“Choose a work you love to do, and you won’t have to work for the rest of your life”
This is the kind of advice a young person about to start his career gets. Though there is no dispute that the job one does should be satisfying, there are contrasting view points on how this satisfaction can be achieved.
It always helps to have clear definitions whenever one ponders over very fundamental issues. We will define and discuss the following topics in this and following articles: Economic Activities vs. Non Economic Activities, Customer Mind-set vs. Craftsman Mind-set, Short term career orientation vs. Long Term career orientation.
Activities which are conducted to create something useful, which can be sold or exchanged with something else, are called economic activities. In the earlier days farming, carpentry, tailoring were the economic activities. In the present time the list is much longer and now we have typing, selling, factory work, accountancy, repairing etc as economic activities and the list is ever expanding.
Are these activities fun? Does the doctor enjoy meeting sick people day in and day out? Well, the answer is both yes and no. The job satisfaction depends on a number of factors like the skill level of worker, the complexity of the problem, the attachment with the particular assignment, the reward you get at end and so on. But, one thing is for sure that the Doctor gets paid at the end of the work.
Now let’s have a look at non- economic activities. These are activities which one undertakes for one’s own benefit or pleasure. More often than not, no one else will benefit from this, and thus no one is willing to pay you for it. Examples are singing, trekking, reading, gossiping, and so forth. They are very few people who can ask for and get paid for gossiping in a country like India.
While most of us might enjoy the activities listed above, very few can think of making a career in it. I love reading, but why should anyone pay me for reading novels and magazines? So, should I still do it or quit reading? There comes something called hobby in the picture. I can do an economic activity for making money and pursue my passion in my free time.
Are the Two Mutually Exclusive?
Can’t I make a career in singing or dancing? After all it’s my passion. Many of you would ask these questions. The activities can move from one category to another with economic and technological changes. In the earlier days we would go to buy earthen pot in the summers. Now, all the potters are gone out of business. Yet, one can still practise pottery as an art. Thus, over a period of time many professions emerge and many dissipate. Economic Activities can become Non Economic and vice versa.
IFIM B School