WRITTEN BY R. NANJAPPA                        

Post No. 8465

Date uploaded in London – – – 7 August 2020   

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Pictures are taken from various sources for spreading knowledge; this is a non- commercial blog. Thanks for your great pictures.


R. Nanjappa


of us come from the great middle class. We lead small, insignificant lives! We have to study something – we do not have much choice, especially if we belong to the so called ‘forward ‘ communities! Then hunt for jobs. Here too there is not much choice! One has to take what comes along. And stick to it.

In recent years, the expanding IT sector offered job opportunities. But these jobs do not constitute a steady career, as in the old days. There is much job-hopping and mid-stream changes. Plus the constant pressure of keeping abreast of changes and learning new tricks. Happily, the youngsters have learned to live with such phenomena. But no one can say how long these trends will last, given the furious pace of technological change. 


The need to get some govt approved qualification and get a job weighs so heavy on the minds of youngsters that they have forgotten to dream and develop any greater vision! They have to choose subjects and select courses that have immediate market relevance. How many can afford to dream of being artists, poets, writers, inventors? Our educational system, still largely following the colonial contours, is directly linked to the job market; yet, it only delivers clerks! We still think of employment, not enterprise! And yet, surveys say that 50% of our graduates, including engineering graduates, are not employable!

The situation is made complex by the social changes that have taken place in the last 2-3 decades: especially the disintegration of the joint family which acted as a social safety net. Today a person cannot take for granted the support of an elder sibling or an uncle or other member of the extended family, till he is able to stand on his own. 

Employment is not everything

Even if one has a steady, high paying job, one has to retire and then all the accumulated knowledge and so called experience count as nothing! When one looks back on a career of even 3+ decades, what can one count as one’s big achievements? Those working in a hierarchy can hardly out-perform the system. Exceptionally good things will be appropriated by bosses or stolen by others, or simply suppressed. In bureaucratic hierarchies, creativity will often invite trouble. It is safe to run with the pack. See what happens to our Administrative services: attracting so called bright people, it turns into a buffalo service- hard to move! As the famous Peter Principle states:

In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of Incompetence.

Hierarchies nourish mediocrity, foster incompetence, crush creativity. 

What people with middle class background fail to realise is that no matter how high they rise in a hierarchy, they can hardly call anything their own in their working space!  They are basically time servers- one day they will be out! Official life is only a part of their total life, and for many these days, the retirement years can be quite long! They will feel an emptiness around them, in them, if they have failed to develop other aspects of their life and personality. Big sounding official designation is not the mark of true greatness or real achievement.

How we lose dreams

Most normal persons have dreamt of big things at some stage while young. Most of us have felt we are good at something sometime or other. But we become our own critics and dismiss them as unrealistic and unattainable. We race with time, anxious for quick employment, and settle to a routine as the system will shape or allow.
While a job can often be an immediate necessity, it need not be a killer of dreams! We are under no orders to show quick results as for realising our dreams! While the job is for the belly, our dreams can be pursued to nourish our soul!

We may not all of us dream of becoming industrial tycoons or Narayana Murthys. But we are surely good at something? We surely love a subject? We do like an art or literature? What prevents us from pursuing these interests life long? 


Most self-help and motivational books focus on the short-run, the quick results, offering quick-fix solutions for success here and now. But how many great people did really achieve their greatness in such quick fashion?


Tom Butler-Bowdon has written a fascinating book dispelling the myth of quick success or short cut to greatness.

[Book cover shown here for purely educational purpose.

Published by Virgin Books, 2014. (Random House Group company.)Photo of my personal copy.]

The problem with modern life is the sense of urgency, haste or hurry that is forced upon us from all corners. Tom  Butler-Bowdon quotes Richard Koch:

” Most people overestimate what they can achieve in a year, but underestimate what they can achieve in a decade.”

In fact, most of us in regular employment do not think of any achievement at all except playing the hierarchical musical chair!

image of Tom Butler

                                  ***                          to be continued

Tags – Never too late, Tom butler, books, to read

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