Saturday, April 10, 2010

one topic. two girls.

I am feeling a little intrusive to write this post, because it discusses people and their choices in life. But this thought isn't going away from my mind. So, I might as well spill it up here. The topic is career. In past few days, I came across two girls who have made me think. So, let me go ahead and do the dirty job.

Girl One

It's Sania Mirza. Well, don't fret, yet. Enough has been written, read, heard, and seen about her during the past week. No, I am not going to talk about her wedding, though in a way I am going to. I am only thinking of her career. Experts and critics have already written her off. Is there any tennis left in Sania? That's a question only Sania can answer. Whether she will be successful in the future or not, she at least ought to be trying and doing her bit for her game, and for her career. I see that missing. She has been doing everything else, but anything to do with tennis.

True, she's injured right now and out of the game, but one can't help but feel Sania is far too away from tennis circuit and not likely to return. If you ask me, her marriage could have waited. But then, it is her decision. But even before all this drama happened, Sania was much of a glam icon than a sports icon. We can blame media for giving her extra irrelevant attention and that it spoiled her. But when I do that, I can't help but think of other icons who get media attention as much Sania gets. Take Bollywood girls for example. Don't they live in 24x7 media attention? But look at the focus they have. Looks like Chopras and Basus and Kaifs make better poster girls for a career woman.

Today, all of us focus so much on our careers. And Sania isn't just another girl, she is the one who has made it in tennis when there were few people (specially women)playing it in India, she represents minorities. We all wanted her to make it big. We cheered even when she lost to a Maria Sharapova or a Serena Williams in the first round. It would have been nice if she came across as more focused about her career. Sania loses the opportunity to inspire others.

But then, yes, it's her life and she has freedom to live it the way she wants to.

Girl Two

I met this girl a few days back. As that was our first meeting there was a round of hi-hello-what-is-your-name-what-do-you-do. This girl said she is preparing for the Civil Services exams. And that interested me, because there are so few people these days who try to get government jobs. Thanks to IT, private jobs are in fashion now. So, I struck a conversation with (rather quizzed) the girl. I asked her why she wants a Civil Services job, and the answer was interesting. She said it's the only job that has 3 Ps - power, pay, and prestige. Though I am very fascinated with that answer, it brought one question to me. What is it that I want out of a job? All of us just want one thing out if it - money. Most of us want job satisfaction too. Some of us want our work to make difference to people. Some want fame. Some of us might want few other things. But power and prestige? I hadn't thought of those terms being associated with job, blame it on my limited thinking. She also said it has been her dream since she was in second standard to get into Civil Services (read: she is very passionate about it). Very mature kid she must have been, I don't think I even had brains when I was in second standard. She asked me if I wanted to a technical writer when I was in second standard. Sure, I didn't, but then, I didn't want to be anything when I was in second standard. Now that I have become a technical writer, I like it. It doesn't mean I am not passionate about my job just because I didn't want to be a technical writer when I was in second standard.

Getting back to the girl and her Civil Services dream, she also said Civil Services officials are most respected. They have the ultimate power. That even if a CEO of a big corporate goes to a village they will not respect him, but they do respect a 'Collector'. This sounds a little off for me. May be because I like entrepreneurs and think it is great to be one. Villagers might respect the Collector, but it isn't the person they are respecting, it's the post. Also, villagers would not respect a CEO because they would be ignorant about him. Just like they wouldn't recognise Tom Cruise.

She said she has been trying to clear the exams since last 3 years. And, that's all she has been doing for the past 3 years. She holds a Bachelors degree in Engineering, but she does not work, because she is pursuing her Civil Services dream. Now, that worries me. I am aware that preparation for Civil Services exams take a lot out of you, but spending a whole year just to prepare for an exam seems like luxury. I recently read an article about the difference between being passionate and being stubborn. I wonder which one this girl is. In my opinion, she could have done at least something till she got into her dream job. Be it a small time job, a voluntary service, or pursuing a hobby.. just anything.

I asked her what she would do if she doesn't get the Civil Services job. She is so sure that she will get it, she hasn't thought about what she would do if she doesn't get it. She said she has 4 more attempts left, and she'll keep trying for next 4 years. Sounds like a plan. But, if I do a little negative thinking, if she doesn't get into Civil Services, she would have wasted 7 years of her life. Seven prime years of her life, years of her youth, her most productive years where she should be doing a lot with her career. But then, she seems to be very positive person, unlike me.

When I further pressed the unpleasant question, she said she would try and turn one of her interests into her profession - photography, writing, or something. I thought the girl was naive and dreamy. To add a bit more information here, she hasn't done anything serious to pursue her interests too. She has time now, she could have done a course or a degree in one of those areas. To add to my pessimist image, I asked her if she knows that it's very difficult to turn hobbies into professions.

I think I am a little concerned and worried about this young girl. Of course, 3 Ps sound good and positively she'll get to them, but 'what if?'


Questions remain in me - Why do we work? What do we want out of our jobs? How much should we do for our career? Isn't every job respectful? Isn't every job worth doing it? And worth doing well?


madhukara Phatak said...

Well written..We do the job for various reasons but mainly for money. But for some its not all about money but about achieving their dream . One of good example is Google founders, they build the search engine to organize world information before even knowing how it will make money.But in India can we expect that level of professionalism? may be not from the girls u mentioned above :)

vennila said...

We seldom do what we want to do, but find a way to like what we are doing. How many of us are actually doing what we trained for anyway? I think the basic requirement is to be gainfully employed, which is also a necessity. The ability to like what we are doing or to change if we are not happy with it is something only the most courageous person would do. The alternative is to become a whining and half hearted worker and be generally dissatisfied with everything in life. We have more examples of the whiners to indicate how people think. So, the CS aspirant gets my vote :)

Ramya said...

Its refreshing to find someone naive and dreamy. Its becoming easy to get comfortable doing something that will ear enough money and you're reasonably satisifed with. I'd say, go girl to her!
By the way, you shifted to Hyd and didnt tell me also :((

Shrilatha Putthi said...

LOL.. good one Ramya!

Anil Godavarthy said...

Well, as the say follow your heart and go where life takes you :) Sounds simple and silly, but sure to work. Well written..

Smitha T T said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Smitha T T said...

Nice one shri. Just took 1 year to read this :D
When I wanted to do Computers I was in 10th. I heard someone saying its difficult. I think that made me takeup Computerscience.
Work for money :-)
Coming to Sania and Film actress. Sania was treated as Glam gal than sportsperson. That's why she couldn't pursue what she intiallay started with. But basu's and kaif's were in glam world and the publicity helped them.