Saturday, October 25, 2008

So, What Do You Want To Be?

One of the first questions I remember being asked is what I want to do when I grow up. I was asked this when I was a little kid, and my answer was always different. I went through the author phase, the doctor phase, the social worker phase (interestingly, I don't ever remember saying I want to be a teacher or an engineer). I was asked the same question as I grew older, after class 10, in class 11 and 12.

But while I always had an answer when I was a kid, I don't have one now. When I graduated from school, the questions became more persistent and serious. People asked me what career I'm planning to pursue, and "I don't know" was never accepted as a real answer. "Kuch to idea hoga na, beta." You always have to have some idea. When I chose to come to Singapore and study Economics, I was told that it's a smart choice... "Economics mein to bahut potential hai".

I didn't really have a reason for choosing Economics. After class 10, one thing I knew was that I didn't want to continue Science. So I chose Humanities. After class 12, I chose Economics because the little that I had seen of it, I liked. But still, I have no "plans" for my future. I don't even know which courses I want to take next semester, which co-curricular activities I want to join. The rest of my life is too far away for me to plan. I don't know whether this is good or bad... all my friends here and in India seem to have answers to what they want to do when they grow up. Some want to be engineers, one wants to be a designer, some want to start their own businesses. I'm hoping that after four years here in Singapore, I'll have some answer for "what I want to be when I grow up".


Anonymous said...

I kinda feel the same. I don't know what I want to do. When I was younger, I'd proudly tell everyone that I would become an engineer from IIT because that's what my folks wanted me to become. As I grew up, I went from IIT to engineer from a local college..maybe an engineer..maybe musician to what and what not. Some days back, we had a conference thing with the wife of the chief of our college. She asked us about aims and I said mine was to become a website designer. And she blasted me by saying that that was no aim and blah blah blah. After that, I stopped thinking. I don't have an aim and I have absolutely no clue what I will become.

Anonymous said...

Being something is fitting into the market economy. The market gives you these options, you're a slave to one of them, limited though most of them might be.

I also feel uncomfortable with the way most people phrase the question as if what you to do earn your living is what you are.

It's a question that is okay to ask oneself sometimes but I think one should ask oneself how to escape the limited confines of the question's answer, more often.

Sumedha said...

@ishmeet: Everyone who wants to do anything out of the ordinary is always told the same thing: That's not a real goal. One of my friends is doing fashion, and many people I know told her that that's not a good choice, she should go for something more practical, like engineering. So don't let the chief's wife dishearten you. :)

@Anon: Yes, being something does mean fitting into the market economy, but there are lots of choices. I think you can always find something to do that makes you happy and fits with the person that you are.

And I definitely, totally agree that what I do is not who I am. It's just what I do. But that doesn't make it any less important. Limiting or not, the question has to be asked. After all, what you do is going to be a big part of your life, and I have a horror of being stuck in a career that I don't like.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I guess one should be realistic and ask oneself this question. At the same time, perhaps resisting the idea of a 'career'?

Sumedha said...

@Anon: What do you mean by 'career'? I'm not all that clear on what it means to me... I just use it as a word that's generally used in such conversations. :)

sporadicblogger said...

I like what the anonymous one says. From now on,I shall ask people to rephrase and and address what I plan to do to earn a living :)