I sometimes wonder what’ll happen in future. Doctors, doctors and doctors. We have become addicts of the medical profession. When asked to explain this addiction, we answer abruptly- “It’s a noble profession”. I never deny the fact that the profession of a doctor is noble. Infact, it is the most noble of all. But can we live in a society where everyone is a doctor. Does the job of a doctor really promise a happy life? Is there no better profession? These are questions we need to answer.
There was a time when parents’ dream vocations for their children were civil service, engineering and medicine. Eventually, the brood instead took to journalism, art, business or sales. Today parents as well as children aspire for a place under the IT sun. Information technology or IT in the modern day spans all the aspects of life- be it home or workplace. IT affects the way we study, work, entertain, manage relationships, in other words it affects the way we live our lives. What started as a small network for the Pentagon and the US universities has emerged as the binding force that has set the world free. Internet has truly liberated the individual from the shackles of old economy tools like office, boss, paperwork, etc. Isn’t this culture beautiful? Doesn’t it promise a challenging career? Don’t we end up on good scales of life- income, professional satisfaction, social status, personal happiness? By taking up this profession, can’t we contribute any good to our society? Can we contribute only by becoming a doctor?
Our dear parents, when they retired from their jobs had a fat bank balance accrued over the years of their provident fund and gratuity accounts. They put in close to 30-40 years of service for the government or the companies they worked for. The previous generation took up jobs for life. Their growth in the organization often depended on factors other than their own performance and they could do little about it. With growth in business and opportunities, requirement for skilled workforce has gone up. Change in the workplace has never been more rapid. The concept of ‘long term’ is history. It is said that we will no longer have careers but a string of jobs. After BPO’s and KPO’s there are PPO’s or people-to-people outsourcing. All these have shrunk the world and razed geographical boundaries to make it one huge marketplace. Where do we Kashmiris stand in this marketplace? If we continue to crave only for medical, we stand nowhere. What we need is a change- a change that could eliminate all this craze and hoopla for medical profession. Like the traditional ones, the new options can ensure a decent career and a comfortable life to our youth. It is a pity that our called elite institutes have got good teachers but no career counselors who form an integral part in the life of a student. My advice to all my fellow students is to shed the hypocrisy of looking down upon education as a noble profession and instead treat it as commercial venture. Education is no longer viewed as a social or charitable service. Let’s be frank. Merely having doctors in the state will not help in any way. Other options are wide open before us. What we need is magnanimity and farsightedness.
If the 1980’s and 1990’s were the eras of doctors and engineers, the 21st century belongs to new age professionals. Consultants agree that the new thundering wave is in the direction of the desire for new careers, an endless desire that with each year continues to grow. It is a pity that our people lack this desire. For them working in a private organization is a disgrace and a govt. job is a matter of pride and happiness. When will we get out of this illusion? The glaring reality is that the private institutions have played a major role in higher education. About 75% of the growth in education has been in the private sector, as the government has literally abandoned its responsibility. We have just seen a glimpse of privatization in our state in the form of a few telecom service providers. The Microsoft Windows opened the doors for the common man to access wide pool of information that the internet contained and use it to gain commercially. Microsoft office Internet Explorer that brought information one click away for the student or the housewife, who could leverage the Net to learn or earn. Inspite of having an access to a sea of information, we are complacent with the little knowledge of little things that we possess. Some of us don’t even bother to look beyond medical and engineering fields. Have parents ever bothered to look out for new career options for their kids. Times changed but their craze for medicine did not. They want doctors, doctors and doctors. The youth in 1980’s indulged in politics and were not in a hurry to start earning. A parent financing a ward as old as 26-30 years pursuing a degree in law or aspiring to become a civil servant was the norm. Civil service is not as charming now; the youth start earning as early as at 20-22 years and sometimes self-finance their higher studies. For others there are new cellphone or bike models to chose from and buy. These kids with huge purchasing power have fueled growth in white goods and are thus pumping up the digital revolution too.
There are so many other emerging courses like nanotechnology and biotechnology. With India emerging as the global hub for pharmacy and becoming a recognized name in the distillery and dairy sectors, demand for qualified people in industry-specific courses like herbal microbial studies and fermentation technology is growing. New careers in aviation – both on-flight and on-ground are emerging. The field of electronics is expanding as never before. Today, we have come to depend more and more on gadgets at home or at work. It is difficult to imagine a life without a cellphone, computer, digicam and iPod. Another big draw is the hospital management sector, as many are coming up in the private sector and not from the traditional system of government. With the proliferation of TV channels, the demand for mass communications has witnessed an upsurge. Over the past decade or so, media studies and mass communication studies has moved away from being a hobby, or part-time course, to a full time, career-oriented one.
The idea of a noble profession is good but to see a well qualified doctor protesting in the press enclave is not so good. Career making requires not only hard work but a through planning and counseling. It doesn’t mean killing your desires to abide your parents. We are the only beings on the planet who lead such rich internal lives that it’s not the events that matter to us, but rather, it’s how we interpret those events that will determine how we think bout ourselves and how we will act in future. One of the things that make us so special is our marvelous ability to adapt, to transform, to manipulate objects or ideas to produce something more pleasing and useful. The problem is that most of us base our decisions about what to do on what’s going to give pain or pleasure in short term instead of long term. To succeed in real sense we need to break the wall of short term pain in order to gain long term pleasure. Our youth have tremendous potential which needs to be diverted in a right direction. Let’s allow them to pursue their interests freely.