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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ambition

I heard it said once that stuff you liked to do as a kid was an indication of what you should be when you grow up.

Well, if that were true, I guess I should've ended up as either a teacher or a writer. I remember pocketing chalk pieces from my school classroom and then taking them home and writing with it on my grandmother's bedroom wall as I pretended to teach an imaginary class. I even came up with mock exercises and wrote them in exercise books. For the writing ambition bit, I wrote stories, complete with illustrations and even attempted writing a film script in Standard 6*.

But as most life stories go, where we end up eventually can sometimes divert so far from what we initially intended or hoped.

I am now a Programmer by profession.

Quite a different skill set and job orientation as compared to what my so-called ambitions were as a child. In fact, looking back, I'd sifted through an entire spectrum of possibilities: everything from nutritionist, to singer/performer/actor, accountant, philosopher, inventor, you name it.

What does that say about who we are? Or what we become? Is the diversion evidence of an internal change of personality or preference, or is it merely a resignation to the convenient, a conforming to what is deemed as a respectable job?

Now and then I catch myself asking these questions. This being coupled by the fact that my generation is often criticised by our elders for being spoilt for choice as far as career opportunities and selection is concerned. But the truth of the matter is, in fact, that indecision plagues most of us, even in the midst of all these harboured dreams and their supposedly ample possibilities. There is this battle between settling for what is attainable, acceptable and normal, in contrast to what is desired and perhaps, a less than noble or useful career in the eyes of, say, our parents or teachers.

Well, at the end of the day, a job is sought for the earning of income. But since such a huge fraction of our time is spent on working alone, shouldn't we at least seek to find that which we are comfortable with or enjoy doing? To lessen the arduous task of keeping the career going in the long run, that is. But the world is not always kind. The most tender of dreams are often trampled underfoot in the midst of the business of daily living.

What of the kids who dreamed of being Prime Minister but only one did actually attain it? Or maybe that particular one hadn't even desired it in the first place? What if we were to all swap roles and make a beeline for the job we were meant to do instead of that which we do? How would the world change, I wonder?

Maybe, just maybe... the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of nations may sustain even better than they do presently. And perhaps the day may come where all children really do live to see their ambitions fulfilled, because society finally grasps the true meaning of a job being a right fit.

*Final year of Primary School in Malaysia

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