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I am always looking for ways to run away and escape somehow; from responsibility, commitment, intimacy, decision-making. —Creative Commons
I am always looking for ways to run away and escape somehow; from responsibility, commitment, intimacy, decision-making. —Creative Commons

“Tum tou larkiyo se bhi ziyada nazuk ho, tumhay tou larki paida hona chahiye tha”.

These were the soul-crushing, not to mention sexist, remarks that my first cousin expressed upon hearing news of my resignation from what was touted by many as the 'dream job' at the time of my joining.

After resigning from two achi naukris within a period of six months, I had earned a new identity from friends and family: the quitter.

But can I blame them? Not really.

I am always looking for ways to escape responsibility, commitment, intimacy, decision-making; simply taking any initiative at all.

No matter how hard I try, I find myself jumping from one job to another, unable to commit for longer periods, despite the sincerity of intention. I don't know why, but all these jobs, though they appear all exciting and promising at first, turn out to be my most horrific nightmare as soon as the honeymoon period ends and the realities of the workplace catches up.

“Thori bohat baatein tou har jaga sunni parti hain.”

There comes my cousin's final judgment. Although I have long been at the receiving end of such brickbats from friends and siblings, this one left me utterly gutted.

Also read: I didn’t want them to think I was crazy...

Obviously, no one wants to be labelled a 'wuss', no matter how callous or indifferent they pretend to be on the outside. And it seems possessing sentiment or emotion is a crime for the men in our society, which expects some sort of impervious strength from them at all times.

Nevertheless, after my cousin's hurtful words, I decided I had to turn a new leaf. So I finally set to figuring out what was really going on with me.

Why does that intrinsic motivation to do what I actually want to be doing, keep slipping away?

Why can I not start a project, a hobby, a fitness plan despite knowing all the required steps to be undertaken?

Why am I intentionally choosing to not succeed and to be a socially inept loser?

Why I cant I just not step out of my comfort zone and break the tether of my routine prison?

En route to discovering the answers, I additionally discovered that I was not alone – around one-third of young Pakistani career-seekers suffer from the same problem.

However, the causes may vary from case to case; sheer laziness, job-personality mismatches, lack of long-term planning and most of all, passive-aggression, which experts believe can mess up your mind and habits to an extent where you forget what it was that you originally wanted to be/do.

Chrissy Scivicque in her blog Are You A Job Hopper? 3 Reasons Why You Can’t Stick It Out” says:

“Younger people especially who are going through a process of self-discovery tend to bounce from job to job as a way of exploring their options. When you don’t have a lot of experience, it’s hard to know what you’ll enjoy. Right after college for example, many people spend a few years in a state of transition. Job hopping during this period of time is nothing to worry about; it’s quite normal. Sometimes, the only way to know what you want in your career is to try a variety of things to determine what you don’t want."

She further adds that people usually fail to use an appropriate level of discretion in their job search and simply accept the first job that offers them a decent paycheck. Then, they end up in a role that pays the bills but doesn’t satisfy them on any deeper level. So, very quickly, they find themselves back in the job market.

As far as procrastination is concerned, there are plenty of resources and self-help literature (both print and online) available for those who want to help themselves. Many motivational speakers out there seem to have a lot of fans, people who succeeded with their mentors' career advice in fulfilling long-held dreams they had forgotten in a bid to fit into a profoundly sick society.

Read on: Ward off your blues

The problem for me and many others is that all this motivational spark does not last more than a day; willpower boosts fail to produce any magic in the face of the myriad distractions that newsfeeds, updates, 'last seens', breaking news and all the sensual machine-gunning that technology has introduced into our lives.

It is inescapable, suffocating and ceaseless.

As for the phenomenon called passive-aggression, that behaviour is an indirect expression of anger and envy towards a certain authority, which results in deliberate or repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is responsible.

It occurs most frequently in the workplace, where resistance is exhibited by such indirect behaviours as procrastination, forgetfulness, and purposeful or intentional inefficiency, especially in reaction to demands by authority figures. In this mode, people are perennial pessimists and regard every requirement and assigned task as an imposition. They resent authority figures (boss, teacher, parent-like spouse), feel enslaved by commitment, and oppose relationships that bind them in any manner.

And that is exactly my case.

