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Sunday, 3rd December 2023


 The critical and bigger part of an iceberg is under the water. Your own talents and skills are often hidden - you have to find ways of discovering them and aligning them to your career. Don't always rely on the surface or follow what is common or accepted.

Your uncle is a Doctor - so you can be one too! Your parents are accountants, so you would make a terrific accountant.

This is the normal family talk about careers. And ethnic minorities often give a huge importance to this, and for good reasons. However, Britain is a very sophisticated and developed nation career-wise, and by doing what your relatives do, or what is familiar, may not always be the right choice for YOU.

It may even be that you limit your aspirations because of your parents. Apache Indian went into music at a very young age, and the parents were initially unhappy - this was not a 'career' - and he was a very educated and talented person (he was Head Boy at his School in Birmingham). However, when he became famous, the tables turned and he achieved what even his parents would never have dreamed of. So remember, in challenging the status quo, you could be onto a big winner.

 But supposing your career choice does not make your rich or famous. Does this mean it is insignificant? Professional careers are sought after because they are safe and predictable. An accountant starts of as a trainee, does some exams, and then slowly rises to become a senior, a manager and finally ...... a partner. Hurrah. But is that what you really want? I didn't.

I know young highly talented founders of Masti Design, our web partners, whose passion is music production and community service. Both Dilesh and Anuj went to Cambridge University, and had the best education. But their passion is not to do what everyone has always done. And they are very young and have a whole future ahead of them. This is their opportunity to take risks. And they will succeed - to their own standards.

I personally am very disappointed to see the huge number of very intelligent and able young Asians going into medicine given the partial paradigm. Yes, it is a solid career, and it can also be lucrative. There is a very good starting salary. And it is so safe as a career, and there is a clear career path. But guess what, despite the smartest brains in the business, illnesses continue to increase. Cancer will never be cured. Doctors will be highly trained in one way of thinking and operating - when there are so many diverse health systems in the world, many of which have stood the test of time. And to think that all this genius is going to be 'indoctrinated' into one way of thinking is very scary.

What about careers where you know no-one in the family or friends pursuing it? Examples include psychiatry, physiotherapy, acting and drama, professional music, photography and film, design and media, forensic service, museums, foreign office and diplomacy, ..... the choices and opportunities are endless. It is possible to live your passion and earn enough to live on at the same time. This may not be safe, but you may really be happy and satisfied. Who knows, like Apache Indian, you may even crack the sky.

So friends, think carefully, research, and talk to people. There are plenty of choices out there, and do not settle for the familiar and the predictable. You may be far too creative and intelligent for it!

Dr. Atul K. Shah, Diverse Ethics

Article added on 22nd December 2009 at 9:36am