We at Navigus
, were curious to know how working professionals had gone about choosing their career paths, and how fruitful their methods have been for them. So, without telling them what we were after, we asked a bunch of them, a string of questions, which really got them (and us) thinking. Though they all are in an occupation right now, they all feel they would have been in a much better place a lot sooner if only they had coordinated their education with their career. In our series of interviews, here’s the first one, featuring Anurag Chaudhury, a legal advisor in New Delhi, India.
Q: Tell us about yourself
A: I am Anurag Chaudhury, a qualified lawyer, but I don’t work in the legal field as such. Currently I am working for a small company, helping them get set up and go through the regulatory framework. Now I am trying to widen my approach and get more clients.
Q: How did you decide to become a lawyer?
A: I kinda stumbled into it. By accident.
Q: How did you end up choosing the subjects that you did choose?
A: Well, it was completely dependent on the peer group that I was in, and my family; extended family especially, not even my immediate family. And my older brother as well. I saw him have a horrible time with science group in the 12th standard. I didn’t want to follow him. So I chose commerce as a stream. My initial idea was to get into management because that was the closest thing to what I had imagined myself doing. But after 12th standard, I couldn’t figure out what to do because my marks were not good enough to get me into the good universities for a bachelors degree. But I was very good at taking entrance exams, and law colleges in India had only one criteria; entrance exams.
Q: If you had access to a system that could have counseled you, would you have opted for that?
A: See, the school I went to had a counseling department, and I was counseled a bit. But I don’t think they tested me well enough to understand my aptitude and direction I should be going. And they had a very short list of possible careers. So they tested about 150 students, and only 10 options given to all of them. The services and these opportunities existed, but they were of such low quality that they were more than useless. I would much rather not have had that counseling service that I got. I would love for the future generations at least to have a much better counseling service, but honestly, from my experiences, I am pretty suspicious of the counselors that I’ve had.
I don’t think the counselors tested me well enough to understand my aptitude and direction I should be going. And they had a very short list of possible careers. So they tested about 150 students, and only 10 options given to all of them.
Q: Do you think there could have been a better field that would be a better fit for you, with more chances of professional and monetary growth?
A: My career has been full of accidents because I was never inspired to do what I wanted to do and didn’t put in the work that needed to be put in. Other than that, the people who were advising me would advice me in directions they had no idea about. Forget about first hand experience, they didn’t even have a second hand experience. My dad told me to get a degree in commerce because he got his commerce degree in the 70’s. He didn’t actually know what a commerce degree contains and what it entails in this age.
Q: What is your daily routine at work? Did you think it will be this when you started college?
A: Honestly, when I chose it, I thought I’d be like those popular action-packed lawyer they portray in movies. But then I saw how the work actually happens. It was essentially 95% boredom and 5% action, so I didn’t want to do that. Then I thought I’d go for a comfortable corporate life, but then again, the comfortable corporate life was really boring endlessly repetitive work. I even thought of getting into more of a human rights perspective; save the world, and all of that. So, the first job I ever took after graduating from law school was with a non-governmental organization based out of eastern UP and Delhi, but the nature of job was horrible because we had to depend on patronage of politicians and bureaucrats who make you not want to do it. So I stopped doing it, and then stumbled upon this. Essentially, I have been stumbling upon one thing after the other, somehow making money to feed my coffee addiction.
A vast majority of the professionals have vague or no idea at all as to why they pick a course and where it would eventually lead them. Just like Anurag here who says it is because he didn’t get relevant advice from experienced peers, they all had their reasons which are the practical problems students today face. Stay tuned for more such interviews.
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