Your Golden Cage

This is an Article in response to Prisoners by Choice. It is very well written so I suggest you go through it.

I had been hankering on how to express my views on a subject like this. I guess the best way is to just tell it as I see it.

Since the announcement of the CAT results, I have seen people reacting with the most passion towards the proceedings. Some proclaim victory over an old nemesis, standing over the carcass and thumping their chest. Other claim redemption in the other, possibly more coveted, entrance examinations, and utter their loud warrior cries over the social media landscape.

And then, there are the rest. Some who have been reduced to a crumpled heap. Broken and fatigued by the struggle they endured which did not bear fruit. Other’s lick their wounds, while swearing revenge. And some who unfurl the white flag, signalling surrender and bidding adieu to the Race, deciding to focus their efforts elsewhere.

Now , Some background. I am a General Male Engineer. 2011 graduate. Employed, but unhappy about it. I had two run-ins with the CAT: 2012(95.03) and 2013(95.68). Well, atleast you can say that I am consistent!!

Last year I hadn’t applied to any school beside the default IIMs. The reason was that I considered it a trial run. Just to get a feel of the examination. When I saw my score, which I feel is a decent one, if not astronomical, I was perplexed. I did not know what to make of it, should I apply elsewhere? Do I do my MBA this year?

After much deliberation, I told everyone who cared to listen, that I want another shot at the CAT. But There was another reason.

You see, I graduated from a private university. So I put my family through considerable financial strain in the process. Initially I was shamed to admit it, but am wiser now; I should have taken a more planned approach to what I want to do with my life. I finally accepted the fact; I may make a half-decent engineer, but certainly not among the best. And I can only be the best at something that I really wanted to do…

So began my year of introspection. I did all I could to figure out what I wanted to do with life. Moreover, how did an MBA fit into the scheme of things? The engineering degree was a pretty expensive mistake. But I was only 17 back then, and most of the people I know have made the same mistake! But now I am responsible for my life. What if I regret doing an MBA, 2 years down the road?

More introspection…

I talked to several people, turned to many for help and guidance. But more than that, I have learnt more about myself in the past year. It was all right there, I just had to look.

I had always known that when I put my mind to something, I do really well in it. I mean, unbelievably well! But I also have this severe handicap. Anything that I am not really interested in, I flunk, or maybe do a mediocre job of it. So, that’s that.

What solved the MBA conundrum was a simple exercise I read about. It was an exercise to figure out what you want to do in life. Imagine you have plenty of Money, Money is no longer the object of your career. What would you like to do then? And more importantly, would you gladly do it for the rest of your working life?

That is how I solved most of my dilemmas. I don’t know what my passion is, as of now. But I look at my job, and I know what I definitely DON’T want to do in life!

And an MBA does not fit into the scheme of things as of now.

I wont be a hypocrite. I may do an MBA if I need to in the future. But I have stopped looking at it as a Money making machine.

So, my dear friends. If you are planning to do an MBA, sit down with a piece of paper. List your reasons to do an MBA. First, write down “Loads and Loads of money”. Then scratch it out, because that is the only reason you can’t list here. I spent over 2 hours doing this exercise, and I couldn’t list even ONE satisfactory reason! That is what helped my decision.

With this, we come to the title of this article. We are confining ourselves to our Golden cages. We need a name tag, like an IIM or an IIT, or any kind of tag that we can justify to people. We believe that is the only way to succeed.

I would say that is just plain LAZY! Those who endeavor to define themselves only by society’s standards will live a mediocre life. The people who actually succeed, they carved their own path. You can’t look at the path and say it is a surefire way to succeed! That is just lethargy! Find out what works for you, What will make YOU great. If you try and fail, go back to the drawing board. It is a tough path, not for people who are lazy. But the rewards are glorious. One of them, are the bragging rights, to show everybody that you did not live a mediocre life!

Thanks for bearing with my rambling! I am planning a career shift, and it is a huge leap of faith. I am terrified, and overjoyed at the same time! Wish me luck, people!