I complete five years of professional work experience this month. Half a decade.
Half a decade spent in front of a laptop, talking to excels and ppts, rushing into and out of airports, providing my two cents and more at (sometimes inane) meetings.
Half a decade of not experiencing an evening jog on a Monday, not getting to travel the world at leisure, not resting in a hammock with a book in hand, not letting go of a buzzing BB while on holiday.
Five years back, when I was preparing for campus placements, the questions that worried me the most were “Why do you want to choose this career?”, “How do you see yourself fitting into this profile”, “Where do you see yourself ten years from now?” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”. I remember wanting to tell interviewers, out of sheer desperation, that chocolate is really my biggest weakness.
I used to wonder then whether I had wasted 22 years of existence learning math and theoretical computer science and marketing and strategy, without learning about my strengths and weaknesses.
Today, I can wax eloquent about my strengths and weaknesses. I am thankful to my five years for that. More importantly, I am thankful to my thousand mistakes.
Mistakes are what make man perfect, they say. I do not have a view on perfection. But, I do have a view on mistakes and choices that turn out to be mistakes. At any given point in time, we choose a particular path because it makes sense to us, it makes us happy. However, over a period, despite battling through the path, if the choice doesn’t work, it is time to cut the losses and move on. There is no such thing as a “wrong choice”. It is only wrong if we figure out that something isn’t working for us and still go on living with it.
Strange as it may be, these five years of work have taught me more about “living” than 18 years of classroom learning. It is strange because my friends say “Get a life” more often now than ever before. It is strange, also because at times I do wonder whether education is over-rated.
If I try uttering that statement, my mother says, “You have just got arrogant with all the education you were able to have.” Perhaps, she is right. But, then again, I have no way of knowing now. For, that’s a choice I made, and I have to move on from there.
It has been an exhausting five years of work. An exhilaratingly interesting and exhausting five years of work. If the coming years turn out to be anything like the ones gone by, I wouldn’t mind the rush and the stress and the “not having a life” bit so much.
Make your own mistakes, fight your own battles.For, the war is long and hard, and only with yourself.