Passion vs Pay: Time for a Career Reality Check?

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Ever wondered why Farhan’s dad didn’t approve of him becoming a photographer in the movie ‘3 Idiots’? Do you ever have similar tiffs with your parents where you have something in mind for yourself and your folks have something else, and you feel they just don’t understand you? But they do. And it is BECAUSE they understand you, that they try to steer you off course from the career you have picked for yourself. In ‘3 Idiots’ Rancho keeps telling his friends to run after their passion, because then success will have no option but to follow. But can you survive on passion alone? Is it enough to fill your stomach? What about phone bills, insurance, expensive outings?

If your parents have this take when it comes to choosing your career, they’re not wrong, because they spent their entire youth struggling for the one thing they never want to see you struggle for- money. The late 80s and the early 90s saw hardwork as the ladder to success and you must have heard the accounts of your parents’ struggles of working almost 10 hours a day for only Rs 500-1000 per month. And hence, you cannot blame them for wanting you to be financially secure and stable. But this is not the early 90s. Only hardwork does not pay off. In this day and age, whatsoever field you may choose, there are other factors too- contacts, money and most of all, luck. These play their roles with a heavy weightage.

If you want a career in an off-beat field, you cannot apply the ‘Rancchhod das principle’. You should believe in yourself, no doubt, but going down ‘the road not taken’ blindly without any backup plan to ‘seize the day’ is not wise, as there will be a 1000 others like you trying to seize the day and make it extraordinary. No doubt, it’s your life, and after all, whatever career you take, it’s you who’ll have to breathe and live with it and not your parents. So listen to your heart, but take your mind with you. Consider all your options, all pros and cons, both negative and positive. Consider the implications of the same. Look further down ‘the road not taken’ and estimate, evaluate and accept the possible consequences that might come your way and then take the plunge. Because things like ‘apne dil ki sun’ sound good only in movies.

This is where your parents’ ‘beta humne duniya dekhi hai’ comes in, it’s their experience of the same thing talking. Wouldn’t you feel bad if you took up dancing or archaeology, were stuck in a meagre 15-20k job and then wished that you’d heeded your parents’ advice? It is this regret from which they are trying to save you. So find a middle way. Don’t let go of your passion. Fuel your love for the same. At the same time, find option B- a stable source of bread and butter to financially insure your future. This does not mean you don’t believe in yourself, or you’re not good enough, or you took the easy way out. This is merely a pillow to provide a cushioning effect, just in case you fall hard in life.

Because no matter how Farhan convinces his dad saying, “Gaadi choti hogi, ghar chota hoga, par main khush rahunga abba”, does not work in reality. When you see your friends excelling, buying big cars, being able to pay an inordinate amount of tip to the waiter and you having to look at the prices in the menu, or the price tags first when you go shopping, this happiness brought by your passion evaporates fast enough. Because your parents are right, at the end of the day, money does matter. So believe in yourself enough to listen to your heart and carpe diem, but KNOW yourself enough to carry out the same goal with a rational and practical approach too. 

 

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