Way back in 1985 when I was commanding an Army  Station Workshop, I asked my two year old son what he wanted to become when he grew old. Without any second thought he said he would like to become the driver of a Coles crane. I knew what he meant because that was the most intricate technical feat he used to witness in the immediate vicinity of the workshop. Our Coles crane was lifting major assemblies from vehicles and equipment under repair. Probably, he would have got a much more satisfying reaction from me if he had answered “an engineer”. Today’s five or six year old would like to answer “I haven’t decided between software engineer or a VJ”. All of this is probably very harmless because children seem to enjoy this little game as much as adults do. But just a few years later the same question can become terrifying if teenagers feel pressured to set out on the impossible task of trying to second-guess what high school speciality or college major will be best prepare them for the future course of their life

Thinking that appearances are everything, the ego naturally concludes that you are what you do . During our middle span of life the seemingly affable question “ what do you do?” really means.” Are you somebody ?”and most of us think far too much about how to word our answer. Should some stranger at a party ask us the question, even though, we just took a moment to look at our feelings we would really do not care what a stranger thinks of us. It is only our ego that attempts to judge and being quite blind, all it can see is other person’s ego. This common social line of attack and counterattack has so very little to do with what people are at their core that you would think it would be self-evident that a person’s means of earning a living reveals only the most superficial and insignificant information about what he or she is, and yet the issue of career has become a source of great unhappiness. So, if you wish to be happy, you must free yourself completely from this point of view.

Tail piece

You are not what you do; you are how you do it.

– Brig K Harikumar, Ex-Dean FIET , 15 Nov 1996

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