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The Initial Step

Hi Forumites,

I am writing this with the agenda to seek advice on my initial step that I plan to take.

To give a bit of background; I am currently working as a Software Developer (SDE-1) at A****n for the past (almost) 2 years, where I joined just after my B.Tech. (in Mathematics-and-Computing) from IIT Guwahati (DR-2). I have never liked my job as such, as it involves coding, which though was part of my 4-year curriculum but was the one I enjoyed the least, instead I mainly focused on Mathematics and HSS courses.

Initially, I thought of pursuing masters or PhD (in Computer-Science), following the usual track of the ones with good academic background and 9+ CGPA. However, I kept thinking and the first year of my job got over (with bad performance review, which I was able to fix later). Post this, I started thinking and realized that I would land up in a similar situation if I go for higher studies in CS. So, the better choice was to think of Maths. I looked and discussed with friends, but was never sure of pursuing PhD as I never tried to build a research profile during my under-grad. This made me explore other areas: fellowships (YIF, LAMP), job-switch, MBA, and UPSC.

Job-switch, I felt would be cheating myself as the problem is not with the company, it's with the kind of work (coding) and my acceptance of it. I could introspect that I want a job where I am able to contribute (either impact-wise or through my maths skills) and there's a genuine appreciation/feedback that I am able to see: teaching, civil services, counseling. During this time, I came across a few people (my teammate, my batch-mate, my senior) who were pursuing UPSC. I got reminded of my childhood days when my parents used to tell me to thing about IAS, but dropped later as I didn't follow news and current-affairs. But, this thought got reignited and I started thinking. And my unsatisfactory work-life also kept me thinking more to explore another, more fulfilling, option. I talked to the ones I knew, saw the financial situation, analyzed the current work situation (pressure to perform next level tasks) , and talked to my parents (a few days back): they are surprised, but supportive and are okay with me to give a try, but worried as I am talking about leaving the job and preparing as a total beginner (who never sincerely followed Current affairs), and that this might be the decision taken in haste to try anything apart from the job.

The way I analyze the situation: I will have to work very-very hard, to study the subjects and to build a habit of following current affairs (which I have already been working towards). Given there are only 11 months left, and the job is psychologically tiring for me, preparing along with job would be extremely difficult and I would most probably screw up at both the ends. Even, if I decide to prepare alongside for 2 months, then it would be 3 including 1 month notice. Without job, I get to stay with my family in Delhi (Mukherjee Nagar itself), which would ensure support and emotional balance to put all my focus on the preparation, instead of living 2 false lives). And the worst, if I actually am not able to tackle the preparation pressure, and find that this was a wrong decision, I could still restart and try for a job/higher studies, but would be much relieved to have tried and then realized.

My friend and colleague who quit for UPSC (he had been thinking since school time) understands the practical and psychological situation and suggests to try. However, given how risky the step it might be that I take, I seek for the opinions of the ones here who might have faced a similar situation.





Comments

  • Dude you are lucky that you will get support of you family and can stay at home. That too in Mukherjee Nagar. I have gone through this phase and tried preparing along side a corporate job. It did not work for me. It kills you inside to compromise on both ends. Also the way the competition and trickiness of UPSC is increasing day by day, anything less than 100% will not yield desired results.
  • @alphasigma, so what do you suggest? Do you think that though the decision is being taken in haste, it's a justifiable risk to take?
  • @alphasigma, so what do you suggest? Do you think that though the decision is being taken in haste, it's a justifiable risk to take?

    Tell me your age.
  • Hi Forumites,

    I am writing this with the agenda to seek advice on my initial step that I plan to take.

    To give a bit of background; I am currently working as a Software Developer (SDE-1) at A****n for the past (almost) 2 years, where I joined just after my B.Tech. (in Mathematics-and-Computing) from IIT Guwahati (DR-2). I have never liked my job as such, as it involves coding, which though was part of my 4-year curriculum but was the one I enjoyed the least, instead I mainly focused on Mathematics and HSS courses.

    Initially, I thought of pursuing masters or PhD (in Computer-Science), following the usual track of the ones with good academic background and 9+ CGPA. However, I kept thinking and the first year of my job got over (with bad performance review, which I was able to fix later). Post this, I started thinking and realized that I would land up in a similar situation if I go for higher studies in CS. So, the better choice was to think of Maths. I looked and discussed with friends, but was never sure of pursuing PhD as I never tried to build a research profile during my under-grad. This made me explore other areas: fellowships (YIF, LAMP), job-switch, MBA, and UPSC.

    Job-switch, I felt would be cheating myself as the problem is not with the company, it's with the kind of work (coding) and my acceptance of it. I could introspect that I want a job where I am able to contribute (either impact-wise or through my maths skills) and there's a genuine appreciation/feedback that I am able to see: teaching, civil services, counseling. During this time, I came across a few people (my teammate, my batch-mate, my senior) who were pursuing UPSC. I got reminded of my childhood days when my parents used to tell me to thing about IAS, but dropped later as I didn't follow news and current-affairs. But, this thought got reignited and I started thinking. And my unsatisfactory work-life also kept me thinking more to explore another, more fulfilling, option. I talked to the ones I knew, saw the financial situation, analyzed the current work situation (pressure to perform next level tasks) , and talked to my parents (a few days back): they are surprised, but supportive and are okay with me to give a try, but worried as I am talking about leaving the job and preparing as a total beginner (who never sincerely followed Current affairs), and that this might be the decision taken in haste to try anything apart from the job.

