My college has just ended and I am in that strange transition phase-finding jobs, preparing for MBA, while still weary if this is the right path for me. I am like any other quintessential 20-something, ambitious yet confused.
Wake up Sid had been this film that had introduced an eleven-year-old me to the idea of finding one’s passion and pursuing it.
In the past year, I was sure that I was perhaps Aisha from the film, determined to write and make a living for her. She knew what she wanted-a good job, independence and the ability to support herself. Now I find myself oscillating between Aisha and Sid. I feel extremely confident of my future plans one day and the next day I feel equally confused.
I understand that indecisiveness and confusion at this age is a given and that I am not the only one but what is one of the reasons behind it?
When I am not doing anything fruitful about my future, I am thinking about it, introspecting, reprimanding and soothing myself. Introspecting, well, that is a given. Reprimanding myself that I could have worked harder before and soothing myself that there is a long life ahead of me to be at the top of the career ladder.
I was having a small chat with my friend and we were discussing how every generation has a different kind of peer pressure. The generation that evolved from the Partition had an aim to make a living and feed their families somehow. People were willing to work any good they could get and just slog to earn even the most meager amount of money. Everyone was starting afresh.
By the time these people were settled, a lot of them had their own business. Their children were handling the family business or quite a few of them were looking for government jobs.
Then once globalization hit India, everyone wanted jobs in the huge MNCs. The number of people sitting for IITs and IIMs increased rapidly. This generation’s aim was to get a good education, a steady job, and have a nuclear family.
While our generation is still coaxed to go to the IITs and IIMs, our movies and our culture have taught us to ‘follow our passion’ and to make it big in life. The new idea that has developed is that our career is supposed to be our salvation, a choice that will make life perfect.
The only issue is that ‘following your passion’ is the new peer pressure. If you are not following your passion, something that makes you feel alive and tingles your nerves, you are not doing anything worthwhile with your life. The new Sharma Ji ka beta does not want to become an IT engineer but wants to open his own startup, which is a lot more exciting than a 9-5 job.
Some people want that 9 to 5 job, going to an air-conditioned job and having a regular paycheck by the end of the month thrills them. They do not want to venture into forests and take photos of wild animals or be out there running around for movie auditions, even when they are aware of the fact the role will go to the child of a celebrity. They do not want to bring their office work back home; they just want a regular life. They want their hobbies to remain as their hobbies, something they can find comfort in after a long and hectic day.
Making your hobby your career is a tough thing to do too. If your sense of comfort becomes your career, competitiveness and raging desire to succeed makes an appearance, truly defeating the purpose of that hobby.
But, there is one strange irony. You ought to follow your dream, unless there is a job offer for you right there, paying a good amount of money. Ambition takes a back seat here. ‘Follow your passion’ only works when the job packages are not good enough. That is when one it matters to follow your heart’s desire.
We are all stuck between being answerable to our parents and the society to find a well-paid job and our peers to follow our desires, conjuring the question for the umpteenth time: What do I really want to do with my life?