Thursday, October 20, 2005

Should any young person end up like this?

Consider this information

In 1923, nine of the world’s richest men met to discuss economy. They were among the richest men in the world. They were:-

Charles Schwab- President of the largest Steel company
Sameul Insull- President of the largest electric utility company
Howard Hopson- President, largest gas company
Arthur Cutten- Greatest wheat speculator
Richard whitney- President, New york stock exchange
Albert Fall- Secretary of Interior in President Harding’s Cabinet.
Jesse Livermore, the greatest “bear” on the Wall street
Ivan Krueger, head of the world’s greatest monopoly.
Leon Fraser, President of the Bank of international settlements.

After 25 years in 1948, the situation was as follows:-

Charles Schwab was bankrupt and lived the last few years on borrowed money.
Samuel Insull died abroad as a penniless fugitive.
Howard Hopson was insane.
Arthur Cutten became insolvent and died abroad
Richard Whitney had been imprisoned
Albert Fall was pardoned from prison and died broke and penniless.
Jesse Livermore had committed suicide.
Ivar Krueger killed himself
Leon Fraser committed suicide.

Being in the wrong occupation has been described differently by different people- job prisoners,spiritual suicide, lifetime imprisonment etc ( See links "Quotes" and " Job prison")

One wondeers how so many prominent men ended that way but one can at least try and manage what is in one's control- try to be in the right occupation because if the majority of waking hours spent at the work place lack joy and satisfaction, the expereince is as sordid as the deaths above. As Napolean said " It is more difficult to suffer than to die"

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Inspiring career stories of famous people for students

Some of us think that one is lucky if one is born in a business family so that after graduating one can straightaway take over the family business. That is not always the case as the following examples show:-:

One of the most interesting vocation stories are with respect to Henri Ford. Ford’s father was a farmer who wanted his son to follow him in his own footsteps. However young Hernri’s heart was with the motor engine and similar things with which he tinkered. After furious arguments with his father, he left to chart his own course to create history by becoming one of the world’s richest entrepreneurs. The lesson to learn here is that one has to see where one’s spontaneous inclination lies and then have the courage and conviction to back is up.

Much later in life, Henri Ford brought into ford a person who could concentrate on all other areas except for manufacturing which was Henri’s forte. Henri ford was regarded as a business genius in his time. This shows that even geniuses have to indulge in complimentary synergies- supplement their own strength and complement their weaknesses.
The other example is that of Akio Morita who became Sony’s Chairman. Though he did not have any arguments with his father, being the eldest in the family, he was expected to take over the family business of brewing sake, a Japensese drink. However, Morita’s interest lay in electronics which is where he went. He created one of the world’s biggest companies in partnership with another person.

In one of Dale Carnegie’s books there is the example of one person whose father has a laundry business. His father was ashamed of his son because he had no interest in work and was lazy and indifferent. However the son wanted to become a mechanic and used to do that work endlessly. He pursued his heart and went on to become chairman of Boeing.

Thomas Edison had no father’s business but he used to work 18 hours a day and yet say that he didn’t work in his life as it was all fun.

The best example in recent times is the richest man in the world, Mr Bill Gates who left his Harvard studies midway to follow his heart and that is what made him the richest man in the world. This would obviously not happen with everyone but what one has to learn is to know exactly what one wants to do. Sometime back, Bill Gates made Steve Ballamer CEO and designated himself chief software Architect to focus on his real love, software design. This is similar to what Henri ford did.

Another example is Michael Dell who had a passion for selling computers and competing with IBM which led to the formation of Dell corporation while he was only 19.

It would not be out of place to mention an Indian story. Alyque Padamsee, the former chairman of Lintas has written a book called “The double life”. In that he describes how he used to do advertisements for money which used to fund his real passion which was theatre. He had to sacrifice a lot of social life for this “double life” but this story clearly shows that one has to follow one’s heart more than one’s head for the choice of one’s career.

It can be concluded that passion alone determines what one should or should not be doing because it enables one to overcome all obstacles.

