Here's a guest piece I wrote for DNA's Anniversary issue
'Always on the move' is the caller tune of a new generation when it comes to careers, says Rashmi Bansal
Once upon a time, careers were like fixed line telephones. You were lucky to get one and grateful for the connection, despite the hiss. Now, careers are like cellphones. You have many to choose from, keep upgrading your handset and changing the ringtone.
Depending on your socio-economic status you have the following talk time plans:
* The Swami plan: This plan is basically aimed at India's vast and furious middle class. It involves spending some of the best years of your life studying for entrance exams like IIT JEE, AIEEE, CET, CAT, XAT and so on.
If you manage to crack these, you will be rewarded with a lifetime prepaid card which entitles you to a good job, house, car and someone to marry. Either from campus or based on how cool your qualifications and salary look in the classifieds.
Those who don't qualify under Swami plan can opt for the 'mini Swami' where they at least get the degree, if not the IIT-IIM branding. Hence it is always safer to opt for engineering over Physics, History or Home Science; and MBA above all else.
The network coverage is poor if you graduate from a bschool in Jhumritalaiyya but it's better than 'no signal'. Which is how ordinary BAs or BScs feel today, despite the love and affection showered on them by call centres.
* The Bunty plan: Yeh world hai na world, isme yeh woh log hain jo kuch kar ke dikhaana chahte hain. Magar lack of angrezi skills and general spit and polish impede their progress. While cellphones may now display smses in Hindi and Gujarati, jobs which offer the chance of rapid growth require people who think in English.
The Bunty plan however does offer some hope. There are a slew of jobs, from mall security guard to radio taxi driver that now employ 10th or 12th pass youngsters at decent salaries, in better working environments.
These jobs are like lower end handsets with VGA cameras compared to the Swami plan which comes with 5 megapixels and a Carl Zeiss lens. But it is still, a step up in life.
* The Pappu plan: He can't dance, saala, and he does not need to work either. Pappus are the new rich kids of India who we see in the movies, and all around us. They don't have the zeal of a Swami but compensate by forking out the cash for the most bling bling of handsets. Degrees from foreign colleges or in local colleges through the backdoor ('donation').
Many Pappus have the easy option of joining the family business. Others do need to get jobs but will do so in due time, after 'discovering themselves'. The trouble is, there is always a newer, shinier model out there which makes it difficult to appreciate what you have in hand.
* The Babli plan: In a country where 'boyfriend' is a person you never bring home, the cellphone is a girl's best friend. And 'further studies' is the magic mantra which opens every locked door. Parents who never allowed their daughters to stay out late lovingly pack up and pack off their kids to hostels and PGs in distant locations. Because after all, 'career ka sawaal hai'.
Cellphones have made remote areas more accessible.
Careers have made life for small town girls more aspirational.
How many will switch their careers off after marriage remains the question.
The bottomline is, zamaana mobility ka hai. It's ok to experiment with jobs, and even with life, because like the shops at every streetcorner selling connections, there is no shortage anymore.
Koi na koi job mil jayega, the important thing - for Swami, for Pappu, for Bunty and Babli - is finding the one that gets them out of bed all charged up and ready to go. Each morning!