    The way I analyze the situation: I will have to work very-very hard, to study the subjects and to build a habit of following current affairs (which I have already been working towards). Given there are only 11 months left, and the job is psychologically tiring for me, preparing along with job would be extremely difficult and I would most probably screw up at both the ends. Even, if I decide to prepare alongside for 2 months, then it would be 3 including 1 month notice. Without job, I get to stay with my family in Delhi (Mukherjee Nagar itself), which would ensure support and emotional balance to put all my focus on the preparation, instead of living 2 false lives). And the worst, if I actually am not able to tackle the preparation pressure, and find that this was a wrong decision, I could still restart and try for a job/higher studies, but would be much relieved to have tried and then realized.

    My friend and colleague who quit for UPSC (he had been thinking since school time) understands the practical and psychological situation and suggests to try. However, given how risky the step it might be that I take, I seek for the opinions of the ones here who might have faced a similar situation.





    Did you try contacting this guy on facebook or quora or in some way?

    http://mrunal.org/2015/07/ias-topper-interview-saikanth-varma-rank18-iit-madras.html

    Your situation looks similar to his. He might give you a good suggestion.
  • edited July 4
    See if you can crack the prelims while working. If you crack it, speak with your parents and resign for your next attempt. You are ~25, I guess? As a working candidate, I found preparing for prelims doable.I cannot speak for your mains optional. You have 11 months, its enough time to prep for prelims and decide on a optional subject. As for current affairs, you can spend some time on weekends and cover a week's worth. It depends on your reading speed and comprehension skills, try to keep at it for a month. If its intolerable, then look for a way out.

    Have you looked into teachforindia? That seems more up your alley.

    Decide soon, tempus is fugiting.
    You have decided to walk a path curved like a question mark, sweet child, it will only lead to more questions. You're not a day dreamer, let your light clarify this blurred world.
  • @alphasigma, so what do you suggest? Do you think that though the decision is being taken in haste, it's a justifiable risk to take?

    Tell me your age.
    Going to be 24 in October.
  • @alphasigma, so what do you suggest? Do you think that though the decision is being taken in haste, it's a justifiable risk to take?

    Tell me your age.
    Going to be 24 in October.
    Take the plunge. Age is on your side. Give a year of dedicated preparation. You already are attuned to some good hard work. No one just gets cgpa of 9. Atb
  • @alphasigma, so what do you suggest? Do you think that though the decision is being taken in haste, it's a justifiable risk to take?

    I believe yes. If you want this. Go full fledged.
  • edited July 4
    Did you decide on your optional, brother?
  • Hi Pranshu,

    Its important to take a calculated risk at times or we are left with regrets. As you have aptly mentioned, you have family and financial support, a backup plan in mind. Additionally, the age is on the ideal side. Your home is in Delhi as well which gives you access to a number of resources, especially a good peer group.

    So take the plunge.

    Its scary but worth the shot.

    11 months is just about right.

    Start with a realistic and doable plan, then let consistency and patience do its magic. The rest is cosmic will.

    All the best :smiley:

    Regards
    Tsuki
  • PS - I suggest you find out more about the life involving group A services (check out unacademy videos which have talks given by bureaucrats) and also the alternatives you can pursue given the interests you have in mind.
  • Tsuki said:

    Hi Pranshu,

    Its important to take a calculated risk at times or we are left with regrets. As you have aptly mentioned, you have family and financial support, a backup plan in mind. Additionally, the age is on the ideal side. Your home is in Delhi as well which gives you access to a number of resources, especially a good peer group.

    So take the plunge.

    Its scary but worth the shot.

    11 months is just about right.

    Start with a realistic and doable plan, then let consistency and patience do its magic. The rest is cosmic will.

    All the best :smiley:

    Regards
    Tsuki

    I said the same thing in few words... U added some extra words..

    is this the reason why upsc gives me less marks? :trollface:
  • I would exhort you to prepare with a job.
    UPSC is unpredictable.
    Take 2 years, but don't leave the job.
    Rest is your call.
    Prelims: 4. Mains: 2*. Interview: 1. Rank: NA.
    Literature of English Language.
    "Only through time time is conquered."
  • edited July 4
    @ "Pranshu Anand"
    job experience and money is gold.
    Dont lose them at any cost.
    There are many examples where people have secured amazing ranks(including AIR 1) while working in a full time job.

    Quitting a "Good job" just for the preparation would not be a wise thing imho.

    This exam is all about strategy and smart work, those who are good at it will eventually be successful.

    Treat UPSC like a long term project, set goals and achieve them periodically, ultimately everything will integrate and culminate into something good.