Students, watchout before choosing a job/ Career

It is said that choose a career not on the basis of what you know but who you are or rather follow your heart. Studies in USA show that the single biggest factor in business success is passion. It is a foregone conclusion that everyone has to work hard to come up in life. In reality you can work hard consistently all your life on something only if you have a genuine passion for it. The great inventor Thomas Edison had said ,” I never ever worked in my life. It was all fun” despite working 18 hours a day. An American writer had said that hobbies are more a measure of a man than profession is. Other writers have defined wrong occupation as "lifetime imprisonment" and "Spiritual suicide" However one understands the deeper significance of all this only when one suffers in practical life. There is even a site by the name

The second factor after passion is talent. It is true that by and far if we are interested in something, we are likely to have the requisite talent for it but this is not absolutely necessary. Just as one can know whether one is a cricketer only by actually playing cricket, one can know whether one is good or bad at any occupation only by trial and error. Qualifications can prove deceptive. You maybe qualified for something but your real talent may lie somewhere else. If you have the passion but not too much talent, then passion may enable you to surmount the problem.

Volunteer project work- In USA , people actively take up volunteer project work to figure out where their real talent lies. This is important enough to be mentioned separately. Whether or not you are a good organizer or administrator can only be gauged by actually doing those things and observing yourself vis-à-vis those people who are extremely good at those things. In school and college, organizing events is a frivolous activity that is taken into consideration once in a while. However in real life, professional organizers are completely different and just by stuffing one self with knowledge, one cannot become good at practical applications.

The kind of work environment you enjoy can also have a strong bearing to choosing your career. I personally know the son of a very high profile corporate executive taking “river rafting guidance” as a career because he loved being with nature. So one should give a strong weightage on what kind of environment one would like to be in.

The sort of people you like- I had an interesting chat with the son of a businessman who wanted to apprear for the Indian Administrative Service. When I apprised him of how politicians can be and would he like to work under them, he was not so sure. Therefore, one has to take all this also into consideration.

The kind of Technology involved- If you are a technocrat or those tech-heavy types, this would be an important consideration.

Some people choose their career on the social issues they feel strongly about.

Some people decide on their career depending upon their value systems- Love
Wealth , health, success, meaningful work, Intimacy, security etc. What weightage do you assign to each of these will decide what kind of career you should choose. They will naturally not have the same weightage throughout your life.

I am deliberately mentioning knowledge and qualifications last because unless you are among the lucky ones whose qualifications exactly synchronises with what they intend to do, qualifications can prove very deceptive. Einstein had said that Imagination is more important than knowledge. So just because you are stuffed with knowledge on a particular subject does not necessarily mean you can apply it with dexterity. Intelligence lies in application and what value addition you do to that knowledge- not in knowledge per se. summarises it best when they say that:-

(1) It must resonate with your deepest sense of meaning. (2) You must have the talent to be successful at it, perhaps in collaboration with others. (3) It must be needed in the world.

Job Prisoners

Do you feel stifled, trapped or stuck in your job? Do you feel that it would be really tedious to do the current job throughout your life? Do you constantly yearn that you could be doing something else? Is your experience similar to the one described in the link below:-

  • Job Prison

  • I have come across support groups for all kinds of medical ailments in the united states on various internet sites. It is surprising that this problem where a majority of working hours are spent in misery and has a direct bearing on happiness has no support groups.

    Supposing a relative or a friend has been wrongly imprisoned, wouldn’t you move heaven and earth to rescue him? Then why not job prisoners who are stuck up in occupations for no fault of theirs. Why should they spend a lifetime being trapped in the wrong job or occupation.
    If we can place a man on the moon and if faster means of transport and communication can be invented, why can’t this important issue be resolved faster? I have read in several books and sites that even in the United states with all its professional HRD managers and liberal work culture, it can take years to effect a career-transition. One really wonders what the situation in India is.

    Monday, October 17, 2005


    Who does not want to be suscessful? I think one of the groups with the strongest desire to be successful would be students as they are would soon be entering practical life and being forewarned is forearmed. This is an excerpt from an article by a Human resources development company:-

    "At least in India, no one is surprised at children aspiring to become engineers, doctors, CAs or MBAs. Almost 60 per cent think in terms of engineering or medicine and nearly 15 per cent fancy their skills as CAs but in reality, only 10 per cent become what they dream of becoming. Have you ever wondered why children do not want to be artists, dancers, singers, painters or carpenters and plumbers? The reason is not far to seek. These professions have neither 'class' nor prestige associated with them. When they actually start working, they realize that they don't have the mental make-up for a particular type of job in spite of being suitably qualified."

