Recently I met this aunty who told me how sorry she is for people like me in the IT industry. This has happened many a times. When I meet people and tell them I am “a software engineer” and they go on and on as to how hectic it is and how there is no work-life balance in the IT field. I only reply by asking them “name a job with work-life balance”. These days it’s almost assumed that if you own a business or if you want to succeed that you have to work insane hours. This concept transcends all fields and professions.
From the past few days I was thinking if I had to quit the IT field then what would be an alternate career option for me. Unfortunately I couldn’t come up with anything. Not that I am not capable of anything else simply coz I don’t have the neccessary formal training or guidance for anything else.
But I know many people who have neither worked insane hours nor have they had any formal training in their chosen profession. Perhaps, the best example could be my Dad who is an investment consultant. He is neither an MBA nor he ever had formal training in finance. While what I thought helped him stay in the business is his ability to sell ice to the eskimos, he succeded because he knew he need not sell ice to the eskimos. That is he knew what is the right product for anybody. Plus his abilities to put it across in the right way helped him stay in the business. So it is the skills that matter in the end.
Also he was always there for us when we needed him. I can boast of hundred percent parent attendance for all my school functions. This was not because he had nothing else to do or that couldn’t have been anywhere else. He could have very well continued with his work, met more clients, got more business…. But he made sure he was there for his family. That was possible because he knew his priorities. He chose giving quality time to family over other things. So it is we who decide how much we want to give to our jobs. It is a conscious decision, mostly a tradeoff.
So in the end what matters is your skills and where you want to draw a line between work and personal life and not the industry or vertical you work in.