Dredging up memories from childhood or stories I heard from my parents, I learned that I have always been this resentful toward anyone or anything that didn't serve me right. There is a list of things that I abandoned just because I didn't find them all that appealing, despite the pressures exerted by parents, teachers or at large by society itself.

For this, I have been called a lot of things. I have been lectured and tortured on a daily basis. Fortunately, I have grown to reason, to respond and to appropriately express my point of view.

Take a look: ‘Terrorism, violence aggravating issues of mental health’

Now that I have discovered why I cannot stick to a job, I have decided there is one thing I am never going to give up on: my mental peace. I am going to leave every job that I hate, I would happily do odd jobs for a living and I won't apologise for who I am and for my decisions.

I know people around me (like my cousin) will get upset at me for not living by the society's 'standards', but deep down, I am certain they wish they had the courage to do the same. This very feeling is so liberating.

For all the 'screw-ups' like me out there, I am quoting some words from Chetan Bhagat's famous novel Five Point Someone: What not to do at IIT upon which the Rajkumar Hirani's 3 idiots is also based:

“There is no point in having a good job or a fabulous career if your life becomes a living hell, there is no fun in driving a car if your back hurts, there is no point in getting a promotion on the day of your break-up, there is no joy in shopping if your brain is bursting. Life is like one of those races in nursery school where you have to run with a marble in a spoon kept in your mouth, if the marble falls there is no point in coming first.

“Same is with life where your health, relationships and mental peace are the marble. Your striving is only worth it if there is harmony in your life. Else, you may achieve success, but this spark, this feeling of being excited and alive will start to die. One thing about nurturing the spark: don't take life seriously as we are really temporary here. We are like a prepaid card with limited validity. If we are lucky, we may last another 50 years and that is just 2,500 weekends.So, don't be serious, be sincere.”

If you wish to live the life you want, you have to leave behind the life you don't want.

And trust me, you know what you want. Let no one decide that for you.


Author Image
Abdur Rehman has done his Masters in Library and Information Management from the Punjab University.

He strives everyday to not fall victim to cultural slavery. His interests include psychology, self-help literature, mind sciences and spiritualism.

He tweets @a_rehman00.

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (54) Closed

confused engineer Apr 10, 2015 08:01pm

Great article. It takes courage to open up and accept shortcomings.

Anwar Ahmad Apr 10, 2015 08:36pm

I agree with the author's point of view.

I will however recommend "Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ" by Daniel Goleman.

Bipad Bhanjan Apr 10, 2015 08:37pm

Right after college, I've been through this. Now I am 24, wasted many years thinking what is the right profession for me. Sitting behind desk, taking orders, looking at the screen all the day, thinking about future.. all these things made my life so miserable that I forgot to enjoy the present. I tried to adjust myself with working conditions, I tried to put pressure on my brain to understand things I never liked.Every time I used think everything will fall in piece. Now I know health(mental/physical) is the biggest asset, I will ever get. I will spend time with my loved ones, friends and things I like the most.

Thanks for writing this. I am from Odisha, India.

Raza Apr 10, 2015 08:42pm

Great article man.. Im 18 months into my professional career and contemplating leaving my 3rd full time, well paying, back breaking job.. Its not worth ruining your peace for 'log kya kahein ge'

Kainat Apr 10, 2015 08:58pm

Sir, thumbs up! You stole my words.

Super article Apr 10, 2015 09:39pm

Good article.Only a person who is intelligent, skilled, people friendly and having can will power can survive in this competitive world.

FaLcoN Apr 10, 2015 09:41pm

This is so so true! Totally depicts what I'm going through, and what I've done - resignation from a job considered as "dream, high paying" but a mental torture for me. I don't enjoy it and is a misfit, which I realized after experiencing it.

People need to stop giving in to social pressure and "LOG KIYA KAHENGE"... specially the aunties!

What you can do is thank God for whatever he has given to you, because even getting a job is understandably celebrated here as they're SO scarce.. Let alone getting a high-paying, "good" one! Trust HIM, keep trying, and he will pave more ways, more pathways will open.

harry Apr 10, 2015 09:45pm

Food for thought. Great words.

saba Apr 10, 2015 11:07pm

Great ! It heart touching , and I am one of those hoppers ...

saba Apr 10, 2015 11:08pm

Really great!

gras Apr 10, 2015 11:11pm

Graduating in Library and Information Management should give one space to be creative/independent as well as hold a job.

