Profession and Livelihood.

1. Profession of a man must liberate him. In most cases it binds. Without money, man can’t meet his basic materialistic and physiological needs. To earn money man has to indulge in works which are useful to the society. He has to spend long or short span of his life in acquiring the skills through education or training which the society finds most useful yet short in supply. No society would pay a man for pursuing his hobby, unless it fulfils some needs of another human being. There exists in most cases, a gap between what a man likes to do and what he is compelled to do, in order to survive in this cruel world. Destiny of all men is not the same. The amount of reconciliation and bridging between likes and compulsion determines the happiness one would derive from this material and most essential part of human existence. Most animals don’t work to earn a livelihood just as most plants. They are just there and fed as such by mother nature. Though they search and exert to fill their bellies which is practically the end of their existence needs.

2. Human beings attach much more to their profession. For them it is the source of their bread, abode, esteem, ego, mobility, intellect and life experience which varies vastly. Whether it becomes source of happiness and contentment depends on the individual Karmic collections and destiny of the individual. The practitioners of Sanatan Hindu Astrology claim to throw light on the type of profession and level of success an individual’s Karmic collections and destiny reflect. Personally, I believe that a proficient and pious practitioner can predict this aspect with accuracy.

3. The very mention of the word ‘profession’ rings many bells in everyone’s mind. One of the most confusing question which every man has to address at least twice in his life. Once for his own-self and second time for his children. The Bollywood movie ‘3 Idiots’ is a wonderful and hilarious watch on the theme of profession. Not everyone is fortunate enough though, to be able to choose one. Mostly it is thrust upon a person by the circumstances, society, parents and even his own misconceptions about what one is best suited to. I do not find it out of context to quote one of the sayings from the wise.

It is strange to know why people keep running away from their destinies when it is so difficult to live up-to it”.

4. We address the topic of profession with the above quote as the starting point. It is not easy decipher what one is born to do in life. The question is a big and mysterious one. We are also compelled to de link education from profession since today we see most Engineers, Art and Commerce Graduates working as Managers. Leaving chartered accountancy, almost all types of education backgrounds today culminate into an MBA degree. Everyone around us seems to be donning the portfolio of a manager or administrator. Where are the people who simply want to excel in any particular field rather than be a jack of all trades and a manager generally or may be an administrator. We have lost them to the perks and powers which these do fields fetch with lesser amount of effort. The situation is no different for the Government jobs. We have brilliant doctors, engineers, artists, scientists, accountants and philosophers giving up their excellence and the joy of mastering a field (which may be yet to mature) for a security and power which a Government job brings along with its social dignity and appreciation, especially in the Indian sub- continent.

5. During the early stages, almost every person is inclined to believe that he is born to pursue the profession he finds most glamorous at that particular stage in life. As a person grows he starts getting inclined to the professions with most materialistic benefits, fame and glamour. In case his earlier chosen profession allows him time to think, he may start an analysis of his suitability for a particular profession in a while and unless his parents have not introduced the new excitement in his life i.e. the marriage which follows a settled profession soon enough in the natural course. If he gets married, the increased responsibilities and dependence prevents him to stick to the profession which can bring financial stability and affluence to his family. If the education is completed with loans and borrowings the chances of choosing diminish further since a person expects proportionate returns from his profession from the day one. So, you see there is a very small window through which the guiding light can come in and show a person what he is born to do. This is besides the cases where children carry the unrealized dreams of their parents in professional lives. Parents can play an important role in helping their child streamline his energies for getting into the profession he is born to pursue.

6. The early childhood interests of a child hold the key. The most basic differentiation is outdoor vs indoor orientation. The next one is about life and non-life things. Some kids like to remain engrossed in those simple machines their early stage toys are made up of. A girl child I invariably interested I playing life characters with her dolls, in which a male child may seldom indulge.

