Pondering it through — Career and Calling

How often does it happen that you set your heart on a goal, chase it by taking all the right steps with complete attention to each step you’re at, so that you keep getting close to it and then eventually at some point while still quite far from it, realize you don’t want to chase it anymore? Add to it that the goal was making a career through a certain path with plenty of reasons in your mind why it is the right way to go. It is happening to me right now, and the endless pondering I’ve been doing for it is what called me to put pen to paper (well fingers to keyboard, technically).

What is this path? Yes, let’s start with that.

The path-cum-plan was to make a career in roles that play part in facilitating use of information technology as an aid to grow and even create business rather than just support it. The party has already started, with all the tech startups making real money and a name for themselves. Enterprises are I believe, marked as required attendee with serious consequences posed against them if they don’t. For an individual like me who has only just started his career...

Cue the remarkable excitement, not the destruction that follows this in Mad Max: Fury Road.

Here are the steps I had in mind :

  1. Study in USA for a Master’s program in Management Information Systems. This was partly to compensate for the lack of a formal education in IT subjects and also to see what it is like to study in an American university for myself because I had been hearing about it (and I must admit, speaking as well) for years.
  2. Take up a job at a technology services company like the big 4 or otherwise at any multinational enterprise which has large scale IT implementation so that my functions are inline with the final goals. Again, a major motivation factor was to experience the work culture of corporates in USA.
  3. Back to school — this time for a MBA. Hopefully build my ‘profile’ well by then to be able to claim a place at one of the top B-schools. Learn, network, and build a strong base for my relaunch in the corporate world.
  4. Make a long career in a time where technology is enabling us to change the world as we know it, for better.

Easy? No. But I had to have something like a ‘vision’ of who I wanted to be to keep moving, and this seemed perfect for whatever I found myself to be interested in.

After receiving the admission offers recently, I had to finally think very seriously about whether it is the ideal plan for me — especially considering the huge loan I would have had to take for covering the expenses which would resulted in my family being uncomfortable due to the posed financial risk. The fact that there’s no going back once I set sail for this voyage made me realize it extremely important that I consider every aspect of it carefully.

I concluded that I don’t want to pursue this plan after all. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, and I did take enough time while making it to avoid any impulse thinking. There are certain insights I have gathered over the whole process of researching the right universities and programs, meeting people (virtually first and then in person) who were applying for similar programs and had gotten admits from the same ones, and some research on LinkedIn for the kind of roles I could get into after it. These helped me know a lot more about what I was going to sign up for than I could have found out without even applying at all — which is why I do not regret putting the efforts, time, and money into it so far. I also know a lot more about the placed I applied at and met some fellow applicants who would be studying from this fall whom I’d like to stay connected with.

Why did I decide this? Because of a lot of reasons :

  1. Huge Loan — Although the salaries that one could get in US usually helps pay off the loans quite soon, it was still a pretty big number for me to be completely at ease with it.
  2. Interests and reality — Although the programs I applied for are posited to be one that helps its students become good at both technology and management skills, I felt that the market demand in US might force me to stay in a role similar to what I have been acting in till now. The vision of these programs still seems great and it might come true eventually for those who go through these, but I wouldn’t like to bet on that happening soon.
  3. Immigration — USA is deemed to be a land of opportunities where many have gone and made careers they can be proud of. It is also considered a front-runner in innovations that reach industries and people. In the recent times though, laws have been made stricter and with lotteries for getting visas, this point adds up to the risk from point 1 (loans).
  4. Keeping my final goal a few years away — The MS>3–4 years at work>MBA plan started to seem like ..
1, 2, 3, and go… fancy, eh?

So here I am, sitting with career plan 2.0 in my head. Borrowing a term from the agile philosphy of software development, I shall consider the last 7–8 months as my zeroth sprint! May the next sprint bring me more success.