Choosing the right profession

Acharya Prashant
7 min readOct 31, 2020

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Question: I want to be an IAS officer, and there is a huge burden of expectations and that is just draining away my life. Please guide me.

Acharya Prashant (AP): Do you really want to be an IAS officer or is it out of expectations of others?

Please understand this, you are just beginning your second year of a B.Tech program, have you really seen life? Do you really know what it means to be a bureaucrat? What makes you come to the conclusion that you must be an IAS officer?

If it is because of the expectations of others,

then you are condemning yourself to a lot of suffering.

You see, I was born in a family of bureaucrats, both from my mother’s and father’s side, and as providence would have it, I was a topper, topped the state, stood all India third rank.

When I cleared my class tenth exam, and the result was declared, and the NTSE result also came. I was an NTSE scholar, I was asked to choose, ‘What do you want to do in class eleven?’ Now, the time had come to choose the stream. And I was being brought up on the diet of these journals — have you read of Competitions Success Review (CSRs) and all? — they would carry the picture of the IAS topper on the cover page, and my house was always full of bureaucratic discussions and such things, since class five I had been reading the interviews of IAS toppers.

After class ten, I took up science only because I saw that the last five to ten years toppers were all from IIT, so I said I will go to IIT because IITians go to IAS. That was the kind of process through which I decided I will go to IIT.

Alright, I went to IIT; prepared hard and cleared the IAS entrance exam also and what do I see, the day I reached training academy — I had cleared the CAT exam in the same year so I had to take leave from Ahmedabad to go there — I reached late, by the time I reached, the rest of my cadre mates were already there, and what do I see?

I see that the reality is so very different from what I had thought. And this was not sudden, it had been brewing even in the process of preparation when I was reading for general studies — that’s a…

Acharya Prashant