7. Females have a natural orientation for jobs which have maximum shades of white i.e. the professions in which theory and practice are quite close to one another. Let us take the example of outdoor orientation professions. Aviation, shipping and surface transport. You would notice that ratio of women employee vis a vis the males in aviation is much higher whether they be pilots, hostesses or ground staff. Aviation as we all know is a highly regulated and rule compliant sector. There are negligible deviations from the laid down procedures. Surface transport followed by shipping are the lesser regulated sectors with outdoor orientation and they have a negligible presence of female employees. Banking, Medical and Information Technology which too work in a highly controlled and disciplined environment have a bigger ratio of female employees as compared to other fields.

8. We also notice that jobs involving repetitive work routines have a larger population of female employees. We see a larger female work force in secretarial, retail and back office as compared to the males who are larger in number in marketing and general administration. Another field where females totally rule the bastion is teaching and education till school level. Dealing with children requires the highest level of patience and sensitivity which in my view only females possess and we must respect them value them even more for handling and bringing our future generations up, an area in which males could cause disasters.

9. The issue here is not about superiority or inferiority of any profession. It is more about suitability of persons with certain universal qualities and personality traits into different professions. Preceding discussion allows us to broadly divide the suitability of professions into female and male oriented classification with a large number of exceptions though. So, we have the first major conclusion about a general likelihood of suitability on the basis on regulated and unregulated sectors broadly on the basis of gender.

10. Adventurous or non- adventurous aptitude is the next major field to give us the input. Some kids enjoy the thrill of uncertainties and expect the unexpected. Unfortunately, in India the sole focus is on academics. A child who has interests other than education is usually not looked up on. The pressures from society and in turn the parents prevent many a talented lot from achieving satisfaction and glory from fields besides academics where they struggle for the most fruitful and major part of their lives.

11. In our view the most important object of profession is to liberate a man from bondages of maintaining his human form for which he needs his daily bread with dignity, decent place of abode and source of mobility. Beyond this the needs are related to ego and esteem, until they reach the state of self- actualisation.

12. Quite often the profession itself becomes the source of biggest bondage leaving no time and opportunity for a person to derive satisfaction from other equally important spheres of human life namely family, art, spiritualism and public service. Some professions engage a person so badly that they bind a person no less than the prison walls allowing activities inside the limited space within them and no other. It is not too difficult to look around and identify these. Transport including aviation, Medical, Policing, Catering and Hospitality, Information Technology are some of the fields which have many portfolios which demand a lifetime as the bare minimum. There is one theory from sociology which could be best employed here for understanding the types of human needs which most may trying to achieve through their profession or livelihood. It is the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. 

13. Abraham Harold Maslow (1908 – 1970) was an American psychologist who was best known for creating the theory of hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization. Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of human curiosity. His theory runs parallel to many other theories of human developmental psychology on describing the stages of growth in humans. Maslow used the terms “physiological”, “safety”, “belonging” and “love”, “esteem”, “self-actualization”, and “self-transcendence” to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through. The goal of human development stage as per Maslow’s Theory is to attain the final level of stage: self- actualisation or the transcendent needs.

14. Maslow studied ordinary and extra ordinary people such as Albert EinsteinJane AddamsEleanor Roosevelt, and their likes rather than mentally ill or neurotic people, writing that “the study of crippled, stunted, immature, and unhealthy specimens can yield only a cripple psychology and a cripple philosophy.” Maslow studied the healthiest 1% of the college student population and wrote about the crippled what he did. Maslow’s theory was fully expressed by him in his 1954 book ‘Motivation and Personality’. The theory is a very popular framework in sociology research, management, secondary and higher psychology instruction and ultimately all the private and social behaviour a human being indulges in. Below is a picture presentation of his theory.


15. The needs are rarely interchangeable in hierarchy and mostly work from the bottom to top. The higher needs are mostly subservient and emerge only after the fulfilment of lower ones. A person, who has reached self -actualization, the highest of all levels of the human need, when deprived of physiological needs may fall down to the bottom level of yearnings, bypassing the ones in between except for people who are at the extremely high spiritual level and live without food or even water. In our view, transmutation between the I and IV level is highly possible and probable, bypassing the middle three needs though.

