Me and Career Advice

Now and then I have written in my blog about the reason I often stress myself over. I have very little problems in my life hence I get immensely tensed over other people’s problem.

After getting into IIT, I receive calls from several parents who want me to guide their kids about their career and academics. I feel bad for them. I feel like telling them that getting into IIT is nothing great but just a matter of luck. Also it hardly has any implications on the career as such. It also hurts that if I had not made it here no one would have given me any importance.

Most of the these kids are in 11th or 12th science. They ask me should they go for engineering or medicine? Which stream of engineering? I myself get confused.  When I was student, I was not much confused about my career. That is more because I was unaware of the realities of world. Now I know the realities of world but I chose to ignore them. When it came to making choices about my education and career  I not really bothered to ask anyone but listened only to my heart.

Many relatives and so called well wishers use to call me up asking to all sort of things. Join mechanical engineering, join hotel management, one aunt of mine who i am sure can’t pronounce the word Electronics and Telecommunications asked me to join it. She was not sure whether it is engineering or something else.

Given that the younger generation which is really very smart and exposed to several information channels than what we had at our time, they can seriously get confused. But then confusion is not really a bad thing, it motivates an individual to search for clarity and that process enriches the experience.

One of my elderly friend called me up recently. Though on phone I could clearly feel the tension he was going through. His son was doing his diploma and finding C programming difficult. He was more tensed because I had told him that C programming is a key skill for an engineer in his early job hunt. Just like any other father he was worried about the career of his son.

The previous generation

A few decades back, the Indian middle class only looked after stability. Government job meant a good career even if the job of was an ordinary clerk. The focus was not on learning any skills that help getting employed but the focus was clearly on getting certificates that will help getting a job. Our parents generation survived on that strategy.

Ideally if you observe carefully the social status of individuals today, one will conclude that those who struggled in 50s,60s and 70s to get engineering/medicine or higher degrees today form the rich or at least upper middle class. Those who did not do are left behind.

Very few people then must have anticipated that the world will change so drastically. Even today, we can’t say how the world will be 10 years ahead but we can say with all certainty that it is going to change. That the change is inevitable.

My generation

While our parents lived in the era of ignorance my generation is grown up on over-hyped dreams. We grew up listening to stories that India is IT superpower, it is the next superpower, it is progressing, it will be something like united states and so on.

Our parents realized that a good education is all that required to secure a better future. But most of them made a mistake that they had made in their younger times. They mistook education for degree certificate. While they insisted that their son/daughter must get a degree, their focus was never on quality but purely on the certificate.

The result is anybody’s guess. Recently L&T infotech’s HR VP delivered a lecture to us where he said only 5% of the graduates are worth employing. The next 15% can be employed only if the company spends its resources to further train them. Remaining 80% are simply useless people.

The Result

We were told every now and then that getting into engineering (or medicine) will redeem us. We believed it. We slogged. We left no stone unturned and no sacrifice unhonored to get where we are today. It is worth asking ourself the question if it was worth it.

Standing at this juncture I dont think it is worth it. The excessive competition did not refine us but probably killed our potential.

Getting an engineering degree makes hardly any difference to our social status. The template is fixed. You get into some big company which does some bullshit work. As long as you are young you are driven by the challenges in it, with age wither away th ability to ride on the tech buzzwords and learning them quick.

Everything you posses is on EMI. If you don’t won a flat your landlord screws you up. If you buy a flat the builder and the bank. You end up buying a 30-40 lakh rupee flat in Mumbai, Pune or similar cities where you future itself is not safe. Once you get into that agreement then you have no option but to hang around in the current job.

Working in shifts, on weekends, beyond office hours, feeling exploited. The enjoyment is reduced to a movie at nearby multiplex and may be a booze with friends some day. Attend family functions and so on.

Then you get married and then the life goes on.  Basically what you get is just an ordinary life out of tremendous struggle.

My guide often tells me that we Indians are scared of taking risk. We run after stability. Nothing wrong with the stability if it has to offer a good quality of life. With passage of time our struggles are getting extra-ordinary but returns are just peanuts.

I wonder what should I advice the young lads who asks for one? See if you can get a US visa?

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