Now that Barack Obama has fixed the American economy, Anna Hazare has defeated Indian corruption, and the BCCI has created a sensible league format for the IPL, we can turn our attention to the remaining, smaller problems, that we can solve on our own without having to rely on these superhuman people. I suggest we start with the problem that plagues so many of us: our jobs.
JOB # 1 :: House-husband
Lots of people look down on women who stay at home instead of working, but in India you’ll find even more people who insist that they must stay at home and be housewives – Sathya Sai Baba, for example. On the other hand, almost everyone agrees that a man should under no circumstances be the home manager.
You know what? To blazes with them. If you’re so fed up with the corporate life that all you want to do is stay home and do the actual physical work while your wife’s salary provides the money to run the household, anti-career consultants will help you do it. This will include training modules on ironing, cooking, and laundry segregation, and also motivational talks on how to endure the ridicule of society. These may include videos of Goong, a Korean TV series where the heroine’s father is a house-husband who does the dusting in a pink apron, while his wife goes around selling insurance. You should watch it even if you aren’t planning to become a house-husband, actually.
JOB # 2 :: Poker Player
There are many unsavoury professions, where you make lots of money, and where you can also pretend that you’re doing something noble. For example, entering government employment meant you collected lots of bribes while passing it off as serving the public (up until yesterday when Anna Hazare vapourised corruption with sheer will power), being a urologist involves seeing diseased penises day in and day out but you can still talk about how healing the sick is your calling, and being an entrepreneur means endless hassles but you get praised for creating jobs.
Being a poker player doesn’t even have that advantage. All your winnings are being taken from other people, so you can’t claim that you’re creating wealth – it’s just being shifted around. Polite company, informed that you make your money hustling newbies at gambling, will look askance. For this anti-career path, the support group will train you in both poker and public speaking, so that you can skilfully convince everyone that your time is being well spent. (Note: this also applies to day trading.)
JOB # 3 :: Kept Woman
I would like to assure my female readers that I haven’t forgotten that they face career boredom as well. They can’t be house-husbands, but there is something they can be that draws similar censure: kept women. They will be relieved to know that the censure isn’t completely unmitigated: the Supreme Court of India does approve of keeps.
From the AUTHOR (Humour Columnist)
If all else fails, there is one unbeatable alternative to a corporate job: it is becoming a humour columnist. You get paid to write nonsense, you can work from home while wearing a faded T-shirt and shorts (or being naked, come to that). You do have deadlines, but then you don’t have customers. It is awesome.
However, as one myself, I don’t want the field getting crowded with competition, and so I am not going to provide suggestions for people who want to become columnists. They’re on their own.
But for everything else, I’m ready to provide a sympathetic ear and a helping hand. Come my brothers and sisters, let us throw off our corporate chains and embark upon GLORIOUS SLACKERHOOD!
Introduction & Preface
With support from both the judiciary and anti-career counselors, high-flying women executives will learn how to stop being high-flying women executives and be languorous ladies of leisure instead. Unfortunately, I can’t speak from personal experience here, but I think a training module would include this movie at the very least. Oh, and a friendly reminder that Kodhi, mentioned above, is rich, funny, and single.
This is something that most people don’t realise when they start – but their careers are going to be a source of frustration for them. There are the day-to-day issues, like dealing with HR, the commute to your job, and the food in the canteen. But there are also larger, more philosophical problems. About six months into your career, you start thinking “Am I really cut out for this? Should I be doing something else? Is this meaningful?”
And then you realise that you have EMIs to pay and resign yourself to your job.
Did I say that? What I meant to say was: and then you gain self-confidence, start kicking ass at your job and realise that you are actually pretty good at it. But that only lasts so often. Four years after the six month itch, you get the five-year itch, where you realise that you the problem isn’t that you’re not good enough, it’s that your job is boring. You wonder: is cross-checking cash vouchers and material received notes all there is to life? Will you ever move beyond sewerage consultancy reports? How much analysis can you subject a liability portfolio to, anyway? Once upon a time, writing code or selling soap had seemed glamorous and world-changing. Now, it is prosaic. And every year, more and more people feel this way.
The problem actually starts in our childhoods, when our parents and teachers keep insisting that we get high-paying or prestigious jobs, preferably both. Television and movies do their best to convince us to become cricketers, actors, or reality TV stars instead; but they are powerless in the face of relatives, authority figures, and motivational speakers. Here, your parents tell you to crack IIT or AIIMS. There, Chetan Bhagat tells you to fulfill your potential and become an entrepreneur. Eventually, you follow that path, and by the time you’re thirty, you’re staring at burnout, wondering what the hell you can do that is actually interesting.
Nobody is safe, no matter how interesting the job or how good the pay. My friend Kodhi, who always wanted to sell fast moving consumer goods, is doing just that, and is being paid very well to do it. Even so, he wishes for something more adventurous and exciting – though to be fair, maybe he would be happy if he found someone adventurous and exciting.
We need a solution to counteract all this motivation and push towards achievement, which just ends up giving us boring jobs. So here is my proposal: a support group for people who are fed up with the corporate life and are figuring out what they should do instead. It’s the opposite of career consulting – this is anti-career consulting, which encourages you and gives you guidance on how to enter jobs that society looks down upon, but which are actually more fulfilling.