    Those who pass this exam in 1st attempt either prepare for a solid two or three years in college or they are just plain lucky(extremely rare). Majority of them do not pass in their first attempt by just working for 11 or 12 months. I am not saying its not possible, but just presenting you a realistic view so that you can make the right moves by knowing all the risks involved.

    Put in all the hard work + smart work along with your job, keep two attempts for this. There's no reason why you shouldnt be able to pass at least in second attempt if not in the 1st attempt.

    If you feel you really need time for UPSC after 2 attempts, then take a call on your job.

    Right now, its my humble request, dont quit your job.

    Also, you shall get confused if you start following online websites etc, knowing what to study and how to study is extremely important in the beginning, people spend months finding out the same. I suggest you to look for someone genuine who has done well in this exam. Spend lots of time with him and know what needs to be studied and from where.

    Once you have the "Right guidance", half the job is done. After that its just you and your books.

    Wish you all the best! ...
    Saw the passion in my vulnerabilities? Now see the strength in my resolution.
  • edited July 5
    I would entreat you not to quit your job, given the uncertainty involved in this exam. Since you haven't really followed current affairs until this point, I would advise you to do so, along with basic books such as NCERTs, while working for another a year. By then you would have realised whether civil services is your calling, while establishing a solid knowledge base which you can build on if you finally decide to take the plunge.Taking any decision out of confusion is not correct imo.
    Also,there are many people who have cleared this exam while working so I don't doubt whether is possible.They could provide you a better insight than me for sure.You have a good academic record which reflects your sincerity and intelligence so I'm sure it is within your grasp as well..Just my two cents.
  • @arrirang boyd, @DrKingSchuItz, @Einstein10
    The toppers you are referring to, as per what I have seen, were happy with their current jobs as well w/o facing any psychological pressure. For eg., Ira Singhal ma'am, . That is certainly not the case with me for almost a year. In between the times were better, as I had a great colleague-cum-friend, but he left too for UPSC.

    I also thought that if I can't afford to take the risk at 24, how would I manage to a risk at 26? During this time, I will get promoted, more money, more comfort, bigger risk, more age. If it doesn't work out, there could be 2 possibilities:
    1. My risk-taking appetite would increase, giving me confidence for future years too.
    2. I might be emotionally/psychological shattered. [But that's the risk irrespective of my age 24 or 26]

    The thought I got was, what if this decision is mainly because of my desire to get out of the job or I am influenced by my friends who are appearing? But to that also I pondered and realized that we always pickup things/get inspired from our surroundings and try to fit in our lives. And leaving the job gives instant mental relief which is essential to start the journey on this hard-trodden path.
  • Don't worry, take the plunge.
    Aur waise bhi, with the automation coming in, many are going to lose their jobs eventually.
    You are equipping yourself with information
    And information is power
    Those who control information, will control the world :D :D
    The day we decided that the worth of an individual was determined by their performance in an examination, that was the day Education failed us.

    Long live Revolution, Down with ForumIAS. Ban me Mods
  • edited July 5

    @arrirang boyd, @DrKingSchuItz, @Einstein10
    The toppers you are referring to, as per what I have seen, were happy with their current jobs as well w/o facing any psychological pressure. For eg., Ira Singhal ma'am, . That is certainly not the case with me for almost a year. In between the times were better, as I had a great colleague-cum-friend, but he left too for UPSC.

    I also thought that if I can't afford to take the risk at 24, how would I manage to a risk at 26? During this time, I will get promoted, more money, more comfort, bigger risk, more age. If it doesn't work out, there could be 2 possibilities:
    1. My risk-taking appetite would increase, giving me confidence for future years too.
    2. I might be emotionally/psychological shattered. [But that's the risk irrespective of my age 24 or 26]

    The thought I got was, what if this decision is mainly because of my desire to get out of the job or I am influenced by my friends who are appearing? But to that also I pondered and realized that we always pickup things/get inspired from our surroundings and try to fit in our lives. And leaving the job gives instant mental relief which is essential to start the journey on this hard-trodden path.

    Ultimately its a personal call. :tongue:
    UPSC is a risk, be it at 24 or 26. Just that you will be having a better CV and better savings at 26.
    There are both advantages and disadvantages of taking risks. One shall either become an achiever or a philosopher, either way its a life enriching experience and a win-win situation. Take the plunge if you have the will to endure it all. :)
    Now that you have seen both sides of the coin, the ball is in your court.

    All the best.
    Saw the passion in my vulnerabilities? Now see the strength in my resolution.
  • The best advice I can give you is dont seek advice here ...seek advice in your network..whoever has qualified from your college, colleagues..etc..
    Believe you me this is not the place..
  • @ arrirang boyd, @DrKingSchuItz, @ Einstein10
    The toppers you are referring to, as per what I have seen, were happy with their current jobs as well w/o facing any psychological pressure. For eg., Ira Singhal ma'am, . That is certainly not the case with me for almost a year........

    Your call. :)
    You're mature enough to take a decision best-suited to your particular circumstances.
    Prelims: 4. Mains: 2*. Interview: 1. Rank: NA.
    Literature of English Language.
    "Only through time time is conquered."
  • edited July 5
    @Pranshu Anand Ok bro. I think you know what to do best :)
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