The Dynamics Of Our Career
“The 2 most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why” –Mark Twain
Do we realise that we perhaps couldn’t have quoted the above quote if Mark Twain dwelt into the complexities and calculations before he pursued his flair of writing and enthralled his readers for years? And didn’t he have enough money to channelize his passions further after he began with his career in writing? Yes, be it J.K.Rowling (as mentioned in the article refuted), a sportsperson, a musician or any popular entity, everyone did make a beginning one day or the other and flourished in their quest for excellence.
If Einstein had given in to his teacher’s theory, we would have still strangers to many mysteries of science. If Zuckerberg wouldn’t have dropped out of school, fearing the economic ramifications of his decisions, then social networking would have been an elusive dream. If Sachin Tendulkar had tried satiating his parents with academic heroics, then we wouldn’t have had a Cricketing demigod today. And didn’t they have economic considerations to make? They would have faced several struggles economically, physically, mentally and socially, but yes, they came out victorious. Now one might argue that they were the best, but they did start one day like so many other people do.
So Passion could be defined as a strong feeling or affinity towards a particular objective. Here, passion should not be confused with obsession. Obsession is a type of inflated, uncontrolled passion, which curbs the ability to think reasonably and be flexible in the means to handle the conquest. It is not always a filmy story, but there are real life heroes too, who seal their fate by following their passions. A fairy tale script is not pre-written, it is created.
Now let’s consider the economic underpinnings of following passion and explore their validity.
1- Crowding out Labour effects: The proposition of people getting incomes in proportion to their skills and the work they are doing, does make sense. But the mediocre mind-set of just making a living out of any profession is the reason for the crowding out effect. There is a huge demand for labour, but interestingly in India, the supply largely outweighs the demand, leading to encouragement to the mentality of doing mundane and menial work.
The idea of having to be the best, if you try the road less taken by, like in music, sports and art, is primarily because these fields have been unable to evolve as an industry, especially in India, and hence, there is hardly any encouragement in those fields. Hence it turns out to be a vicious circle. There is hardly any platform to promote activities that are not considered main stream. But if people persevere on their passion, then they definitely make it big, examples being the reality shows like India’s got talent, where people portray their passions and make it big, if they do deserve it.
2- Network Effects: Talking about the whimsical consumer tastes, it persists in each and every career we talk about. Not just in music or art, we do see bosses doing erratic appraisals, teachers doing wayward evaluations and markets crashing on random reasons. Everything is based on the perception of the group involved and the fickleness of the market is not limited to some particular fields. And the story of “The Cuckoo’s Calling” hardly vindicates the theory as even she was a beginner one day.
3- Difficulties in Market Segmentation
The author talked about market segmentation with respect to businesses while talking about products (Lexus and Camry) and services whereas an individual perspective was brought in while mentioning about people in the fields of music, art and literature. There should be consistency in comparison. When we think of employees in the businesses from an individual perspective, they do have a fixed salary, no matter how the market segmentation is done. Now if we think about music or sports, from a market perspective, then a particular genre of music like rock and pop, more in demand could be sold at a higher rate and could be targeted in metros or cities and a less popular or a new genre could target a more specific market with less costs. Even in sports auctions for clubs, there are players who are auctioned for different rates every year and by a different bidder too.
Morever, is passion only about sectors less travelled by? Isn’t taking up a career in business management, law or consider any other academic arena, a passion for people as such? Why do we bias the economic underpinnings of following passion in fields of music, art and writing only? And is generalising the impact of such motives to a global context right? Definitely not. In India, we have a mental barrier to taking up any activity other than academics. The environment we live in, society and Indian culture doesn’t let those passions to flourish and that is the prime reason, why in spite of having the second largest population in the world, India lags behind in many spheres. Such is the situation that even if we have immense talents lurking in our courtyards, their passions are suppressed and their talents are equated against the wealth they could accumulate.
Is money really the sole criteria of weighing your passions and decisions in life? Even Maslow’s need hierarchy theory will refute that. As long you have enough money to satiate your day-to-day needs, we look forward for something that makes us happy, keeps us satisfied and feeds our self-esteem. And it never is the case that you can’t pursue your passion while you take a different path to fulfil your monetary requirements. In fact, at times, a thing of passion might rake in more moolah than your main profession. So why be scared about taking your passions forward? Just take the road less taken by and make the world dance to your passionate tunes!
This is an entry for the Great Indian B-School Debate
Name: Ansuman Mishra
Team Name: The Rebels
Team Mate: Akshya Kattuputhur Murali
Link to topic refuted: http://insideiim.com/the-economics-of-our-careers/