Recently, i have pondered much about my future; what do i want? what type of person am i? what should i do to prepare myself for what i want?

These are the questions i often see on flyers/email blasted out by NUS career centre, NUS entrepreneurship on a daily basis. I ignored them for two years. Not something nice eh, it’s not good to be ignorant of your own future. Well, I’m sure we all think about what we want once in awhile but rarely gives a serious thought about it, well at least for most of the people who still have long way to go before graduation (mainly refer to the people within my social circle).

I remember a quote by Steve Jobs, as he delivered his most famous speech at Stanford University Commencement few years ago, “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”. What he meant was that we should keep on searching for the thing that resonates with our heart and mind, the only way to do great things is to do what you love. If you haven’t found one, do not settle, keep searching. As inspiring and encouraging it may sound, yet it is not a particularly new formula to help one meet a successful life. In fact, our parents and friends have told us this since young. I am a devoted follower of this principle and from my point of view, it precedes many things in life. The satisfaction come from doing something great that you love is beyond what words can describe, an euphoria rush that keeps us moving on and striving hard to achieve our goal.

I’m glad to my life in university has helped me to fully understand my own personality, strengths and weaknesses, and more importantly, knowing what i want and where i belonged. When i choose Physics as my degree, it was simply because Physics was fun and rewarding. Indeed, I often do worry about my job prospect as the options for Physics graduates are relatively scarce compared to engineering. Nevertheless, over the years in Physics and KR, I have truly found what type of job I would like to embark on; analytical, challenging. Analytical skill is something I have developed as a Physics major since the process of learning Physics involved understanding of the highly abstract concepts and going through many rigorous mathematics. It is something I’m proud of. Challenging, why? I discovered this from my life in Kent Ridge Hall, especially after Rag. Challenging job means difficult problem solving, a lot of shits, but — big satisfaction. Rag was perhaps, the most challenging thing I had gone through in my entire life. Everyday I lived with intense pressure and dreading deadlines, and not to mention how many decisions I had to make every single day, and sometimes making a wrong decision can lead to very bad outcomes. But because of that, I grew more than what i had expected. Of course, that would not have been possible without the Raggers and Sushi supporting me. Currently, financial sector seems like a viable choice other than Physics field, as it involves some computational programming also, something which I’m really interested in. Nevertheless, I shall try to read up more about that, and keep my options open.

 

Krohanga @ Rag 2010

Krohanga, Buzzy Bee Factory for Manuka Honey. Represented New Zealand.

Zooming out.

It is important to do what you love to do. However, it may or may not necessarily is the best outcome for everyone and the economy may not be at its most efficient state if everyone opt to do what they “love”. Well, let me explain why. In this modern era, the younger generation is raised by the older generation, under the education system we created and hated, with one particular principle in mind, a dogma that indoctrinates millions of minds all over the world, that shaped our behavior and mindset-get a good education, study hard, then land a job as a white collar, good life, nice car, good pension . Period . The End. Yes, good education is undoubtedly important, statistics can easily prove it right, but perhaps the later part, where successful life can only be obtained through the “typical” career is skewed. Of course, we give them the choice to choose their career, we do not restrict them in certain sense. But wait, lets take a look at what kind of career we normally show them-engineers, doctors, lawyers, accountants. As such, our minds perceive what we love to do are very often, still limited to the typical career projected in our minds.

The substantial inadequacy of information about some of the most important jobs behind the driving force of our economy is hindering us from maximizing our human resources. These are the jobs you see on “Dirty Jobs” (Discovery Channel), jobs that our father, grandfather used to work on. These jobs, need no less expertise and knowledge than any engineering degree, and sometimes involve complex problem solving. These jobs are, car mechanic, plumber, electric technician and so on. My father started out as an electrical technician and he is an engineer general manager today, without any engineering degree. We know not everyone can become a great scientist or engineer, the same idea applies too in those technical jobs and etc, not everyone can become good car mechanic and chef. I always remember my mother always praised my uncle on his innovative and problem solving ability, despite he’s working only as a general technician (for almost everything). When we are promoting only those white collar jobs to the younger generation, we are selectively cutting down the human resource for non-white collar jobs as well. The next time your water pipe breaks down at home, the only person will answer to your call will no longer be the familiar hokkien speaking uncle you know already, but some jack-of-all-trade foreign worker, or worst, an Indian phone operator at Mumbai.

When was the last time you saw a public message telling your children to try on one of the jobs aforementioned. These jobs are as equally important as engineer, doctor, teacher. Today, those who are getting into technical institutions to learn these skills are often deemed to be, the “losers” of the social pyramid while we over-praise the young scholars how smart they are and how bright and pamper them with all the good things available in this world. I strongly believe, the people who are learning technical skills and perform reasonably well do deserve some recognition from the society as well. We should try to minimize the gaps between blue and white collar career that is expanding so fast already, the gap may never be truly closed due to the economic factor, but I am definitely not in favor of what’s happening now.

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