Preparing for your dream career? Ask yourself if you posses the skill sets expected of you.

Alfred dreamt of designing cutting edge machinery for the alternative energy sectors and impacting the lives of millions of people in the remotest villages of his country. But campus recruitment brought him down from the clouds with a thud. The alternative energies sector was not looking for design engineers. He resorted to scouring the Internet and the newspapers for the companies he would like to work for. But the job of his dreams eluded him. Finally sheer despair drove him to take up a software testing job, but he fell into deep depression.

Sourabh too had big dreams. And he did not find his dream job either. When he finally found a job, it was as an assistant manager in charge of stock in a small-time trading house. As luck would have it, the two men in the packing and despatch department of the company quit in a week of Sourabh’s joining. Sourabh faced the prospect of counting, packing articles, physically loading them in vans and actually delivering them at customer offices. An engineering graduate lifting load? His attitude saved the day for him. He worked on every small task with complete involvement. Very soon, he had personal experience of every small task in his workplace and he applied himself to improving the processes. Needless to say, his career graph went starwards. Do these examples imply that one should not dream? That pursuit of passion is meaningless? Not at all. It is important to dream. It is equally important to work for the realisation of one’s dreams. But what is even more important is to be realistic enough to understand that dreams do not always come true. Many conditions must come together at the right time and place for things to happen just as you want it to: for example, the conditions in the employment market, the general economic climate in the country, your performance in the tests and interviews vis a vis the performance of other candidates, the individuals in charge of the selection process and so on. Naturally these are not in your control. And that is why sometimes dreams remain dreams.

But all is not lost if you do not land that dream job. All is not lost if your job does not fetch you that fat income. All is not lost even if all your friends fare better than you on the job front. Your career can still take interesting turns, and be rewarding. If only you approach it with the right attitude.

The real world

Having the right attitude means being realistic in your expectations and flexible in your approach. It also means being level-headed and reasonable. Many young people tend to have elitist notions of work. Physical work is considered ‘lower’ than cerebral work. Some tasks are considered beneath their personal dignity — washing a coffee cup, serving water to a guest, picking up waste paper from the floor and so on. Working in an elegant and comfortable environment is a pre-requisite.

Categorisations of good and bad, high and low are mere notions. They live only in the mind and have no real existence.

They are a trap that can ensnare and restrict your free movement and full growth. Worse, they can make you feel unnecessarily miserable, dejected and ashamed. Recognise them for what they are and keep them out of your life.

The right attitude also involves bringing reason and balance to one’s expectations. When Satya was asked for the salary she expected, she had no hesitation in quoting a grand figure. But when the interviewer asked, “Why should we pay you that amount?” Satya had no answer – naturally. Satya neither knew if her skill sets matched the job requirement, nor the extent of training she would require before she could go live on the job. She did not even know the current economic or job market conditions. Expectations that are arbitrary and unreasonable will meet with disappointments.

Developing an attitude and approach is not an overnight process. It does not happen a day before campus recruitment starts. It needs to begin as early as in the first year of college. Even as you explore your subject, reflect on your strengths and inclinations, listen for the right vibes and carefully build your dreams, implant this little seed called right attitude in the back of your head and allow it to take root. Seek its support and allow its growing confidence to guide your action. The trick is in finding that right blend of intuition and reason for a fulfilling life.

Email: sumathi.sudhakar@gmail.com

Keywords: giant leap column