I walked through the office reception when I saw this guy sitting there, his head buried in his hands and sweat on the forehead. I went to him and asked him if he was okay. He told me he was fine, but just a little worried and tensed about the interview that he was here for. He later told me he was here for a job interview for the post of lecturer and that he had been trying for this job for quite some time now.
I gave him my contact card and asked him to contact or meet me in my chamber once he is done with his interview. About a couple of hours later, he came in my cabin and I offered him a seat. He instantly asked me if we could go down for a cup of tea in the canteen. I agreed as it was nearly lunch time. I introduced him to some other close colleagues of mine there and moved towards the canteen together.
I came to know that this guy had left a well-settled job in a big firm after 8 years of experience, just because he had realised it was not where he wanted to be. He was keen on research and reading, instruction and academic discussions and all he got to do at his workplace was to deal with clients and get as many projects for the company as he can. Though this fetched him a lot of money and incentives, he could clearly hear his soul disproving of the status quo. So, one fine day he quit the job.
A week later, his aunt was diagnosed with cancer and in the next 6 months two things happened – her aunt’s treatment cost him a fortune and much family stress and he could not land into an academic position which would give him decent pay and also respect his industry experience. Since he did not have a higher postgraduate degree, that did not fare well for him. So in a year’s time, he had lost on his savings a big time and the frustration of not getting a decent academic position frustrated him.
He said, he realized one day that things were really bad, when his daughter one day asked him, whether she should write “working/unemployed” in the annual student database for her school. He then decided to try for this college one last time or simply go back and join the world where he came from. I was really amazed why he would leave that lucrative a job in the first place, he could have still continued as a guest faculty in major institutions. But there was something he told me that day which I will probably never ever forget in my life.
He told me he would never compromise on his dream and his love. If he could not keep up to his own ambitions and expectations, what else must he expect from the entire universe? I expect myself to stand this test of time.
And now, 3 years down the line, when I rethink what that man said it seems to be nothing but raw truth. You simply cannot and should not keep things that you love doing away for the sake of things which are “forced” on you. By force, I do not mean forced by an individual or a part of society. Maybe it was the conditions that forced you do that. Maybe you wanted to do an internship with a non-profit but had an education loan to clear off and so many other scenarios. But what is important is to understand that the forced has to one day give way to the loved. The forced has to give up to let the loved surge. The forced has to sacrifice for the loved to enjoy. When this happens, heart and mind both find solace in the situations.
That person is today a full-time lecturer in an even better university and has been completely enjoying his stint as an academician. He has already presented and has been published at a number of journals and magazines of repute. He also has been selected as the industry interface for a conglomeration of a few institutes together where he undertakes the industry interaction. It is inspiring to see how his “forced life” has come in handy for the “loved life”.
Always Ranting, Rantzaada.