    When I was a student more than twenty years ago, I had read in one of Dale Carnegie’s books “Do not feel compelled to join your family business.” Since I was very young at that time and thought that there was maximum money in Business, I did not heed Carnegie’s advice and did the very thing he warned me about. My father had a minor partnership in a private limited company at that time and so I joined him. It took me quite some realize that I was not cut out for business. It like this

    Salim Khan joined the industry as an actor but became a writer

    Subhash Ghai and Rakesh Roshan joined the industry as actors but became directors.

    Ravi Shastri came in as a bowler but became a batsman

    Its only when you do the actual work that you come to know where your true identity lies There is a book on successful intelligence which states that just by proving very good at analysis in an MBA course is no guarantee that in real life you will get creative ideas of your own. Creative, analytical and practical intelligence are completely different. I have actually experienced this.

    In the examples give above, the persons concerned have got occupied within the same vocation in a different sub stream but sometimes one has to move outside the main vocation as well. Amitabh Bahchchan joined the film industry because he was not satisfied with a corporate career.

    As a student it is very difficult to understand all this but it can lead you into serious trouble which is why it is said that choose your career not on the basis of what you know but who you are. In an MBA you are analyzing other people’s work in case studies but that does not necessarily imply that you can do competently what they can do. Incidentally the literal meaning of the word Education is to draw out what is already in and not to blindly stuff in which implies that Education is supposed to draw out the potential already within you but in theoretical education, this is not possible which is why there are problems later in practical life.
    In USA people explore work environments, do volunteer project work, closely examine their value systems, scruitinise their hobbies before deciding on the work that they would like to do. Despite having so many life coaches and much better professional human resources managers, the United states has a serious problem. God alone knows what the situation in India is.

    Once you have family responsibilities it can mean life time imprisonment for some( Go through quotes) and see article “Job Prison’ can hold only those who don’t look for freedom”:-

    Job prison

    Work represents a major part of your waking hours and if you are miserable there, you have a miserable life. One writer described the wrong occupation as “Lifetime imprisonment”. Another writer called it Spiritual suicide. Moral of the story- You can simply not afford to be in the wrong job. Always be vigilant on this account.

    Dale Carnegie also said that every individual when he chooses a career is a gambler. As a student, I did not understand what he meant but I have tried to make him more understood to others. Be careful.

    Monday, October 10, 2005

    Article- Shaping your child's future- Do you want to be a potter or a Gardner?

    Mr Azim Premji is the world’s first or second richest Indian today. He has written a wonderful article in the Times of India on Education and goes on to say that the same policies followed in his company has produced immense wealth as a bi product. He says that the primary purpose of a school is to guide the child’s discovery of herself and her world and to identify and mature the child’s talents. Just as each seed contains the future tree, each child is born with infinite potential. In the article he suggests that many teachers and parents try to be potters instead of Gardners in moulding their children’s future.” Imagine a school in which sees children as seeds to be nurtured-here the teacher is a gardner who tries to bring out the potential already present in the child. This is very different from the current view which sees the child as clay to be moulded where the teachers and parents are potters deciding what shape the clay should take. There is an old Chinese saying ,” Give a seed to a potter and you shall have a bonsai." Current India President A.P.J Abdul Kalam who has headed organizations in defence, space and atomic energy in his autobiography writes “If you are a writer who would secretly prefer to be a lawyer or a doctor, your written words will feed but half the hunger of your readers; if you are a teacher who would rather be a businessman, your instructions will meet but half the need for knowledge of your students; if you are a scientist who hates science, your performance will satisfy but half the needs of your mission. The personal unhappiness and failure to achieve results that come from being a square peg in a round hole is not by any means new. “ In another part of the book Mr Kalam states, “ I myself would tell naviete engineering students that when they choose their specialization, the essential point to consider is whether the choice articulates their inner feelings and aspirations” It was in the year 1978 that I first read “Do not feel compelled to join the family business just because it is there. Every child is a gambler when he chooses his profession.and one must chart one’s own course” Being in school at that time, I thought that this was hogwash and everybody should have a readymade business which they can join. Actually, I was more gifted as a writer and a poet than a businessman but this took me 14 long, agonizing years to realize by which time it was almost too late. Enid Blyton and Charles Dickens have admitted that if they were given an article to write , they would find it as difficult as the normal person. So one can not really afford to be even in the wrong subvocation. How can one then afford to be wrong in the main vocation? . In the last two decades, I have read heaps of material on job misfits. I have read about a mediation that takes you back to your previous life to deicide what you shall be doing in this life. There are books like “ How to find the job that you like?” and “ What shall I do with my life” HRD consultants in 28 countries, Morgan and Banks have stated that “People do not know what they want to do and then choose a career they didn’t know even existed” . Recently best selling book “ The monk who sold his Ferrari” also lays stress on finding and doing the work of one’s inclination. One writer also said that the wrong occupation was lifelong imprisonment and misery. Some of the best quotations of career problems are

