Making Career Choices – Specially for younger people

A while back I read this post on Deboshree‘s blog, where she discusses the various woes of MBA driven society. In our country these days everybody wants to or is being forced to pursue MBA as if it is the only thing which can get you a job. And job, don’t even let me start on that. The whole college education system has come down to one work ‘Placement’. It is so disturbing if you get into it in detail.

Career counselling

I firmly believe in pursuing career where your heart lies or at least having a life where you can inculcate and nourish your hobbies. I take up intermittent batches of college students and have live interactions with them fromtime to time but its so disheartening to see how clueless they are. It is not their fault completely, its more to do with our education system and the mindset of society. I will be sharing my view points and observations on this topic regularly as this is something very close to my heart and I always have a lot to say about this.

But for now I am sharing a letter I wrote to the Sister a year and half back when she was going through similar dilemma. Pursuing engineering while having a feeling that her heart lies else where.


(Originally dated 28.8.12)

Dear P,

The long chat session yesterday left me thinking about your situation and how it feels to be in there. Not long before I was there too, and my friends, and our cousins and thousands other students who are the product of Indian education system; directionless, lost, ambiguous, surrounded by uncertainties and confused to no bounds.

No one can give you the perfect advice on how you should go about making a career choice and which path you should take. I can only share my experience and my observations over the years.

First there is no shortcut to success, none at all. And success here does not mean materialistic success or the pay check at the end of the month, neither it means making your parents/family  proud temporarily with a great offer in hand, which is good enough to boast but not good enough to sustain long term.

Success here means a point where you are satisfied with the way you are leading your life, you are happy with the choices you made during your decision making phases, you are ready to move forward on the way you find yourself in irrespective of the consequences. I am not saying all your choices would be right or cent percent approved by others, in fact it would always be the opposite but what is important is you are not left with regrets.

It can be a life of working professional in so called happening cities, it can be learning phase in college of your choice for your post-graduation, it can be pursuing your hobby professionally, or it can be determination to make it big in the administration services no matter what.

Every single choice, even when it would seem to be the easiest one, it would take a lot of determination from your part. More choices, more confused you would be, but the beauty of this is, these are learning phases. This is a very important term….Learning Phases. No matter what you do or how so ever confused you are, you would end up learning life lessons which would make you a better, a stronger person. And at the end do remember these are mere phases, which shall pass in couple of years and everything would settle down for good. All is well as Rancho would put it.

I will never ask you to make the decision what I or our parents want you to be, or what you think others expect out of you, no doubt we want to see you successful but not at the cost of your happiness. My first job example is the best case and the way mummy papa supported me post that should never be forgotten.

(as a background I left my high paying first ever campus job because I did not like the work and the company atmosphere and realized money is not a factor for me unless I get work of my liking and good people around)

Now coming down to them, for them we should be independent, in a position to take care of ourselves when required, we should be able to stand on our feet if need be. I don’t think they are against the idea of you pursuing your photography commercially, if that would have been the case they would have never supported you the way they do. If for Papa you engineering was everything he would have left you with no choice but to make it good in college and get good offers at the end. In fact they want us to choose, i know at times it feels it would have been a lot easier if we were just asked to do certain things but its not like that. The liberty to make our choices is always better and you would be thankful to them in few years.

Few things that should be kept in mind while weighing options:

  • First sincerely give a thought on how you would like to see yourself few years down the line, write it down. Eg. Working professional, a part of government, a professional photographer, a married woman, or the permutations and combinations of all.
  • Think about what kind of life you are looking for. Eg. A socially very active life, a life of an artist with ‘me time’ being very imp; the life of slogging long hours in a posh corporate office with balancing personal and professional space, a life where you are in power, in command etc.
  • Analyse your current situation and what makes you most happy, what interests you and in which activity you lose the count of hours.
  • Are you someone who can stay devoid of people, of family, friends and devote few unadulterated years for preparations without getting yourself affected by the end result?
  • How many years you have to become stable in your career before other things becomes more important in life.
  • What is your current family situation and how it affects you? Are you required to earn? Are you left with no time to pursue what ever you want to?
  • If you think of pursuing your hobby what are the side effects of it, is it even commercially viable. Read, talk, take guidance. Have open hearted discussions with family.
  • Don’t let anything get bottled up in you.

