2016 Essay Competition - View all entries


Swarna Devi - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

A career is a line of work that one undertakes for a very significant portion of his or her life. Hence it is in one's interest to have a good relationship with one's career, whatever it is. A lot of people are very confused as to what major or career to choose. One could choose anything. When contemplating upon what to choose or where to start, there tends to be too much information and confusion.

This confusion comes from a lack of clarity. I was one of those confused individuals myself. I finished my high school and went to education fairs, saw all available majors. There I was, a confused high school graduate walking around, checking which course would be suitable for me. At that time, accountancy would be a good choice, my teachers said, as it would always be in demand, even in times of recession. They said it is a job that pays well. I spoke to many people who could help me with what major would suit me but they were more interested in selling their course. In one booth, I picked up a brochure on Business Psychology. I was scanning through the contents of the syllabus and my eyes widened, my heart was attracted and my brain wanted more information. This course was so in-line with my temperament, my interest and my nature.

I couldn't wait to show my sister this brochure and tell her that I found the perfect course to study. I finally found the words for what my ambition is! She read the brochure and said that I would really enjoy this course because it matches my skills and interest. She was right. It was for me indeed! I knew that if I studied this subject, my skills that I partially have would be really sharpened because of this course. I would not need motivation to study and would excel out of sheer passion.

So then I went to my father, repeated the whole process of showing him my dream course. He did not react nor respond in the same way that my sister did, not even close. He simply said that this was a whim and fancy of my heart. That no one would employ me if I were to do this degree. This made me sad. So he gathered up his friends one evening and invited me to this gathering. They all told me how I would not have much of a future if I studied this. That I would be jobless if I pursued Business Psychology. They told me to listen to my father, that what he was saying what was best for me. I felt very unhappy.

I eventually surrendered to them as I did not possess knowledge of the corporate world. Delighted, my father told me to pursue Accounting because he remembered my accounting teacher telling him that I had a knack for numbers. I enrolled into accounting academy and studied accounting. I felt like a robot for the first time in my life because I was doing something very mechanical. My heart had no participation whatsoever. I topped my high school academically. The school even paid me an amount for my outstanding results. In college, however, this brilliant student was failing her accounting course almost every semester. I kept trying harder for the next exam and eventually passed them.

I dropped out halfway through my course, left the country and went to an ashram in India. I just needed a break from the whole world. I studied the ancient philosophy of Vedanta. The clarity that I gained, I cannot even begin to explain. A three-year residential course. The campus had no phone, no chair, no internet, no newspaper, not even a fan! The bed was nothing but a mattress on a big plank of wood. I was disconnected from the world and this enabled me to connect to myself more. This was something that I desperately needed as I felt I lost myself to an extent. Over there, I had the time to recognize my strengths, weaknesses, limits. I went there to develop my intellect, that is, my thinking ability. The ability to choose wisely in any dilemma. Whatever I learned was like the oxygen that my body needed to survive. I carry the teachings with me wherever I go.

One of the things I learned over there that I would like to share with everybody, especially the youth is to choose a field of activity or career, that is in line with your inherent nature, your temperament. No one would know this better than yourself. To truly know what your inclinations are, for there are many, write down your inclinations the moment you wake up for that is when you are most fresh and untainted by other thoughts. List down the things you gravitate to. For example, a young girl would sell eggs to her father, a farmer. The chicken was his, the eggs were his. His daughter had a sales talent from a tender age. Similarly, what were you always inclined to?

The answer to this question is the only factor you will ever need to consider when deciding which major and eventually, which career is meant for you. Ask your parents if they remember your distinct interests. Ask your childhood friends what they think your ambition is. Ask them what they see you work as in the future and ask them on what basis they thought so. It would be very interesting to see how you appear in the eyes of those close to you.

Do what is sensible for you. If you are confused, consult someone with a higher thinking capacity and weigh your options out with them. Ask people for their opinion but the decision must ultimately be made by you alone.