Kashif Saif Apr 10, 2015 11:37pm

Must be nice for the parents to pay for your clothing, food, and shelter.

sham Apr 10, 2015 11:37pm

Clearly you are not married, do not have a family to feed and do not have kids.

Ahmed Apr 10, 2015 11:55pm

You can keep switching to find that perfect one or change the existing one to make it your perfect one. Choice is yours.

Not saying that you should have to do work 24/7 and not agreeing on doign Odd jobs but you need to find that right work/life balance with in your existing means.
Grass always looks greener on the other side

saima rashid Apr 10, 2015 11:59pm

well said, i know how bad i used to feel when i dont want to stay at a particular job, i am the same with the title .. tmy job nahe mily ge... i did many internship, but so far i am not able to adjust myself in any job environment, where i did (teaching) bigger fishes gulped me, and spit me again on the road to find new way. yes oour society and our relative stands with money, yes it is important, but we should look upon how much we are striving, and ... i am once again trying daily to live anew,

yes we Know where our way is... we just need to start paddling.... wish you all goodluck.

ST Apr 11, 2015 12:27am

Oh God.. story of my life! 3 years 3 jobs switched and yet.. not content!

saz Apr 11, 2015 01:06am

The author has mentioned peace of mind but what is peace of mind that definition is variable. One has to be committed at certain level and has to function as per the genuine and fair expectations. Those expectations might be against ones likes or lazy nature. One needs to balance between responsibility and leisure. When one works he or she has to fulfill his or her responsibility rather serving his habit of leisure or fun. This is needed not only for job but also for personal relationship. A successful relationship needs responsibility and vomit tent from both sides. Writer can not buy one sided relationship where he is expecting commitment and fulfilling of responsibilities from other party but not delivering the same in return.

Anyways as long as your parents are able to feed you you are able to jump from one place to another but please don't forget they must be making firm commitments and fulfilling expected responsibilities at their work place in order to feed you.

saz Apr 11, 2015 01:06am

Unfortunately similar behavior of lack of taking responsibility and lack of commitment is the major cause of marriage failures all over the world but those who are responsible don't recognize their shortcomings. What people expect from their partner they don't deliver the same.

Pradeep Thind Apr 11, 2015 01:55am

A very thoughtful article. I have spent plant years on the same topic as life has been somewhat similar.
My take: Some people fall into the trap of entitlement. I am Indian (Punjabi grandparens from Sialkot) and there is a false sense of 'entitlement' that people here in North India have. A lot of people are unable to be there best because of some legacy they have to follow.

Also, might be on a different tangent but I would recommend you to read Gandhi and his philosophy...Brilliant. "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony...." MK Gandhi.

nathan Apr 11, 2015 02:39am

Too many excuses for not working. Sounds like a page from Diary of a slacker.

Dekh Magar Pyaar Se Apr 11, 2015 03:00am

Keep it up Rehman. I ‘lived’ up to society’s ‘standards’. Worked in 5 countries, made tonne of money, bought real estate, nice cars, more real estate and I still hate my job. Unfortunately even after ten years I don’t know what I really want but I kept on going. Don’t be ‘me’. Find what you are looking – seek what makes you happy. Once you find something like that things like bad boss, annoying colleagues, long work hours will just be minor irritants. All my best

Sheeraz Apr 11, 2015 03:30am

Just fantastic, I applaud your courage for speaking your mind. I will briefly mention my story - after spending years running away from a family business I got sucked into family business when life made its twists on me. I hopped in from job to job and never finding work challenging so came to conclusion if I have to be miserable at work I might as well be in my own business. I am still not happy doing what I am doing, deep down it hurts badly every day.

GREEN JAGUAR Apr 11, 2015 05:32am

It's fine to job when one is single dear, yet once a person marries, and has children he or she needs to have a steady source of income and benefits.

