When someone talks about a career-woman the image that comes first to our minds is that of a serious faced woman staring intently at the computer screen or something on her desk, or standing with a handbag hanging from her shoulders. Career, work, job – most people associate these terms with an 8 to 12 hours (sometimes even more) sojourn in a typical ‘office’, with a desk and computer at one’s disposal to do ‘work’ on. Here work is envisioned as something you leave home for every weekday morning, and come back from after the sun has retired for the day. It is something you do day in and day out, except on weekends (sometimes on weekends too) and it ensures that your account gets credited with a lump sum at the start of each month. A perfect picture, one might think. Only, what is missing in this picture is – passion.
I believe in olden days people used to do what they were good at doing, what they liked to do, to make a living. However, somewhere along the journey of mankind, a 9 to 5 desk job got elevated to such an exalted position that for more than a century now it has been the primary driver of human life. People, at least a lot of them if not all, spend almost two-thirds of their lives sitting at a desk in an office, sifting through papers or typing on keyboards. The luxurious their desk, the better their position. In the race to reach the most pompous desk in the organization, most people often forget to ask themselves the basic question – if this is what they really, want to do?
A very important person in my life once told me – “Never do anything for money. Do what you like doing, and money will come by itself. It might be more or it might be less, but that is OK. Not all of us need to become the richest people in the world. We can be happy with what we have if we are happy with what we do.” The point here is, money, power and position may not always be the priority for everyone, and therefore, it is wrong to assume these as our priorities just because a lot of people are doing so. Happiness in life will come when we are confident that our talents are getting used in the way we want to, and that will make our lives more richer than just money.
I recently attended a seminar for women on career break seeking a second career, conducted by Avtar I-Win (http://www.avtariwin.com/). In that session, called the Segue Session, held in Pune on 8-August, Ms. Sandhya Vasudevan, MD, DBOI Global Services, Deutsche Bank Group, implored the delegates to think hard and long over their goals and priorities in life. That is the only way to find one’s calling. For different things are important to different people. For some, status might be paramount. For some, financial freedom might be the driver. Some might want to do something really productive, not the routine, mundane day jobs. Slogging in a job that you don’t like or that you are not good at will only hamper your self image and pull you down eventually. It is therefore important to recognize one’s calling and follow it, since that is what will sustain a person in the long run. And equally important is listing down the priorities of our life, and revisiting them from time to time. That way we can ensure we are not ravaged by guilt attacks by ignoring things that matter most to us.