(Un)happy Professionals!

I was 14 when I decided I wanted to study Physics. With a natural flair for languages and being keen about theatre and dance, I didn’t know how I was going to fit mechanics, light and radiation into my schedule. Or, if you honestly ask me, I didn’t know how theatre was going to find a spot in the structure of atoms. Nonetheless, I thought I had made up my mind. So, I studied science for an additional three years thereafter.

Towards the end of that period, when I was almost nearing the close of my senior secondary years, I realized that there was some kind of contrariety between who I was or wanted to be and what I was doing. And that led to a major shift in what I was going to study for the next five to six years. By that time, I had realized that I loved languages and the arts and so, I chose humanities as my stream during Graduation and Post-Graduation.

There was a pronounced change in the way I viewed my academic life and the results achieved because I was enjoying my work. But the years of college are mostly filled with thoughts about the future and which means the kind of job profile we are looking for. After weighing all my options, I decided to opt for teaching. It suited my parameters and would help me keep alive my love for languages. Also, I wasn’t too keen on a full-time job and this seemed perfect.

For ten years I dabbled with teaching, but somehow it missed that spark I had been looking for. At the same time, it seemed segregated from any of my causes, wasn’t suited for a non-conformist like me and exhausted me so much that I could hardly keep pace with my interests. And so, I shifted gears once again. I am four years young in my new job and have just begun to understand the dynamics. Only that I do know that the person in me identifies with what I am doing now. The rest I leave to time.

So, what makes me share it all here today? Well, for most of us, the kind of profession we decide upon for ourselves or for our children depends on their subject of interest and their aptitude in a particular subject. But I would like you to consider the following:

  1. A child may have no interest in a subject but may still manage to score well in it.
  2. A child may not score well in certain subjects but may still have a high IQ and numeric ability as well as interest in it.
  3. A child may enjoy reading stories but may not necessarily be a story-teller.
  4. Sixteen or seventeen isn’t really the age when a child can finally decide what they want to do in life. It is way too early and no child deserves to be pressurized to take the final call.
  5. While finally deciding on one’s profession, besides interest and aptitude, a major role is played by the personality of an individual. Professions that suit the personality of an individual should always be chosen. An extrovert and gregarious individual may make an unhappy IT professional because they don’t find their place at the desk challenging enough. They may do better as marketing professionals, maybe.
  6. At the same time, be sure to find an introvert and quiet business executive unhappy in their space as they would have probably preferred looking into the microscope in a silent laboratory somewhere.


The profession we opt for or the job we choose is a companion that stays with us for a major part of our life. So, definitely it is a major deciding component of our happiness quotient. We cannot divorce it easily, though it isn’t that improbable either.

However, when we or our children consider a profession, we must remember that there are more than just a few factors responsible when it comes to (Un) happy Professionals!

20 thoughts on “(Un)happy Professionals!”

  1. Well happy professionals does seem like a oxymoron…. Nevertheless, if only there was an option to try different professions without societal pressure and see what you enjoy then I guess happiness and profession could go together!!

  2. You’re so right when you say that 17 year olds are too young to decide what they want to do for the rest of their professional life.
    My own boys were so confused in the 11th and 12th on what to do. Our Indian society and system does not have the patience, understanding or maturity to handle persons wanting to experiment with their likes and preferences before settling for the final choice.

  3. I agree with you Sonia. There are many factors that decide the inclination of the child. Then there are limits of time and competitive world that surpass all other things. Irony.

  4. I think a lot of people (myself included) just fall into our careers. I fell into nontraditional higher education back in 1989, and still today, there is no other place I would rather be.

    1. Yes actually. You are right. Though I feel we become so comfortable doing what we have been doing all the years that we start believing that it is the best thing to be done. So what is non traditional higher education all about?

      1. Nontraditional higher education is designed for the needs of adult learners, who, for any number of reasons, did not go to college right out of high school and finish in four years. In addition to ensuring that the courses we teach have a connection to professional development in some way, we also provide options for students to earn college credit for college-equivalent learning from workplace training and the School of Hard Knocks.

  5. Your post is on point. I was lucky to be allowed to choose a profession of my liking… at a time when you had to be either an engineer or a doctor. And freelancing was practically unheard of.

    1. Thanks again. In fact this was just off hand. I’ve been wanting to stress why we must choose professions that match our personality traits. And well, for happy professionals I hope there can be some at least.
      And yes for sticking to Physics…Three cheers to you!!💐💐

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