The Career Paradox

It was no twist of fate that I decided to become a civil engineer. Probably God wanted me to become one. I say this, because at that point of time, I was somehow…though suspiciously, but completely brainwashed by people who were so in praise of this entire profession. Buildings are blooming; Construction is the dream today; Megastructures in NatGeo is an awesome Docu; You have the potential to become a successful civil engineer…you are hardworking…amongst other crap. And you sculpt your life that way, live years together with that decision, and come to college to pursue it. And here you find out, that one decision which you took, in your years of immaturity, might not be the real thing that you are actually made for. People say that what you actually wish for in the beginning of your life, that’s what you get. And that, I say is sad thinking!

Well, my story of choosing a profession is a long one. As confused as I am today, I was before too. I had three phases in my life, essentially packets of years, in which I lusted to pursue a particular career. Music was one thing that I could follow, when I started with my big synthesizer when I was 6. But, my parents made it very clear, that being a ‘musician’ is not a profession. It is my passion. A hobby which I would do I’m free from studies. So during the phases that I am talking about, music was never really in the picture, just for the reason that it was engraved into my mind, that academics is always the fixed source of making money. Coming back to the phases, the first phase was….(drum roll…dtissshh): a bus driver. I still laugh, when I think about it. Well, I think that’s what many children wish to become. But my dream had a pinch of pepper sauce in it. I wanted to be the bus driver in an airport ferrying people from the terminal to the airplane and back. It seemed to be the coolest profession in sight, just because there seemed to be no traffic rules to obey. Then, as I grew up, I realized I was getting educated and my parents expected from me at least that level of education which was way higher than that of a bus driver. These expectations lead to the next phase of aspirations. During these years, there is a spectrum of things that I wished I could pursue. All of them, were directly the top jobs in the country. One was to be a pilot, then the next one was to be a doctor (that one unit test in class 7, when I got full marks in biology) and then the last one was to be an IAS officer. These were mainly to brag off, because the age group of 7 to 13 demands this level of yearning. People often ask you the question of what you wish to ambition. An answer something like ‘IAS officer’, would leave the asker totally impressed.

The final phase was the one when it actually came to the real decision making. This was age 15, when my parents initiated the task, and wanted me to pick a career. My mum is an engineer, and dad, a commerce guy. And it was perceptible enough, that they surely will follow the tradition of making their offspring either an engineer or a doctor. On me, no pressure was put though. In my tenth grade, I was taught maths by an amazing teacher but I got a cold-blooded biology teacher. (See what I did there?) This is that one reason I chose engineering over medicine. I owe my decision to that old man, my great maths teacher and also, this is why I personally believe in the influence of a teacher in the deciding years. And during that time, I was surrounded all of a sudden from all sides, with people chanting the name ‘civil engineering’. The feeling got aggravated by this one incident, in which I remember clearing and getting a very good score in an exam conducted by a famous coaching institute. The head dean of that institute, during my felicitation interview, asked me what branch in engineering do I prefer to take, to which I answered my favourite two words of that time- civil engineering. Trust me on this; I still remember a huge wide smile on that man’s face. Never will I forget his reply; he said that I had chosen the best ever profession and that there is no equivalent to civil engineering in the world today. That day, I made it my life goal, to get into a good engineering college and to become a graduate in civil engineering. And as of now, that goal, is done. I am half an engineer now. BUT, I fear that I am getting into a brand new, fourth phase now. I know it’s too late to do that, but people say, it’s NEVER too late. Life gives you a brand new opportunity for a new beginning all the time.

It’s uncanny how life can suddenly turn out to be so fast moving. Even though it’s rather the realization, the nostalgia of the gone days when you look back down the road. But for me, there is no day I don’t wish that 24 hours should pass as fast as the memories of it do.

My seniors, who were in third year when I was in my first, graduated. And now, I am in my third year. Time does pass, that too really fast, and I will graduate too. Who has thought of life after this? Am I going to be a good civil engineer? Was I right in taking this profession up?

I was thinking today, that your life decisions matter to the highest degree when you are a child. And the irony is that, a child who can be influenced by really small things just goes for it. And that is the moment when your life, takes a turn for the new. Yes, the most important decision of your life, taken by someone mere, a child. Wish there were people to take decisions for us, so that we could blame them, rather than ourselves for our mistakes. It gives me great courage, to bank on the fact that God has promised to take care of things even when I worry, because He is the potter of this jar of clay. He has a vision perceived, a plan prepared, a goal set.


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