unfortunately, the dreams didn’t come true for weeks…Then, the fatal date of 10th of April arrived and I, consciously and taking full responsibility of my decision, gave it up. I couldn’t take it anymore, if that’s a better analogy. That’s what I remember about past. And I’ll always commend by it.
As I previously mentioned, I’m a forward looking guy. With my determination to leave the engineering occupation, I was now free to choose any among a list of exciting expectations. So, I’ve a pending application at the most prestigious film institute in India. If however, under some unavoidable circumstance, I fail to get into it, I can go working for NGOs. I’ll deeply benefit from such work. I’ve experienced it during my college days (working for a social service club named Aasra) and I enjoy such selfless vocation. Then, there’s this good opportunity of higher education in Arts or Philosophy in DU or JNU or BHU. I can go on to become a teacher or pursue once-upon-a-time-my-dream of becoming an IAS officer. All these career alternatives which I dearly adore suddenly changed it’s seat from back to front, near the driver seat. 🙂 See, the point is I am confident that I can do good work in whatever domain I choose, the only problem is identifying a discipline. I’m young at 23 years and I’ve my whole life in front of me. I feel good to leave the engineering background behind at such an early age rather than realizing it after say, 10/15 years of job life, and then go on blaming myself forever. It was a choice of my intellect and I stand by it with pride.