Why do we equate a career with money?


With the sole intention of giving you the benefit of my experience and exposure, let me give you three examples:

Student A: Parents insisted that the child appear for all the entrance exams after the 12th grade. AIEEE paper 1 and paper 2, Gujarat CET, Maharashtra CET, Karnataka CET and more. They belonged to the transferable category and knew they would get posted in any of these three states shortly. The student had studied in CBSE schools throughout and had got above average marks in his Math and Science board exams. He was adamant that he wanted to pursue engineering. He said he liked those subjects and asked his parents not to judge his potential by his marks alone. The state board syllabus was very different from the CBSE curriculum. He failed miserably with low ranking in most of these exams because he simply could not assimilate this kind of knowledge within two months. But he got a seemingly good ranking in the second paper of AIEEE.

This forced them all to consider architecture as a viable solution. He appeared for the NATA with a fortnight’s preparation from his mother’s best friend who had studied architecture for a couple of months and dropped out of the course.

He cleared NATA and got admission based on these scores and his CBSE marks. He went on to study his masters in a specialized area of architecture and has just landed his first job in Mumbai.

That boy is my son. No, his pay is not all that great – but we all knew that architecture was a line that one gradually settled down into. Finding one’s feet in an ever changing market takes time and patience and we learn several values along the way!

All parents are as confused as their children. But only if they appear for all these kinds of exams will something emerge out of it. That he gained admission based on his own marks and he was happy studying subjects he totally understood is something that we always look back upon with relief.

Student B: Parents want the very best for their child. His state board results are average and maybe his CET scores are also not too good. After discussing things with a few likeminded friends and exploring a few options, they decide to pay a huge management quota fee so that the child gets admission into a good line in a decent college. They manage to do so.

A couple of years later the student fails in most of the semester exams, drops two successive years in his college because he is not able to comprehend a single thing that is taught in the lectures.

He lives away from home. Hostel life is tough. The food is different. He misses home and truly regrets taking up this course. He is stuck and there is no way out for him.

This boy was my son’s best friend. He is currently working in the same office that his father works.

Student C: The scenario is mostly the same as previous example. The boy manages to cram his subjects and somehow whisks through the exams clearing it by a whisker and now holds a decent job in another city away from his home town.

This boy is my nephew. Perhaps he is earning a great salary – we really do not know because most parents rarely discuss such things.

The essential point that we want to highlight here is:

How satisfied are they with what they are DOING?

Forget money! It is important for a while!



Yes, there is bound to be some drudgery and some monotony in any job that we take up. Money will entice us only for a while – perhaps for a long while – till we become stable.

After that we will all question ourselves – Are we doing the right things with the only life that we are blessed with? Am I enjoying the journey as much as the money that I am making? Do I like the work that I am doing? Do I work with pleasure and do I love going to work?

No, none of us can really predict any or all of these things. I agree. But at least, as parents, we can ensure that our children pursue a line of study which synchronises with their capacity, talents and skills? Only then will they find joy in the career that they ultimately pursue.

Everybody is assured a place on this planet under the sun. Some take a while longer to realize their dreams, some achieve them quickly. But they need to enjoy every step that they are taking in order to experience happiness.

Money may buy us many materialistic comforts and luxuries, but it can rarely buy us internal joy and peace and satisfaction.

Let us keep all these factors in mind before we figure out the right career for our children.

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