    Considering the fact that luminaries from the literary field like Emily Dickenson, Shakespere , Victor hugo and many others lived a lifetime of anonymity and became famous after death should also inspire sites like to be a little more proactive in talent detection. It is no doubt one of the best sites otherwise. Generally it would be better if the world would be more obsessed with "humotech" instead of running after "biotech" or "infotech". The person is more important than the process in this context.

    Quotes - Suitable career

    "Make your passion your profession"

    Thomas Carlyle,” The person who has found his vocation in life is a blessed human being. Let him ask for no other blessedness.”

    Ancient Indian spiritual scriptures called the "shastras" have actually used a special word "Swadharma" for one's life's vocation.

    India current President, APJ Abdul Kalaam, a man who has headed organizations in areas like Space, Atomic Energy, Defence.:-

    “If you are a writer who would secretly prefer to be a lawyer or a doctor, your written words will feed but half the hunger of your readers; if you are a teacher who would rather be a businessman, your instructions will meet but half the need for knowledge of your students; if you are a scientist who hates science, your performance will satisfy but half the needs of your mission. The personal unhappiness and failure to achieve results that come from being a square peg in a round hole is not by any means new. “ In another part of the book Mr Kalam states, “ I myself would tell naviete engineering students that when they choose their specialization, the essential point to consider is whether the choice articulates their inner feelings and aspirations”

    "People's hobbies are more their measure than their jobs." -- Robert Byrne, Byrne's Book of Great Pool Stories

    Superstar Amitabh Bachchan on being quizzed on the secret of his success once remarked,” I consider myself lucky that early in life I could decide that I wanted to become an actor. I have come across several people in my lifetime who do not know what to do with themselves.”

    In his autobiography, Tennis Ace Vijay Amritraj states,” I have been incredibly lucky because I have earned large amount of money doing what I like best. I enjoy the kind of business I do and I enjoy the kind of sport I play and I would always opt for the most enjoyable choice rather than the one offering the biggest financial gain. My one nightmare is having to work at something I would hate, just to earn enough to keep my family secure. I hope it never comes to that.”.

    It was Thomas Edison who inspite of working 18 hours a day once remarked,” I never did a day’s work in my life.”

    It was all fun.”.

    On being asked the secret of his energetic, “full of bounce” life even in old age, actor Dev Anand said .” No drug can turn you on as your own work. I am always on the high.”

    Abrahm Maslow. ”Peak experiences make a man healthy and only a healthy man can have peak experiences. Peak experiences are profound moments of love, understanding, happiness, or rapture, when a person feels more whole, alive, self-sufficient and yet a part of the world, more aware of truth, justice, harmony, goodness, and so on. Self-actualizing people have many such peak experiences. Not only are these his happiest and most thrilling moments, but they are also moments of greatest maturity, individuation, fulfilment - in a word, his healthiest moments. He becomes in these episodes more truly himself, more perfectly actualizing his potentialities, closer to the core of his Being, more fully human.A musician must make music, an artist must paint, and a poet must write." If these needs are not met, the person feels restlessness, on edge, tense, and lacking something. It is not always clear what a person wants when there is a need for self-actualization. After self actualisation comes transcendence which is to help others find self fulfilment and realize their potential. In the practical situation however , how can it ever be assessed to what degree and to what extent this has been achieved.”

    “Choose the job that you love and you will never have to work for a day in your life.”

    “Work is not part of life but life itself.”

    "Choose your career not on the basis of what you know but who you are"

    "The ideal career is one in which the personal profile, business profile and market profile combine"

    “ The real tragedy of life is not being limited to one talent but in failure to use the one talent.” –Edgar.W.Work

    “If one does not love work, one is truly unhappy in life. In order to be truly happy in life one must love work”- The Mother

    “ Work banishes those three great evils, boredom, vice and poverty.”- -Voltaire

    “When work is a pleasure,life is a joy, when work is duty, life is slavery.”- Maxim Gorky

    “ As a cure for worrying, work is better than whisky.” – Thomas. A. Edison

    “Education is helping the child realize his potentialities”- Erichch Fromm

    "Education is the kindling of a soul, not the filling of a vessel"

    “Education is the manifestation of perfection already present in a man”, said Swami Vivekanand

    “In work, we have the possibility of discovering ourselves”

    "Winners do not do different things. They do things differently. What is it that you can do differently?"

