Posted in Personal Stories

In Retrospection

I never thought it would be so difficult to pen down my own life’s story. Well, how tough can it be to write just about yourself? After all, aren’t we always thinking about this – what we wanted to become, what we are now, and where we want to be! These questions constantly rule our lives, and tracing the trajectory of my career path to write down this blog, I couldn’t help feeling bewildered to discover the unknown pivots and cogs that have unknowingly shaped my life’s destiny!.

When I wrote my first poem in class 5, I wanted to become a writer. Fascinated by the marvels of the universe unfolding in a science class, I dreamt of becoming a scientist. Touched by poverty and destitution during a visit to the slums, I vowed to become a social worker. Admiring the snaps taken with my first camera, I thought I would make an extraordinary photographer.. With every mood and situation, my perspective kept changing, and by the time I really had to choose my career, I ended up being thoroughly confused.

Most career choices are made by what our parents want us to be. And, as conventions and societal expectations go, my parents wished that I should take up either of the most prestigious and secure jobs that planet Earth can offer – they wanted me to be a Doctor or an Engineer! A dutiful daughter and righteous student, I became a First class Honors graduated Electrical Engineer.

My first job offer from Wipro technologies seemed to be the photo finish to an adventurous journey called Engineering. These four years, we slogged day and night, endured the most bromidic classes, and scraped through the most tedious exams, blissfully unaware that we would never use what we had learnt there anywhere else again!.. Perhaps the three most important things that I carried forward from my Engineering days were – an ability to learn abstruse stuff, the brand name “NIT, Rourkela”, and a relationship that resulted in marriage.

“Jobs are not meant to satisfy us.” … I discovered that too soon after I joined Wipro Technologies. The Wipro Project Readiness Program for freshers began with excruciating trainings and formidable exams. However, when deployments to project locations happened two months later, the training seemed grossly “over adequate” – it was like crushing a groundnut with a hammer! My stint at Wipro was a fertile learning ground, exposing many vistas and avenues for exploration. I learnt that perfection and attention to detail are major determinants for success, and being at the right place at the right time helps. Hard work, dedication and intelligence is not enough, you also need social skills to sell yourself. Another truism that I acquired was – “Learning is as important as living”. Life is worth living as long as you keep acquiring knowledge. I decided that sometime in my life, I needed to do an MBA.

We live in a generation where we fiercely chase our own dreams. There is an underlying restlessness as we relentlessly pursue our lives, aims, ambitions, hopes and desires. We are always wanting things, and either struggle to get them, or move on to newer desires after we achieve the older ones. We are constantly dissatisfied with what we have, and forever hungry to do more. Perhaps, it was an influence of this generation that made me change my aspect about life. Till then, I was a silent observer, going with the flow of what others expected out of me, and what was the societal norm. I had a secure job and a settled lifestyle, yet I felt that there was something missing. My job as a “Design and development software engineer” paid me well, but it lacked the challenge and constant learning that I craved for. Out from this secure and protected existence, I realized I needed to take the driver’s seat and steer my career in a new direction.

When I look back and analyze my career decisions, I have moved in unrelated career paths. Yet, I am satisfied because I have been able to explore and seek whatever I wanted. If you are just beginning your career, and dont have much to lose in your explorations, then there is nothing wrong in experimentation. You may not be able to realize what works, but at least you can be sure about what will not work for you!

In fact, I believe that there is no thing as “one career” that can satisfy you forever. It is not like a marriage which is made in heaven, and a sacrosanct agreement which cannot be broken. I feel that a career is an extension of you, and should be something that you are passionate about, and would want to do at that point. And it can keep changing with time, because our dreams and desires keep constantly changing with who we are.

A job should not be an obligatory responsibility or a mere means for subsistence. It should be something that you look forward to doing, and make some meaningful contribution in your life. If you wake up every morning dreading the hours you need to spend in office, then it is time to change direction. We always seek for satisfaction, but perhaps, satisfaction is not the end, but the just the means to keep a meaningful existence. Quoting the words of George Bernard Shaw:

“As long as I have a want, I have a reason for living. Satisfaction is death.”