Next week, I will start my part-time diploma program in Power Engineering. My intention is to learn relevant knowledge and do some projects on alternative energy so that I can get enough experience to start business in this field later. It is related to my target to achieve and encourage other people to achieve self-sufficiency in food and energy.
When I took this program, there was probably a little voice inside me that say that I am inconsistent person. Instead of spending effort to probably acquire new certificate, learning new software technologies or even taking management course, I will start again from zero.I will waste all my experience in software industry for this 4 years.
I must admit that indeed it generates doubt inside me. After all, both of my parents are unemployed already. I need to give allowance to both of them and there is considerable amount of risk involved in my career change.
It is made worse because this is third time I change my interest field. Initially, in the high school, I want to become mathematician. But then, I do not choose that major since I find out the only feasible employment in my home country for mathematician is to become teacher. I chose computer science since I think that developing computer program is closely similar to solving mathematical problems. And the biggest factor is that computer science is very employable.
However, I realize that I only consider those things entirely based on self-interest. It is true that computer science degree holder is generally employable and I am making decent income from my job. However, the job does not make significant effect on people’s life. I mean significant in the sense it does not solve basic human problems. Computer and internet is generally related to mere convenience. Generally, most of the information which we receive from Internet can also be found in local public library.
Hence, I choose alternative energy since at least it is related to solve existing fundamental issues like pollution. Pollution is related to human health and hence I view it as more essential problem to solve than to work with internet and computer around 50 hours per week behind the desk just for creating technology for information management.
Another reason is that I cannot imagine to sit on my office desk for around 15-20 years in front of the screen for 50 hours per week (probably could become 60-70 hours if you reach managerial level). I prefer environment where I can do both mental and physical work. At least, if you work as electrician, you will do some physical works to do wiring and circuit installation.
Having said so, I also think that it is not necessary to find change your career if you do not like it unless you have strong reason. Unlike some motivational preachers which said that you will need to find job which you love and have interest in, I bet to differ. In this life, we have multiple considerations for career, not only based on our feeling that we like the job or not.
There are some jobs in this world which involve tasks that hardly anybody will like such as garbage collector, street cleaner and elder care. Such jobs are needed to reach neglected areas of society but require self-denial mentality instead of ‘fulfillment of human potential’ mentality advocated by secular humanist motivational preachers. If everybody adopt such thinking that he must like the job before he does that, try to imagine how society will be without any garbage collector or elder care!
Furthermore, no matter how suitable the job for you in the first time, there will be always jobaspects which will be difficult to master. It will require perseverance to train yourself to be good in something you are not. And very often, that aspect of job which you dislike is the job that is need to be done. In this case, the important thing is not that you like the job. Rather, whether you think you have enough perseverance (and ability) to master those parts that are most difficult to do.
Lastly, the important of career is exaggerated in capitalist society. Humans need time to do other things but career such as worshiping God, family and community gathering, learning and resting. I find that even when you feel miserable in the office, as long as you maintain regular prayer and meditation, having support and understanding from your family, life is not that bad even if you miss last promotion.
Instead of focusing to improve your career, probably we need to focus on improving other aspects of our life, such as our relationship with God, family, or to improve our knowledge on how society works, and so on.