Academia, Administration or Industry

I had been thinking of this post’s subject for quite some time now. I have already talked about how I have been changing jobs in order to find something that will help me do something I would enjoy, be good at and make a difference. Luckily, I have had opportunities to try out different things. However, this choice also presents a problem of plenty, which though seemingly innocuous, can be quite a heart burner at times.

Now is one of those times which has presented me with a problem of plenty in the form of a very pleasant announcement. I have made up my mind about the decision that I have to take but I am presenting this write-up nevertheless in order to clear up my mind.

I have been working in a PSU for last year and a half. And at the same time, in order to broaden my horizon and step into some more untested waters, have been looking at a few other options as well.

One of them is academia, as I liked my teaching job the best by far, and I like being in the academic environment with the prospect of learning something new every day. Since I do not have a doctorate (Yet 🙂 ), in order to think of this option, I had applied for the Fellow Programme in Management at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (FPM @ IIMB)

The second is administration. At the insistence of family and a few friends, inspired by the great work done by some of the unsung heroes of our administrative system and motivated by a desire to do something meaningful which impacts more than just my family and I, I had written the civil services examination.

The third is not so much untested water as going back to what I have done in the past, only with a different perspective and motive. Almost all the career related quizzes and standard tests such as MBTI, have been telling me since long that I ought to take up something which requires precision and detailing. Add to it the lucre, interesting work and amazing work culture I got at my first job and I am all for giving it another try.

I was mulling over these and got to know the possibilities one by one. I got through the FPM Program at IIMB, cleared the Civil Services Exam with a decent rank, and had a good chance of getting back to Industry. It was a great feeling but a confusing one as well. There are pros and cons with each of these options. IIMB for example, lets me live in Bangalore, a city my husband is currently based out of, while letting me pursue a long time dream of PHD. It is the gateway to a world I am sure I will be a part of, if not now then later. But it is a long-term commitment of at least four years and is financially less appealing. Civil Services is the kind of job your family members will kick you for not taking, and which gives me a scope to put in practice what I believe in terms of ethics. Industry, on the other hand, gives me the opportunity to make more money and have peace of mind by being free of financial worries. However it is not clear to me yet if it will give me the intellectual stimulation I desire along with work satisfaction.

I have thought long and hard and have decided to go with administration for now, with the hope of doing a doctorate once I am 40, maybe 45. Just wanted to write this out and that helped in clearing my head. Which path would you have taken in a similar scenario – Academia, Industry or Administration?

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