Memory Gap.

My brother Arvind and I had not spoken to each other for a couple of weeks and so I called him up to enquire how things were with him. While chatting about various things we came to discussing our sons and their careers.

Arvind’s son Deepak has recently relocated to Dubai to set up a branch for his employers. He is a much sought after professional in his field and while discussing his career Arvind mentioned that he could have done better had he taken up another offer that he had received earlier in his career.

He however commented that he was neither asked for nor offered any advice in the matter and pontified that neither he nor I would have either asked for or taken advice from our parents at that age. I also shared the information that my son Ranjan neither seeks nor takes my advice on his career and I don’t mind. I also said that the so called generation gap is nothing but a memory gap!

All the children in India and the two Rajgopaul boys in the UK have settled down to good careers and their parents are quite happy that they have all turned out as they have. There is no need for us to worry about them.

Anxieties of parents outrun actual experiences of children!

The Best Career Advice Ever.


A Guy Asked Mike Rowe For Career Advice. The Response He Got Is Something Everyone can learn from.

Mike Rowe is best known as host of The Discovery Channel’s ‘Dirty Jobs’. The TV personality is hugely popular and gets a ton of fan mail, but one particular letter really caught his attention: a young fan had written to him in search of career advice. Rowe’s response was brilliant – when you read it, you’ll see why.

Hey Mike!

I’ve spent this last year trying to figure out the right career for myself and I still can’t figure out what to do. I have always been a hands on kind of guy and a go-getter. I could never be an office worker. I need change, excitement, and adventure in my life, but where the pay is
steady. I grew up in construction and my first job was a restoration project. I love everything outdoors. I play music for extra money. I like trying pretty much everything, but get bored very easily. I want a career that will always keep me happy, but can allow me to have a family and get some time to travel. I figure if anyone knows jobs its you so I was
wondering your thoughts on this if you ever get the time!

Thank you!– Parker Hall.

Here’s Rowe’s brilliant reply:

Hi Parker,

My first thought is that you should learn to weld and move to North Dakota. The opportunities are enormous, and as a “hands-on go-getter,” you’re qualified for the work. But after reading your post a second time, it occurs to me that your qualifications are not the reason you can’t find the career you want.

I had drinks last night with a woman I know. Let’s call her Claire. Claire just turned 42. She’s cute, smart, and successful. She’s frustrated though, because she can’t find a man. I listened all evening about how difficult her search has been. About how all the “good ones”
were taken. About how her other friends had found their soul-mates, and how it wasn’t fair that she had not.

“Look at me,” she said. “I take care of myself. I’ve put myself out there. Why is this so hard?” “How about that guy at the end of the bar,” I said. “He keeps looking at you.” “Not my type.”“Really? How do you know?”“I just know.”“Have you tried a dating site?” I asked. “Are you kidding? I would never date someone I met online!”  “Alright. How about a change of scene? Your company has offices all over – maybe try living in another city?” “What? Leave San Francisco? Never!” “How about the other side of town? You know, mix it up a little. Visit different places. New museums, new bars, new theaters…? ”She looked
at me like I had two heads. “Why the hell would I do that?”

Here’s the thing, Parker. Claire doesn’t really want a man. She wants the “right” man. She wants a soul-mate. Specifically, a soul-mate from her zip code. She assembled this guy in her mind years ago, and now, dammit, she’s tired of waiting!!

I didn’t tell her this, because Claire has the capacity for sudden violence. But it’s true. She complains about being alone, even though her rules have more or less guaranteed she’ll stay that way. She has built a wall between herself and her goal. A wall made of conditions and expectations. Is it possible that you’ve built a similar wall?

Consider your own words. You don’t want a career – you want the “right” career. You need
“excitement” and “adventure,” but not at the expense of stability. You want lots of “change” and the “freedom to travel,” but you need the certainty of “steady pay.” You talk about being “easily bored” as though boredom is out of your control. It isn’t. Boredom is a choice. Like tardiness. Or interrupting. It’s one thing to “love the outdoors,” but you take it a step further. You vow to “never” take an office job. You talk about the needs of your family, even though that family doesn’t exist. And finally, you say the career you describe must “always” make you “happy.”

These are my thoughts. You may choose to ignore them and I wouldn’t blame you
– especially after being compared to a 42 year old woman who can’t find love. But since you asked…

Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what
you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a
job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.

Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way the feel. But trust me, Parker. Those people are mistaken. That was a big lesson from Dirty Jobs, and I learned it several hundred times before it stuck. What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you.Good luck –


Should We Have Children?


One of my young friends, recently married to a highly successful professional asked me this question while discussing some personal matters with me.

I did not take even a moment to answer in the affirmative because parenting is such a joy and something without an equivalent in human emotional well being.

The discussion however turned towards more practical matters like the careers, sacrifices to be made by one or both of them, financial implications etc, and at the end of it all, we came to the conclusion that it would be better if they waited a while to approach the topic again.

The reason for the postponement revolves around two major factors, current liabilities that the two of them are committed to in terms of loans taken to finance their education, followed by the loans taken to finance the purchase of their accommodation, furniture, vehicles etc; and the high cost of the process of bringing up a child or children considering the expenses involved in the confinement, early stages of parenting, followed by the cost of educating the child/ren.

None of the items listed for discussion could have been omitted and sheer logic prevailed at the end.

Like other older people, I too sounded like a nostalgia nut when I talked about my own and Urmeela’s experiences bringing Ranjan into the world and seeing him grow up. But the world has moved on since those days, and the young people now are not willing to undergo the kind of lives we had to go through for that pleasure. They would rather sacrifice parenting so that they could have a standard of living that is so attractive now.

During my parents’ time producing children was like taking out insurance for one’s old age in a society that did not have and still does not have for the vast majority of Indians the safety network that the West offers. In our time, it was for the pleasure of having children and both motives have now been overtaken by sheer economics to say no to parenting!

I think that it is very sad. What about you?

The Rat Race.


“I don’t want to join the rat race.
Not be enslaved by machines,
bureaucracies, boredom, ugliness.
I don’t want to be a moron, robot, commuter.
I don’t want to become a fragment of a person.

I want to do my own thing.
I want to live (relatively simply).
I want to deal with people, not with masks.
People matter. Nature matters.
Beauty matters. Wholeness matters.
I want to be able to care.”

~ E. F. Schumacher in Small Is Beautiful.

I have a young friend Pravin with all the right qualifications to get good employment in modern India, who has in fact got a well paying job, except that he has to live in Mumbai. He is prolific with his twitter tweets and facebook posts and also a dedicated blogger. He is a delightful person to know and I consider myself fortunate to have him in my life.

He however has a problem that almost all young people in our work force have. A sense of helplessness, living a life of no purpose. Commuting and the repetitive nature of his work is frustrating, but he is stuck.

This is not an unusual scenario anywhere in the world and I am sure that all my readers will know some one or the other in a similar situation.

To cheer him up, I thought that I should post this. I anticipate his response to be, “You can afford to be like Schumacher, after having lived your life and when you are in your retirement. It is different for us younger people in the work force today. Things were different in your days.”

To that, I would like to inform my young friend that no, things were not different and my generation also had very frustrating times, but that is likely to fall on deaf years. So, to at least get him to have a good laugh, let me add this little forward that I received from another young friend who is in a different kind of trouble.