If Only We Could Just Do What Makes Us Happy (And Get Paid For It)

Posted on July 17, 2016 in Society

By Himanshi Bhatnagar:

“Ah! I’m taking training to be better at a job I hate!” says a girl to her friend in one of the episodes of my favourite TV shows and the first thought that struck me was, “Hey, I know that feeling!” Trained as a coder, happy as a writer, I don’t hate my job as a software engineer but this is not my dream job either. As I was thinking about this the next day in my office, I looked around. It was a normal Monday morning and people were returning to their routine lives after the weekend. Everybody loves weekends. It’s the time when we go back to being ourselves for a while and recharge our batteries. Some of us like to go out and have fun while some just prefer staying indoors and resting. Some people find time to develop a new hobby or enjoy old ones. Travelling, shopping, boozing, sleeping, writing, partying; everyone has their own way of preparing themselves for the next 5 days of the ‘job’. Wouldn’t it be great if the weekend didn’t end? If we could just do whatever it is that makes us happy and get paid for it? If we didn’t have to be all ‘logical’ while picking up a career path?

I was still preoccupied with this stuff when one of my colleagues came back from a meeting with his manager. Apparently, the poor guy had no “clarity of work” and all the work he had done during the previous week was equated to null in just 15 minutes of the meeting. “What will you do now?” I asked. “Look for another job, do something else!” he replied. Both of us knew the hollowness in those words. It was then that I asked him the question I had been pondering over for so long.

“If I tell you that in this moment of time, you can be anything you wish to be, I give you all the resources you need for that and you are free from all the expectations of your family and society, if money was not one of the driving factors for work, would you still be working in the same field?” It took him longer to understand the question than to find an answer. We are so used to living in this reality that we take time to comprehend if someone tells us to stop for a while and imagine a perfect world for a moment. “Travel…If only I could get paid for that,” he replied, turning back to his desktop.

As I asked the same question to my other friends, it turned out that travelling was the most voted for ‘hypothetically perfect profession’. Some wanted to see all the big cities of this world while some would love to go to the not-so-famous locations. Most people didn’t have a particular destination in mind when they chose travelling over their current job but some were very particular in their answers. For example, one of the respondents wanted to travel to the highest and lowest points on the earth.

Travelling was the most common but not the only answer that I got. Meera (name changed), who has been working in the IT sector for more than a year now, says she would like to be a motivational speaker. “I would like to take up a job where I can actually inspire people and, maybe, make a difference in their lives. Also, I think I want to do it because I know I am good at stuff like that,” she added, as her fingers ran onto her keyboard.

Meera is one of those many people who wish to do something in their lives but are currently in an entirely different field. But I also found some people whose dreams are not that different from the reality. Rajat (name changed), for instance, wants to be a game developer. He wants to make a game that would continue to be associated with his name once he’s gone. A similar example is Smita (name changed) who would, someday, like to be a big name in the field of cyber security. Rajat and Smita are both currently working as Assistant Software Engineers.

Unlike Rajat and Smita, others have a wide gap between where they are and where they want to be and not being able to picture a way to reach the latter, have labelled it as a “childhood dream”. Such a list of unfulfilled dreams comprises joining the armed forces, being a pilot, starting a business of their own, getting into the Indian cricket team and many more. But some people have not stopped chasing their dream yet. Akash (name changed), for example, would like to be a social worker. At present, he is one of the most sought-after coders in his company and his WhatsApp status reads “Happy and content”. But I don’t think he is content with his current job as he says there still is scope for changing the field.

One of the answers that surprised me came from a person who, I always thought, loved his job as a coder. “I don’t want to do this work,” says Piyush (name changed) as he turns his system off at 8:47 p.m. and knows that he’ll be coming an hour before his usual time the next day. He wants a simple life where he can find time for himself. One more person who finds it difficult to fit into this fast moving life of NCR is Kuljeet (name changed). Kuljeet comes from a small town in Punjab and wishes to go back to his hometown more than anything else in the world. “Oh jee, mujhe na achhi ni lagdi ye Dilli-NCR ki zindagi. Mujhe bass ek chhoti si 15-20 hazaar ki koi naukri mil jaye jo ghar ke paas ho…(I don’t like the Delhi-NCR life. I just want a job near my home even if the salary is only 15-20 thousand),” says Kuljeet who has been working in Noida for nearly two years now and is earning way more than the “15-20 hazaar” he yearns for. This, I must say, was the most heart-breaking answer I got.

Some of the bizarre answers I had not really expected also came from those whose imagination really took to their heads and they started picturing their hobby as a profession. One of the respondents said he would like to be a full-time movie critic, while another one wanted to be a real super-hero. Who am I to judge!

Everyone has their own dreams. A majority of people would like to do something that is entirely different from what they are doing now. If only the imaginary situation presented to them was real and heart and intuition were the only driving forces.

All in all, it was a good experience seeing people take a minute out of their lives to think ‘what they would be, if they could be’. But the question I had started asking just for fun and out of a little curiosity made me realise that ‘logical thinking’ has killed more dreams than anything else. We all have that stack of dreams lying in the corner of our hearts, waiting to be chased. If only it was that easy to take the road not taken.

Featured image for representation only. Credit: matt.be/Flickr.