Wednesday, September 6, 2017

From Quora: Be Batman!

By now, you would know how self-obsessed and Narcissistic I am. And therefore, as a logical extension of that, I read my old FB posts, blogs, and Quora answers again and again. And then I thought, why not share some favorites from Quora over my blog as well. Therefore, here it is - a new series.
So, of all the answers I've written on Quora, I am particularly impressed with this one, as copied below:

Career Advice: What should I become in life?
This question previously had question details. You can find them in the question comments.

Siddhartha K. Rastogi, works at Indian Institute of Management Indore
Updated Mar 15, 2016


My impulse response is - be BATMAN. If you cannot be Batman, then even I can give you a few advice. To begin with:

You are too young to know effectively if topping twice and winning some awards will lead to a great future or not. It is possible that you are actually a great achiever and will scale great heights. It may also mean that your competition was poor enough and therefore, you outperformed them easily but the world will be a tougher place. So, here is my first advice - do NOT base future path on your past performance alone.

Now my second advice - do not think of life in terms of careers, like engineer, IAS, MBA etc. Those are beaten and trodden paths - these are means to a life, not the life itself. It would be a real tragedy if you are a genius but decide to get tied down by the known chains. Now, this gives rise to the obvious question - if not like this, then how should you think?

There is my third advice - think of the life you want. And I do not mean that you should think of poor or rich, despondent or comfortable, dull or happy, criminal or law-abiding, dejected or satisfied... (though I hope you want all the second choices in all these pairs). Think in terms of activities you like. For example, this is how I thought - I do not like 9 to 5 jobs so government jobs like banks are out; I do not like 9 to 9 jobs and that's how MBA jobs are also out; I do not like to be a part of a system that is corruptible and I may be forced to be a part of that, so IAS is also out; I do not like taking orders, so defense is also out; I like reading and writing - so I could be author, researcher, teacher, poet, and similar things.... but I do not like the uncertainty of an author's life and I do like maths, economics; most importantly, I wish to affect positive changes in people's life - directly through teaching and indirectly through policy research. And so on... it was an intermittent loop of arguments to decide and strive for the same.

Finally, whatever you decide, remember two things - One, you are too young right now and you are fit to achieve anything, if you are sincere in your efforts; Two, money does matter in life though but more of it gets progressively useless, therefore, do not think in terms of money alone - if you are good at something and enjoy doing whatever you do, money will always follow.

Good Luck!

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