    "Nobody is to be pitied as much as the person who gets nothing out of his job but his pay"-Dale Carnegie

    "There are many people who select their occupations enticed by the wrong glamour of money or qualifications. Then they are trapped in the wrong jobs and may have to endure a lifetime of misery and suffering."- Anonymous

    "Those who can do. Those who can't teach. Those who can't teach train teachers. Those who can't train teachers write teacher training textbooks. "- George Bernard Shaw

    If you want to be happy for a day, go on a picnic.
    If you want to be happy for a week, go on a holiday.
    If you want to be happy for a month, get married.
    If you want to be happy for a year, inherit property.If you want to be happy for a lifetime, choose the job that you like.

    Poem- The wrong Career

    Considering the number of hours spent at work, the wrong career can consideraby harm one's life. That can only be avoided by the right kind of education. This poem propagates that to avoid a severe tragedy later on:-

    The wrong Career
    The two most important decisions are one's career and one's wife.
    Considering the time spent on the former, a wrong choice can ruin one's life.
    In fact one's career is something that one spends most of his time.
    It would be an understatement to state whether in prose or rhyme.

    If there is one thing that in one's progress as an individual can be a strong barrier,It is the wrong choice of career.

    On the other hand the choice of the right occupation
    Thomas Edison's "I never worked in my life. It was all fun." suggests a lifelong vacation.
    Education being derived from latin terms; "ek" means 'out' and ducere means to draw If the basic purpose of education is unfulfilled, it should withdraw.

    There are many for whom the "Concentration or absorption in work is a kind of orgasm"
    If really so, why in theory and practice in education, there is such a wide chasm.

    Concentration is the secret of success in politics, War, trade, in all of human affairs
    It is actually spontaneous concentration; a wrong job is full of nightmares.
    "Idle mind; Devil's workshop' the result of education not being able to draw out.
    Work banishes boredom, vice and poverty; for misfits there can be a dangerous fallout.

    The consequences of not following the real education are far reaching.
    A teacher should try to be an educator; he should not restrict himself to teaching.

    A lot of teachers are obsessed with knowledge stuffing and blind instruction.
    They should give personal attention to ensure that in "knowing thyself", there is no obstruction.

    Education has to go beyond the obvious, it has to go beyond merit.
    Instead of stuffing facts, it should be detecting talent; looking at spirit.

    Occupation should be such that in which one can spontaneously occupy
    You are in the wrong field if it takes too much force to apply.

    One's career is something you simply cannot but adore, it should not be a bore
    How can one spend a lifetime on the work which seems like a chore.

    What is the purpose of running after infotech and biotech
    Why not get the right occupation for everyone, why not pursue humotech.

    It is for this reason that for not detecting talent the education system has no excuse.
    For being in the wrong place forces people to live the life of a wretched recluse.

    How can one not pity if in one's work ones sees no beauty
    Who wants to live lifelong doing some imposed duty.

    It is a pity that despite the kind of clout that the education authorities wield
    They are not able to fulfill the basic purpose; people still end up being in the wrong field.

    Whether the pursuit is knowledge based or vocational,
    The education system must try and ensure a perfect fit; such instances should not be occasional.

    The well reputed education institutions boast of very good placements.
    however once inside, both the employer and employee face a plethora of resentments.

    Everybody has heard of "Square peg in a round hole";
    That is so dangerous that from a very young age finding the right career should be a goal.

    There can be nothing more appalling,
    Then not being able to find one's calling.

    It is high time that the benefits of education are both financial and emotional.
    Restricted to degrees and jobs, they are merely notional.

    Considering the emotional and financial implications involved, there cannot be any concession
    In not being able to pinpoint the right profession.

    If there is one thing that for individuals and nations can prove to be a blessing,
    It is that there is not a single misplaced human being.
    I hope I have been able to prove that the inappropriate career is a major wrong
    One should fit With one's career in a way that it should seem like poetry and life a song.

