For a short while during my third year of Engineering, I had gone crazy. At least, in the sense they use the word. Avoided contact with people altogether, got extremely irritated with phone calls (still do), bunked classes, started binging and of course, was online 24/7. And no, it was not some new game addiction or some secret obsession with an online chat buddy. I was on a mission - mission to find the ideal career.
I was quite sure by then that I could never spend the rest of my life in some smelling-of-chemical lab, wearing a white coat and culturing bacteria. Of course, it was a different matter altogether that when I initially joined Biotechnology, I had dreamt of finding a cure to AIDS and getting the Nobel prize and all that but well, never mind.
So yes, coming back to the crazy period, my favourite cache word then was 'Passion'. Passion! I am going to find my passion, I would tell myself. At times, a reluctant voice would ask from within "Umm.. do people set out on a voyage to find their passion? Isn't it something that should be so burning within that you simply can't ignore it?".
Frankly, yes, it was a very valid question. But maybe my passion fire didn't have enough fuel (read support or encouragement) and so was just a tiny flame and needed a bit of my help. So I set out. I went to the local library and got all books on finding the right career, following the path,etc. My laptop was forever showing me sites with tests that showed me my destination with a five minute test (It crashed two months later).
What is interesting is, many of those tests DID help. Perhaps the results were wrong. However, the process of answering the questions is where you start thinking. And introspecting. And doing it over and over again every day suddenly brings sudden insights to you - little hints that you might have missed all along.
The results aren't all that bad either. They are not the impulsive creation of some pop psychologists. Many of them are validated and have had years of research behind.
The thing is, life is helping us know ourselves at every moment. All this time, there is one person we have been most attentive to; one person whom we have carefully monitored the reactions of and remember - ourselves. So the fact is, if you are really connected, you already know the broad truths of what we enjoy and what we do not. By taking time to think and imagine ourselves in hypothetical situations and careers, we can really tell if we would like being there or not.
The problem sets in either if we are too sure of our ability to cope and succeed where we have not been too comfortable with in the past. For e.g, say I am by nature a shy person. Of course, I know I am shy. I have seen and felt it taking hold of me at various points in time. If you ask me whether I will be the person jumping on the centre table in a party, no, that is never going to be me. Yet, a sales job comes in. I have to sell perfumes to women in front of a mall. Will I take it? Mostly no! However, if something about the job makes me 'desire' it, like say I had always had a passion for perfumes (just saying), then my need to satisfy that desire over rides my caution from past experience and makes me believe "I can be bold if I want to".
That is when I buy self-suggestion books like 'The Secret' and re-affirm every night before going to bed "I am a bold sales woman who can sell 50 perfumes bottles today".
The need might not always have to be satisfaction of a desire. It could also be desperation. If I am starving for the next meal, then I am not surely going to be foolish enough to wait for a temperament-fit perfect job. I will do anything it takes to buy the next grub.
Again, in the previous case, if it just is not about having basal money but a 'desire' to get rich enough, then I start working hard on the job, though it doesn't come natural to me.
I am thinking for many people, money and respect (status) from others for having a 'reputed' job continue to be the main 'desire' driving factors for sticking to something. This is not to say that they are unhappy within. You are unhappy only when there is a conflict; when you KNOW you are in the wrong place and still continue there. What I am saying is, these people don't even realize, perhaps. For them, stuff like 'ideal' job is a dreamer's fantasy.
"Every job has its negatives. Of course, mine gets boring at times. What to do? That is life! I get good money, I have a good house and take vacation twice a year. I indulge in photography for hobby and have time to read. What more can I ask for?", they say.
Another favorite dialogue of theirs - "There is nothing you cannot do. It is just a mental trap."
In a way, I kinda agree. There is nothing we cannot do. That is, once we have become so liberated that our mind gets detached from everything and approaches everything with interest. Nirvana. The brain starts functioning at a higher place and you break the barriers of temperament and aptitude.
However, are all these people liberated? I find it hard to believe that. They are just in the other end of the spectrum - restricted thought and imagination.
IMO, at mortal levels we are not suited for all jobs equally. Some definitely go better with us than others. It is a fact and not an idealistic fantasy. I know. Because, today, I am definitely feeling more complete than I did at Engineering.