By Suma Varughese
When you marry what you love with what you are good at, and which brings you into alignment with your life’s mission, you will find your perfect work, says Suma Varughese
The Sathe family had a visitor this Sunday. One of Ashwin’s nephews was in town and had come over for dinner. Krish, as he was called, was a likeable young man who had just finished his 12th and was casting around for a suitable vocational path.
“I do not want to do medicine or engineering or an MBA. That is all I know,” he said, as he scooped delicious aloo methi and hot paratha into his mouth. “I know what I don’t want, but not what I want,” he said, pulling a droll face.
Ajoba patted him on the back comfortingly. “At least you know that,” he said. “Most don’t know even that.”
Ashwin (Dad) laughed sympathetically. “Most just do what their parents want them to do and wake up much later to realise that what they really wanted to do was be a healer or an artist or writer.”
Krish looked meaningfully at Avijit and back at Dad. “So Avi getting into engineering was because of…?” he asked delicately.
“Oh, we didn’t push him into it,” answered Dad with a snort. “There is no way I would want my children to do something they did not have the vocation for.”
“Avi was a born engineer,” said Mom fondly. He was always building bridges and buildings with his leggo bricks. He just seemed to naturally know how to make things.”
“From the time he was three, when he could not even possibly know what engineering was all about, this boy used to tell us that he wanted to get into engineering,” added Aji.
Avijit listened modestly to the adults raving over him and grinned self-deprecatingly. “Oh, well,” he said, “there was nothing much else I could do.”
His cousin looked at him enviously, “How lucky you were, Avi, to know what you wanted to do that early in life. How I wish I knew what I wanted. I hate to think of becoming yet another banker or chartered accountant or manager.”
“You don’t have to become any such thing,” said Dad, warmly. “A human life is meant to make a difference. You are meant to express your unique gifts through your work. What are the things you love, really love, to do?”
“I love travelling, watching cricket, movies, culture in general, helping people and photography,” said Krish. “Millions of people like to do the same thing, so I just don’t know where these random things will get me.”
Ajoba intervened with his usual wisdom, “You know, we think that we make our careers and plan our vocations, but in actuality, it is the Supreme Intelligence who directs us into the paths our destiny draws for us. Why, the children of our neighbours, the Charis, are doing spectacularly well in their careers despite having very lacklustre education. The daughter is earning phenomenally in the corporate world with only a BA. And the son is looking after Australian tourism in India, doing very well too.”
“I could never have planned to be a trainer,” said Dad, “but as I went along and discovered how much joy I got out of helping people grow and discover themselves, and that I had some talent in that area, things crystallized and I found myself naturally moving there.”
Krish looked a little happier, “Oh, well, maybe God will show me my path too,” he said. “But how will I know if it is the real thing for me?”
“If you love doing what you are doing and find that you are good at it and people are getting value out of it, then you know you are on the right path. Always remember that life progresses. Make sure you progress and grow in your job, and you can be sure that you will gradually evolve into other careers too if that is meant to happen. It is when we stagnate in our career and do not care to grow that we fall out of alignment with the path we are meant to go on,” said Ajoba.
“But we have not finished the process I began,” said Dad. “It just might help you to get to your starting point. Now that you have written what you love doing, write down the things you are really good at, no matter how insignificant.”
“Well, I am really great at planning and organising. I seem to do it naturally. Recently, for Dad’s 50th birthday, I made all the arrangements and it went down really well. I’m also an excellent cook, especially bakes. You should see some of the cakes I have made, Abha bua,” he said. “Mom is quite thrilled to have me help her out at home. Then I sing pretty well, strum the guitar adequately. And yes, kids seem to really like me. They always cluster around me.”
“So many possibilities already,” said Dad. “You’ll have a great career, beta. No worries! Now apart from what you love and what you are good at, you need to factor in a third component. What is your mission? Do you feel that there is something you must do for the world?”
Krish shrugged. “That is too heavy duty for me. I don’t have any sense of such a thing,” he said.
“That is okay,” said his uncle. ‘The final thing you need to factor in are the work experiences that you have already had, like organising your Dad’s 50th birthday or some summer jobs you may have done and so on. Put these four lists down and think of any career that involves some or all of them. Do not reject any. And maybe in all this you might find your perfect job.”
“Wow,” said Krish. “I can think of some possibilities already. Am good at organising, kids like me, I love travelling. Maybe I can organise camps or recreational activities for kids.”
“Good thinking!” said Dad. “Keep going and you might come up with something even better.”
“Be sure to treat us when you get your first pay cheque,” said Avijit, wagging his forefinger.
“Done deal,” said Krish grinning, and slapping his cousin’s back.
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