So enjoy while you can - and live life to the fullest while indulging in peaceful, calming Zen moments : ))

white noise Apr 11, 2015 07:08am

I guess I am one of the lucky ones who didn't need to change so often, I found my slot from day one and grew in it, my first job lasted for 8 years and it was me who moved otherwise I could have gone on, 20 years in the field and I changed 3 times only and I think I will retire in my current job.

saadia Apr 11, 2015 07:23am

I work as a psychiatrist and I know how painful this behavior is for the families. I falls under passive aggressive personality disorder. I would recommend everyone who is appreciating his article should read about disorder.

saadia Apr 11, 2015 07:25am

this is a perfect example of passive aggressive personality disorder which is very impairing for the families and the person him or herself.

Muhammad Omer Khan Apr 11, 2015 08:28am

When you quit a job, the period in between jobs counts as a gap in your career. Such gaps can destroy your CV. You have to stay employed. Then apply for the job that you want.

illawarrior Apr 11, 2015 08:31am

I think the big issue is going into things with unrealistic expectations. For most of us, a job is simply a way of earning the money required to support daily living. Some are lucky enough to find wildly exciting, or highly satisfying positions, but these are in short supply. For most of us it is much more mundane - such is life. Someone has to clean the toilets, drive the garbage trucks, unblock the drains, drive the buses, etc

When you have children to support, you do whatever it takes, whether you enjoy it or not.

adewani85 Apr 11, 2015 09:14am

Not working at all, and working for a passion are two different things. I totally agree that despite all the promotions one's job has to offer, if person is not mentally at peace and consistently at fight with inner self, it is better to quit and find something of interest. And passions do change, what is the harm after all in not following the stereotypes society has set for modern slavery?

rajee Apr 11, 2015 09:34am

i can relate to this. just remember the comapnies were unstable , not you. as in the times of recession, many corporates, MNC or national, dont recruit with a long term goal and simply play with your career

kanakasabhai Apr 11, 2015 10:16am
            The author seems to be confused. One has to give everything a little time and can not judge an organisation and its people in just a month or so and then quit. There is nothing like a perfect job in this world but only a perfect person who adjusts to an organisation, takes  time and then take a call on realities. May be he has well off parents and thus can spend time experimenting.       
Ali Bukhari Shah Apr 11, 2015 10:17am

Just don't worry about 'Log kiya kahen ge, Cousins kiya sochen ge?'. 'Tis YOUR life. Fortunately or unfortunately, you get it only once. So, do whatever pleases you; live it your way! G'luck, bud!

usman Apr 11, 2015 10:57am

Great article, i would like to add few things, which is a grey area of our corporate world, normally if you complete your work on time then you are considered as a good employee, but in Pakistan, unfortunately, in mostly organizations, if you leave on time then you are a bad employee, i worked somewhere for 15 days, my timing was 10-6 , my boss asked me yes timing is till 6 but you should sit till 7 , i mean WHY? i used to sit idle during regular working hours but they used to give me additional work right after 6pm, so i was forced to sit till 7, which i s pathetic, but some organizations are doing really good work, currently i am working in a firm where organization culture with respect to everything is great, so its all about people's frame of mind

Manjeet kocchar Apr 11, 2015 11:36am

simply too good. Excellent full marks

Ridah Apr 11, 2015 11:39am

Just resigned from my job!!!

JAS Apr 11, 2015 11:45am

"And that is exactly my case."


Kenneth Lazarus Apr 11, 2015 12:08pm

Very nice Article...... Don't take life seriously cause we are temporary residents on earth :) awesome.......u neva know what's in store for you next

HQ Apr 11, 2015 12:28pm

Reading it, felt like its what i feel and still not able to take any action just in the fear of whats next. I have learned from this as its someone has shown me what i have inside.. Its all temporary.. I always wanted to have a shoulder on my bag and travel the world.. Thank you for bringing up such a great article...

Saikat Das Apr 11, 2015 12:30pm

Excellent Article !!! I guess your article reflected upon the thoughts which many youngsters like us share. Understanding where one stands and what one wants in life is the most unfathomable question that surrounds us. Good to know that you are closer to the answer than most of us.

R Apr 11, 2015 12:42pm

I travel around the world non friends think that I have the best job.I am about to quit and they can not believe it.

Shaukat ali b Apr 11, 2015 01:11pm

I can only thank you Rehman, for words that i should say to doubt you have the courage and a courageous man never fails...

