Feb 13, 2010

Choosing a career

3 idiots has had a universal appeal and has managed to captivate a diverse section of people. As Varsha concludes her piece on the movie on her blog with "passion begets success, that running the rat race only helps create machines not humans, so go out and take the risk, to be different, to make your own path, to do what you dream and all izz well...".

As a parent, I had long back decided to let Samu make her own choice of career. As she has reached an age where these topics filter into her consciousness, she recently declared  that she wants to be a scientist. Although I have no idea how she came to this conclusion, it is fine by me. I also know that this decision of hers is likely to change as she is exposed to more information. My role will be only as a supporting person.

However, the other day, she came to me and with some hesitation about being a scientist, asked, "What do you want me to be when I grow up?"

"I have no particular preference"- (you can be anything from a doctor to belly dancer, I said to myself)

"But then", she persisted, "think like this, suppose you have a preference, what would you want me to be when I grow up?"

This was dangerous territory and the reverse of parental pressure. I managed to convey that I really don't have any preference because I really don't have any preference. But suppose I had a secret desire about her being Head of HR or Vice President of Marketing or a dentist or President of the Mahila Congress or whatever, it would have been difficult to hold back.

I could relate to the saying about child being the father of the man.


  1. vurshaa said...
    now that sounds like child pressure :) until recently i hadn't realised how my career choice had worked out (naturally, and i have no claim to have MADE it) on my talent... it was when my school friends who always believed that I would make a good artist, were thrilled to know that I had actually become one.
    thanks god, papa didn't express his dreams of me becoming an environmental engg!!
    Suresh said...
    Yes, thank God and your papa that society does not have to bear with a frustrated environmental engineer!

    Rigid attitudes persists even today. A girl I know underwent a day long scientific aptitude test that showed her aptitude for architecture and related fields. The father, who wanted her to be a doctor, reluctantly accepted that she can go for engineering but no other fancy field.
    Anonymous said...
    Hi Suresh

    Oh, so Sammu has grown up enough to ask such questions?

    The other day Vishwajith's mother asked me something like - 'what do you want your sone to be when he is a grown up?'

    I thought for a while and could arrive at this answer -
    'I want him to be happy doing what he likes most, making enough money to lead a decent life'

    Jazzy said...
    I feel you are right....in trying not to steer your child in the direction you feel is right. After all career choice is a personal decision...... Children have more need of models than critics.
    And she is hardly 9-10 years old......the career choice that she is making today may not necessarily be the same some years later ......
    when the actual time for career choice arrives....she might perhaps find something more fascinating to her at that particular moment.
    But ofcourse !!! u can always pinpoint the pros & cons of any choice that she makes....so as to avoid a situation.... wherein one day she wakes up to find her fascination to end up in dismay....and then she would wonder.....why dint the person whom she relied upon for the greatest problems or seeked solutions on anything that bothers her......never explained her these implications.

    Hoping & praying that Samu's all wishes get fulfilled & she can always proudly say,
    "My father is more than a hundred schoolmasters"
    Suresh said...

    I am glad you are also one of those enlightened parents who believes in giving their child the freedom to choose his career.

    Your condition- 'making enough money to lead a decent life' raises some issues. If he finds a vocation that makes him very happy but doesn't bring much money, will you stop him? If he finds a career that pays well but he is not much happy, will you still allow him to pursue it?

    Anyway, he is Vishwajeet, Vishwa ko jeetne wala, so you wouldn't have to worry.


    Yes, if, as you say, I remain totally hands off, the danger of finding herself stuck can happen. I will be there to guide her, but I will not pretend to be the all knowing father, instead guide her to the right person or resource.

    For example, if she really wants to be a scientist, I can guide her to seek counsel from professionals I know.

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