If at any point of time you regret not making it to one of the top engineering college, DO not. If you would have been there, you were never in this situation where you can opt to do what you wanted to. You would have been in auto mode not even realizing how your 4 years flew by, only good thing you get there is talk to like minded people and be a better you, which you are doing here also. Very few of us knows our paths from the beginning and as far as i know you ain’t one of them, so girl no regrets what so ever.

No doubt those institutes look good on the CV, bring better job offers and even better pay checks but for an average student happy story ends there. He has to slog for more hours to prove his ivy league education, he is always in more pressure to justify his great college education, his learning time is shortened as he must know that because of his college.  For them there is no room to make mistakes, no time to explore. I have seen the other side too and believe me girl once you are out there working, it just doesn’t matter.

In fact you are lucky,

You are a lucky girl who have choices to make, you should talk to people who were forced to take certain paths and see how they feel.

You are lucky to have people to talk to, parents who listen….i know despite the big emotional dialogues and the jhallau nature but they are the best parents with the biggest heart.

You have two options….you can be sad and irritable and torture yourself to make the best decision. Or you can be the happy – witty Girl we all love to see, who silently keep analyzing and gives herself sometime to think and take the best possible decision.

After such a long letter all I have to say is P give your cent percent to whatever is in front of you. NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE and IT IS NEVER TOO LATE. Do a bit of photography to be happy, give you cent percent to your engineering, don’t even refrain yourself from learning from news papers, may be IAS thing came up just to fill this gap of learning? or may be you find altogether new way to make it BIG. And making it BIG is not everything being HAPPY is.

And its all going to be just fine, just go with the flow and give your best to whatever comes in front of you.



Loads and loads of wishes,



Current Situation

She is doing okay in her engineering and directing her energies and time towards photography; which is where she has realized her dreams lie. She will be taking up that as a career after being done with her college. The best part is all of us are okay with it as long as she is happy and understands how her life will be going forward. We are actually very lucky to have supportive parents. She is back to her normal – chirpy – witty self with a direction and drive in life.

In my later posts I will be sharing how I have seen lives getting spoiled in the ‘bhedchal’ of our education system.

(Image Source:



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9 thoughts on “Making Career Choices – Specially for younger people

  1. Deboshree November 28, 2013 at 11:07 am Reply

    “The bhedchal of our education system…” I think that defines things the best.
    A very relevant post for today’s times of confusion, pressure and poorly taken decisions. I hope there are some out there who read this and emerge from all the brouhaha. 🙂

    • onehonestwriter December 2, 2013 at 10:24 am Reply

      I hope so too 🙂 And yes our education system is nothing but bhedchal !!!

  2. paatiamma November 30, 2013 at 2:59 pm Reply

    I fully heart this post OHW.. Many a times our education system instead of guiding us to tap our dormant potential makes us instead into money making machines. To make intelligent decisions based on the points that you have mentioned to your sister is very necessary as a person’s career is going to affect a lot of dimensions of his/her life.

    • onehonestwriter December 2, 2013 at 10:25 am Reply

      I know… .its all about how much a job pays rather than do you really want to do that job.

      • paatiamma December 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm

        🙂 I have passed you a tag OHW. Please do take it if you find time.

      • onehonestwriter December 4, 2013 at 5:43 pm

        Thanks a ton Paatiamma, it’s just that I am a bit lazy when it comes to tags, bear with me.

  3. cavegirlmba December 1, 2013 at 2:13 pm Reply

    Very good post. It would be great to have such an analytic and clear approach to one’s career and life.

  4. simple girl February 13, 2014 at 4:14 pm Reply

    a very poignant post. an inspiring one too …

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