    Poem-Gardening v/s Potting in Education

    It is said that education is all about bringing out already existing potential instead of blindly stuffing facts.. Some parents and teachers try to be potters who mould the clay the way they like. Each child has infinite potential and is a future tree and therefore be treated the way a gardener treats a seed. Based on what the famous philospher Socrates said “Educations is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”, this poem advocates Gardening instead of Potting to groom your children. Though directed at teachers and educators, this is equally true for parents as well.

    To shape your child’s future, it is absolutely essential
    To know his already existing inner potential
    Some people spend a lifetime in pinpointing their talent
    In such matters, nobody can afford to be nonchalant

    It is only by early identification of your child’s unique gift
    That you can really make your child’s fortunes lift

    A teacher has to indulge more in talent extracting than knowledge stuffingChoosing potting instead of Gardening tantamounts to bluffing.

    Instead of potting which in molding clay can mislay
    Opt for gardening which in sprouting seed produces the right breed

    Gardening can really shape a child’s destiny
    Potting sooner or latter will cause a mutiny

    Being a gardener can prevent your child from lifelong imprisonmentBeing a potter can avoid true enlightenment

    If you choose to be a gardener, your will come out a winner
    As a potter, in your child you will stifle the creator

    When you opt to be a gardener, you are a true trainer
    When you opt to be a potter, you are a mistaken, misguided selector

    As a Gardner, you shall be the ideal career designerAs a potter, you shall be courting disaster

    A Gardner is not a stuffer but a finetuner.
    Instead of being a potter, be a mentor, an educator.
    Associated article- Shaping your child's future- Do you want to be a gardner or a potter?

    Article-Isn't this a mockery of Education

    Education is supposed to draw out the best but is it anywher near it?
    The word education is derived from the two latin terms “ek” and ‘ducere’. Ek means ‘out’ and ducere means to draw. Therefore, the word education means to draw out from within, not to stuff in. Unless one knows what is in, how can one draw out. It is a pity that even in the 21st century we have not been able to proactively probe and determine accurately what each person should be. It is still done by trial and error. Following are some of the career switches from Morgan and Bank’s book “ Make a dream career” and Po Bronson’s “ What should I do with my life “ FROM ACTOR TO RECRUITMENT SPECIALIST. FROM WOOL CLASSER TO RECRUITMENT SPECIALIST. FROM DOCTOR TO SPORTSWRITER FROM MIDDLE MANAGEMENT TO PSYCHOLOGIST FROM, FOREIGN CURRENCY TRADER TO TURF SUPPLIER FROM TEACHER TO SPORTS ADMINISTRATOR FROM SECRETARY TO BUSINESS OWNER FROM LAWYER TO EXECUTIVE RECRUITER FROM FINANCIAL INSTITUTION TO SALES AND MARKETING FROM LAWYER TO CELEBRITY MANAGER AND PROMOTER FROM JOURNALIST TO PUBLIC RELATIONS CONSULTANT FROM TYPESETTER TO SALES REPRESENTATIVE FROM MARINE BIOLOGY TO ADVERTISING FROM ACCOUNTANT TO FASHION DESIGNER FROM LAWYER TO ENTREPRENEURIAL BUSINESS OWNER INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAWYER TO MEDICINE POLICY PUBLIC RELATIONS- GARDENING MEDICINE TO SURGICAL ROBOTICS DRIFTER – CAREER COUNCELLOR MARKETING AND PROMOTION – GOLFER LAWYER-LAW TEACHER BANK MANAGER- SOCIAL WORKER ELECTRICIAN-PROFESSOR-BUSINESSMAN. BLUE COLLAR WORKER- POLITICS. GEOLOGIST- INSPECTOR INVESTMENT BANKER TO CATFISH FARMER. SALESMEN-WRITER. DIPLOMAT-TEACHER FILMS- CAR ENGINEER SECURITIES- INVESTMENT SPECIALIST BUSINESSMAN- SOCIAL WORKER LAWYER-MINISTER MARINE BIOLOGIST- DENTIST. REAL ESTATE BROKER- FACTORY OWNER INSTALLATION MANAGER- BUSINESS OWNER. BUSINESS/LAW- TEACHING BUSINESSMAN- POLITICIAN. CPA TO WEBSITE PROGRAMMER CORPORATE LAWYER- TRUCK DRIVER. POET- CHEF CHEMISTRY PROFESSOR-LAWYER POLITICS- BUSINESS HIGH PROFILE BUSINESS OWNER-POLICEMAN STOCK MARKET- DOCTOR As can be seen above, some of these career switches are extremely drastic. What a colossal waste of time, money and energy. If instead it could be predetermined in advance even with a reasonable accuracy what each person should be, consider the mind boggling implications. If people could be fitted into the jobs that they liked, the output in terms of productivity of the organization and happiness of the individual are mind boggling. However is it the sad destiny of some people to be stuck in the wrong jobs forever. Let me end with something I find very interesting To prevent all this, one suggestion could be to have a life coach right from if not early childhood then at least high school.