16. The next level of needs in the model namely esteem and accomplishment relate to the quality, quantity and talent put in to the field of work rather than the professional growth. Though external growth appears to be a source of contentment, in truth it is a mirage on the aspects of internal contentment, self -esteem and sense of accomplishment. Mostly people attain this level do so irrespective and irrelevant of the professional recognition or otherwise that they would have attained. Discovery of modern aeroplane is credited to Wright Brothers who were neither scientists nor aircraft engineers but merely cycle mechanics. There are higher chances of satisfaction of esteem and accomplishment needs from amongst those involved with profession of art and life sciences rather than most other professions. In these professions it is not possible to fix set standards, benchmarks or statistical targets. The person competes with his inner self to drive oneself to even higher levels of accomplishments.

17. The highest level of human needs i.e. self- actualization is not connected at all to the worldly or external attributes of life. These could be establishing connection with God, Nature and the celestial entities. According to Hindu Sanatan Dharma this state is quite close to attainment of salvation or Nirvana. In this state a person has little contact left with the worldly aspects of things. The means to attain this state are meditation, prayers and indulgence in that part of materialistic work which is synonymous with worship.

18. Mostly, people attempt to satisfy the needs of all the levels through profession alone. This leads to imbalances in personal and professional lives. There is a strong need to segregate profession after the first two stages of hierarchy of Maslow’s model. In our view profession is at best capable of satisfying the first two levels of needs of the model. If this was not true an individual without a profession who could be anyone from an infant to a poor man would have no family, friend or a person to love him which is rarely true.

19. While choosing and continuing with a profession we must draw out a list of priorities which our selection must necessarily satisfy. A profession which is hazardous for life and health must be seen as the one, a brief indulgence of a few years in which would yield us earnings and security of a life time, at least in financial aspects. Let us take the example of the armed forces where life and personal well- being is mostly at peril. Most of the nation make sure that their injured, disabled soldiers are taken care for life in all aspects. In case of death, the family is taken care of by various means in respect of financial security, children education and other aspects of materialistic life.

20. Unfortunately, some businesses and industries necessarily have to work against the natural human body clock during the night hours and in hazardous environment. The professions under the type vary from white coloured such as IT industry, Call Centres to the blue coloured ones including the labour and machine operators of various industries. Whatever be the nature of job night shift hours can never compensate for the health lost no matter what the remuneration be. However at least double the financial benefits is the minimum financial benchmark when equated with the work hours of the day. While choosing a profession or a particular line of work the body clock hours is an aspect which most youngsters quiet often loose the sight of.

21. Most of the businesses and industries today are target driven and output oriented. Marketing and production are two peculiar departments which keep generating higher targets for each other. The jobs in these departments are always high pressure and most of the people at lower or middle management levels do not carry good imprints from these stages of their profession. They treat these stages as the punishing phase of their journey which everyone has to go through to reach at the greener pastures. They least realise that these stages kill or shorten the very appetite for which the greener pastures have any utility. Some businesses and industry indulge in the practices wherein they over extract from the younger lot and let them down once it is their time to receive goods of their past deeds and the hard work. One must candidly ponder over these aspects before entering a profession.

22. In today’s times, faster means of communication have taken work places of people far from their homes and native places. No doubt that most of these people manage to build and own properties in their place of work yet all this happens at the cost of much back home. The price of what one is going to lose in various aspects of life by relocating to a far-off work place is always worth a deliberate thought. Sometimes lesser income at native place achieves much in life than a fortune earned at some far-off place. Monetary gains from profession is just one of the many aspects that it serves in a man’s life.

23. Most metropolitan and industrial cities today, despite better infrastructure, have a poor quality of life as compared to the medium and smaller ones. Lesser financial gains and opportunities sometimes work out better overall, when compared with the ever -present scarcity of time and mental peace at places of higher financial gains. According to one’s position in life, some bare minimum level of financial gains is essential, but greed for more and more of it leads to drastic losses in quality of life in most of the over populated and polluted centres of money and power.

24. The destiny and journey of each individual is different and putting across the preceding content is aimed at drawing attention to major aspects which help better decision making. We would like to sum up this piece by reiterating that aim of profession is to liberate and not bind a human being in acquiring way beyond the mandatory necessities of life.