I had been considering quitting my job for the last four years now. In fact way back in 2008, when I was still in B school and just been offered a PPO, I had been contemplating not taking it up, since you know, I was the “creative kinds” and hence more suited to live up to the stereotype of a directionless, temperamental artist who did things on her whim, who hated being tied down to a boring routine and who would rather sacrifice a safe, materialistic lifestyle for the experience of LIFE itself. But parental counseling, societal mores and peer pressure got in the way and I chose to become a cog in the wheel instead. Today, when I came across this article, it got me thinking: of all the people who are gainfully employed, how many are masters of their own destiny or simply a victim of circumstances?
So there are people, who despite being a “corporate” set-up, genuinely enjoy their work: They sincerely believe that they are making a difference to the company, and they derive satisfaction from the measurable impact they have on the organization: be it in terms of exceeding their sales targets, implementing IT solutions or raising billions of dollars in a volatile financial market. And my dad is probably a glaring example of this species.
And there are people who followed a career simply because of the contribution to society that it entails: So there is a primary school teacher whose life revolves around crying children who hate studying and therefore hate her. She gets paid peanuts which don’t even allow her the luxuries that she aspires for, and yet she simply loves her job because it satisfies her soul. So is the story of a nurse, a doctor, a social activist or to some extent, even a journalist. Obviously, many of them go on to mint money as well (think private tuitions/private hospitals), but in most cases, it starts off as a desire to do something meaningful rather than mint money out of it.
Then there are people who chose a profession they are truly passionate about: They may be in something as widely recognized as Sports, Music, Entertainment, Literature or as obscure as Pet Detective, Fortune Cookie Writer or Rodeo Clown. But the important point is they CHOSE their professions out of sheer love of the activity.
There are also people are motivating creating jobs rather than having one. At times, it could be someone with an Ivy-League education and a glittering corporate career taking up the challenge of starting up on his own or someone with no industry experience or training, but sheer business/common sense. The common driving force is the will and the determination to be their own master, irrespective of the risks/obstacles/uncertainties.
And finally there are people like me: a vast majority of us, who are just going through the emotions, following the herd and taking the crowded road to respectability, acceptance and matrimonial sanction, waiting for the day when we would finally be in the above four categories.
To be a master, you need the courage to let go; to be a master, you need to take the leap of faith; to be a master, you need to live like you are dying…