    Published Article-Don't settle for less than a calling

    This article, written by me, appeared in India's premier spiritual magazine "Life positive" in November'2001
    Most of us go through life engaged in jobs that give us no satisfaction. Many of us spend a lifetime imprisoned in work that we hate. Finding your calling early in life is crucial. But whose job is it to find it? Indian superstar Amitabh Bachchan, on being asked the secret of his success once remarked: "I consider myself lucky that I could decide early in life that I wanted to be an actor. I have come across many people who do not know what to do with themselves." It is important to identify your real interests correctly early in life. Indian tennis ace Vijay Amritraj says in his autobiography: "I have been incredibly lucky because I have earned money doing what I like best. My one nightmare is doing something I hate just to earn enough to keep my family secure. I hope it never comes to that." Thomas Edison, in spite of working 18 hours a day, once said: "I never did a day's work in my life. It was all fun." Amritraj and Edison are well on their way to self-actualization
    Psychologist Abraham Maslow describes self-actualization as a person's need to be and do that which the person was born to do, his calling. "A musician must make music, an artist must paint, and a poet must write," he said. Self-actualization is at the apex of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. If a person's self-actualization needs are not met, he feels restless, edgy, lacking something. But isn't it the job of education to discover talent, determine potential and help in identifying an occupation closer to a calling? EDUCATION AND OCCUPATION The word 'education' is derived from two Latin terms ek and ducere. Ek means 'out' and ducere means 'to draw'. Therefore, education means to draw out from within. This is contrary to the established practice of 'stuffing in' knowledge. Does imbibing more knowledge (read information) make us more intelligent? The present-day obsession with qualifications and knowledge leads many people to live miserable lives. As somebody pointed out sarcastically: "The world is full of educated derelicts." And what does occupation mean? Literally, it implies something that occupies you. Quite obviously, everybody cannot be occupied by everything. Psychiatrists employ 'occupational therapy' to treat people with certain physical or mental illnesses by giving them creative or productive work. But finding that creative or productive work to suit the person's temperament cannot be easy. Even yoga and meditation would not really help if followed by eight to ten hours of misery at the workplace. When it comes to occupation, "one man's meat is another man's poison". The importance of pinpointing the work cut out for each person can only be gauged when you see the agony of extreme job misfits or "square pegs in round holes". Only an Albert Einstein can have the wisdom to reject an offer to become President of Israel because he argued that he did not have enough experience of working with human beings. Only an Alyque Padamsee* can have the wherewithal to pursue two careers throughout his life to enable one to fund the other. Although theater was his real passion, it paid a pittance and he had to take up advertising as a full-time profession. * Padamsee is a popular theatre personality in India DETERMINING POTENTIAL At what stage should the aptitude of a person be determined and how? Should it be on the basis of activity or knowledge, or should it be left to the individual to make a choice? Should it be determined proactively after looking at market realities by a vocational psychologist? Or is it the responsibility of educational institutions to determine who has talent for what so that time and effort is not wasted? In his book Success at the Speed of Thought, Bill Gates points out that with the coming of computers and the internet, for the first time in the history of mankind it was possible to give customized education, that is, alter the teaching style to the mode that suits the child most. A Reader's Digest article titled 'Should you see a career doctor?' implied that leaving a career choice to the individual would be almost as absurd as leaving the choice of treatment to the patient. The article went on to say that the counselor sometimes gives advice that is drastically different from what the parents say because the counselor is able to make a more objective appraisal. Former Pakistani cricket star Imran Khan used to say that talented cricketers emerged not because of, but in spite of, the cricket system in his country. Our educational institutions are replete with examples where students make right career choices by default rather than by design. Not trying to explore an individual's potential before he enters professional life seems fatalistic. Albert Einstein said: "Imagination is more important than knowledge." So is it the teacher's job to impart knowledge or to detect imagination and potential and direct the student accordingly? In the age of the Internet, the role of a teacher is reduced to that of a librarian, unless he happens to be good at content development. Rather than being a sage on the stage, he has become a guide on the side. Perhaps then he should be involved in synchronizing the needs of the outside world with the potential