Karim Apr 11, 2015 01:52pm

I wanted to be free from routine employment and nagging of bosses. I wanted to be a taxi driver to drop anyone anywhere at my will but under force from family I opted for 9 to 5 job and remained their for 27 years. Then married and became more fearful of losing job. After 27 years I am still working with same job description and routine. Life goes on. I found my son a job in my office. He remained their for one month and threatened to leave home if I did not allow him to pursue his talent. He is a musician to the disgust of many who do not recognize this as a profession. He is earning better than he would in my office with freedom. He can do it because he is not worried about running the kitchen.

abhinav Apr 11, 2015 03:02pm

Same here, already left two jobs and now looking for the next 'my kind of job'. Actually people like us need some psychological counseling. It does not mean we are 'mental' rather it means we need some guidance. Hope my comment helps us all.

Taimur Apr 11, 2015 03:24pm

There are too many aspects to it. First we don't have much choices available in our country when it comes to the decision of opting majors that leads to a career adoption at a later stage. This makes the career choice very limited and we find ourselves at the crossroads of confusion. Secondly, we don't have any aptitude assessments at school levels and no convincing is done when the students are selecting their majors at school. How many of us tend to opt for music,literature, arts at an early stages? Very few. We are bound to follow the trends because it is fed to us that we wont find much employment opportunities if we opt something out of science and engineering.

Abdur-Rehman Apr 11, 2015 03:40pm

@Bipad Bhanjan You are more than welcome buddy. . And be thankful to Chetan Sir too. .

Taimur Apr 11, 2015 03:45pm

We the youth of Pakistan at the moment share the same frustration. We first need to convince ourselves that there is nothing such as the dream job. Secondly, it is a fact that the job opportunities are squeezing all around the globe and it is very hard to find a dream job in the beginning of your career. The key here is to compromise to some extent. Every one should learn to compromise, I believe. If we have a job, we should consider ourselves lucky since thousands like us would be striving to have one at the same time. If we can't have the job we have always dreamt of, we can at least get something closer to it. I continue my jobs till its bearable and avoiding self-torture during the process and keep looking for better opportunities. It is no harm in constantly looking for a better job opportunity. Being on job helps you get another one and also adds onto your contact lists. One should plan accordingly. The times have changed and no one plans to do a job now till he reaches his 60s.

Akhtar Apr 11, 2015 05:25pm

Super article which I can relate to in many ways. Often there is great pressure to do what everyone expects you to but forget what you really want. This is why so many people live unfulfilled lives.

karunakar Apr 11, 2015 06:00pm

Beautiful. This is the dilemma I am going through my life at 50. I hope I have the courge to live by doing odd jobs. Appreciate sharing these idwas.

saima rashid Apr 11, 2015 11:20pm

@saz dont read it by your point of views, read as what he wants to say. Most of us suffer a lot to get a desired job, but really its nature, one have limit to endure. many times we are not able to reply back, diplomacy works there... i value your words but he is valid in his arguments.

Abdur-Rehman Apr 12, 2015 06:53pm

@Saima Rashid (saz dont read it by your point of views, read as what he wants to say. Most of us suffer a lot to get a desired job, but really its nature, one have limit to endure. many times we are not able to reply back, diplomacy works there... i value your words but he is valid in his arguments.)

I sincerely thank you for understanding and defending my point of view. Abdur-Rehman

Zeeshan Apr 13, 2015 11:10am

@saima rashid

But it was his desired job.... i know him since last 8 year .. His Cozin is right... you have to bear ur boss's punishment while you want to survive your desired job...

he did'nt had to get it personally...

Abdur-Rehman Apr 13, 2015 02:17pm

@ Zeeshan

Although I appreciate Mr. Zeeshan's concerns and care towards me because he's been undoubtedly my best friend since last 8 years or so, but unfortunately he's the represntative of that very society and people I am writing and fighting against!!

Ravi Apr 14, 2015 02:03am

A very good understanding. The moment one realises whatis going on inside and finds harmony between body, mind soul, one begins to reason and understand the route cause of every problem. Thanks alot of sharing.

Ushna Ansari Apr 17, 2015 01:20am

Excellent article buddy, You just, just. . .No words I m finding suitable enough to praise this thought provoking article. .Heads off!