Fresh graduates have a tendency to take up any semi-decent job that they can get, with the slightest bit of financial stability and societal value, even if the jobs never interest them. They often hope to get out of their jobs after a certain period of time to pursue higher education, entrepreneurship or any other alternative jobs or career options that they are truly interested in, but most often, it does not work that way. They tend to go into this autopilot mode in their career, where they find themselves in the sort of inertia where the opportunity costs of getting out of their current jobs seem way too high, mainly because of the financial security that these jobs provide. But this can hardly take their careers forward to their full potential.
Imran Bin Kamal (28), who has been working as an Executive Officer at a private bank in Dhaka for almost four and a half years, says that although he studied engineering, he applied to a bank job because of the security that it provided, since engineering jobs were not that promising right after he graduated. But instead of placing him into the IT department, the bank placed him in the core Credit Risk Management (CRM) team. “Since CRM is not rocket science, it didn’t take me that long to learn my work. The placement was completely unanticipated, but initially I found it interesting to assess loan applications, visit business projects, monitor loan accounts and things like that. I even pursued an evening MBA degree to understand my job better. But over a short course of time, it became tremendously stressful for me to handle the workload. It is a lot difficult for me to maintain a personal life, and it’s even worse because at this point I have realized that I’m sort of functioning on autopilot. Things are even tougher if you don’t enjoy your work, and realise that it’s really not for you,” he said.
Even if you feel like you’re taking the right path in your career at the beginning of such jobs, there are some obvious signs that tell you that your career is getting into an autopilot mode.
Work getting monotonous
“Dealing with the same things every day gets monotonous and tiring. This gets you working like a robot that runs the same procedures every day, and getting into this routine takes you even longer to realise that you don’t want to do this anymore. It took me three years to figure that out”, says Imran Bin Kamal. Your work life getting way too monotonous is the first sign; don’t ignore it.
Losing scope for creativity
In an autopilot job, you don’t have much scope for creativity and innovation of your own. This is a tremendous loss of potential that could be used for something meaningful. There is not enough opportunities for you to come up with new ideas and implement them, which makes your work life extremely dull.
Inertia and not being able to switch jobs
Imran Bin Kamal says, “I always wanted to pursue entrepreneurship in the automobile industry. I still want to, but the reality of this subcontinent is that for a middle class person who has to support his family, it is close to impossible for me to leave my well secured job that gives me financial stability to pursue my own dreams, until I save up enough financial capital to start my own business and support my family at the same time. These are the factors that are affecting my decision whenever I consider quitting, and this dilemma has kept me from going through with it.”
Nahaly Nafisa Khan is an Economics major currently studying in Dhaka University. She procrastinates a lot, yet is obsessed with meeting deadlines. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org .