of the students and shaping them accordingly. Only then can you avoid the spectacle of a Shekhar Kapoor wasting years in chartered accountancy while he was more suited for movie-making. Or an Amitabh Bachchan who came to know that he wants to be an actor at the age of 26 (he calls it early!) rather than in school or college. KNOWING VERSUS BEING Society gives more attention to the 'knower' as borne out by the following perceptions of a leading HRD consultant firm: "At least in India, no one is surprised at children aspiring to become engineers, doctors, CAs or MBAs. Almost 60 per cent think in terms of engineering or medicine and nearly 15 per cent fancy their skills as CAs but in reality, only 10 per cent become what they dream of becoming. Have you ever wondered why children do not want to be artists, dancers, singers, painters or carpenters and plumbers? The reason is not far to seek. These professions have neither 'class' nor prestige associated with them. When they actually start working, they realize that they don't have the mental make-up for a particular type of job in spite of being suitably qualified." A person must be first respected for what he is if he has to be encouraged to reach his full potential. If society has false notions about different vocations, how can it view people with the right perspective? Philosopher J. Krishnamurti* said that society measures the child in accordance with what it wants him to do for society. "If you dictate the work he should do and mold him for that then you are using and exploiting him. But if you respect him for what he is and help him find his right vocation, you are his friend." *Krishnamurthy is India's best intellectual in recent times Osho* said: "Somebody who could have been a painter is a doctor. Somebody who could have been a good doctor is a businessman. Everybody is displaced. Everybody is doing something he never wanted to do. Hence unhappiness. Happiness happens when you fit with your life. When you fit so harmoniously that whatever you are doing is your joy." In other words, one should choose the work according to what one is and not what one knows. *Osho is a reknowned mystic THE RIGHT SUB-VOCATION That one cannot always afford to be in the right sub-vocation either can be illustrated by several examples. Among writers, Charles Dickens found no success as a playwright despite great effort. Author of innumerable children's books, Enid Blyton admitted that if she had to write an article she would find it difficult. It is common sense that a potential writer would not succeed at all kinds of writing. It is just like tennis players, some are excellent grass court players but lousy on clay courts. Pete Sampras holds the record for the maximum number of grand slam victories (13) but failed repeatedly at the French Open. Indian cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly do not open in Test matches despite being recognized as a world class opening pair in one-day international cricket. If you see well-established professionals who cannot perform well in the wrong sub-vocation, the problems faced by a layman in choosing his correct vocation become easier to understand. Management writers Tom Peters and Peter Drucker have indicated that corporate life is like a relay race and the founder of a company is not always the best person to carry it forward. Daniel Goleman goes further to state that even a person who turns around a sick company is not the best person to carry it forward after it recovers because a new situation calls for a change in leadership. Instead of the popular MBA, we may be better off with a degree called Master of Business Operations (MBO). This will also help determine who has potential for what kind of business since the needs of each industry are different. APTITUDE VERSUS ATTITUDE There are many books written on how most situations can be overcome by cultivating the right attitude. Motivational teachers harp too much on attitude, which is quite out of proportion to the importance it deserves. It seems to suit people to be told that capability is not the prime determinant and most things, if not everything, can be achieved by simply thinking positively. The importance of aptitude is best summed up by the remark: "Attitude and aptitude both determine altitude." Or as Edward de Bono puts it: "Intelligence may be an in-born thing, effectiveness is not." Both Henry Ford and Akio Morita (founder of Sony Electronics) left well-established family businesses to chart their own course and became world famous. It is doubtful that they would have achieved the same level of success in any other profession by just having the right attitude. When aptitude is right, positive attitude comes spontaneously. In determining one's vocation or career, one should focus on innate potential and common sense rather than on accumulating knowledge. It is a thousand times better to have common sense without education than to have education without common sense. In this era of the Internet and information technology, it would be fitting if the right knowledge came to the right individual with the active participation of the teacher at an early stage. The situation calls for a process-oriented education instead of an input-oriented one. Blindly stuffing in knowledge is as bad as filling diesel in a petrol tank.

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