The Want of a Safe Job: Root of all mediocrity in India

Safe Job
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If you are a Job aspirant looking for a safe job, you should pay extra attention to the lines marked in bold.

In July 2017, a medical college in West Bengal invited applications for a job profile that required handling dead bodies and organs in the post mortem section. Out of the 300 applications received, one of four applicants was either pursuing a PhD or already had an MPhil.

In Sept 2017, Uttar Pradesh Secretariat invited applications for the post of peon. Of the 23 lakh applications received, 250 candidates were doctorate, more than 1,50,000 graduates and around 20,000 post graduates.

One could go on and on with examples and ultimately give way to the conclusion that the dearth of jobs in the economy has reached its peak. The job market currently employs around 3.92 million people, a little higher than the 2013 number of 3.85, but very divergent from the GDP numbers. What is happening in India is that the numbers aren’t being reflected in the jobs? Why is the growth quotient not creating enough jobs? There are a lot of reasons for that. A few of those reasons could be settled upon, a few could be argued upon. And one of the former is the mindset of looking for a “Safe career path”.

Let one thing be clear on the onset- there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a safe job. There is no shame in admitting that everyone wants a job they can feel secured about not getting fired from. But the ever extending scope of this “safety” has become the root of all mediocrity in the country. Wanting a safe job is okay, but this has translated to wanting a “safe sarkari” job where I can’t get fired no matter whether I perform or not.

That the government is a benevolent employer and that unions exist to safeguard the interests of those in a “safe” government job has been abused by many of us for so long. Of course, this is not an accusation to people in government jobs- they have the most arduous of tasks and slowest of career progressions. But that doesn’t make it any less attractive. Why? Because it is a safe job. Because people who abuse this very safety net encourage those after them to follow in their steps.

Do a quick Google search on “jobs for PhD candidates” and a link for appears with 11861 page results- 50 listings on each page. And yet more than 250 people apply for a post of a peon in the Uttar Pradesh secretariat. What is the lucrative thing about these jobs?

Ask any private sector drop out applying for a government department why is he willing to let go of an MNC and wither away in slow moving bureaucratic machinery- his first answer will be work pressure and second one will be job security. Let me break that down for you. He feels the work pressure is too much in his company. So he wants a less pressurizing job. So he will take up a government job, where he knows for a fact that he will not need to work as much. Need, or choose? And it also fulfills his second criteria of a job security.

Mind it; I am not making a case for not applying to government jobs- India needs a sturdy, robust bureaucracy- now more than ever; but not if you want it only to relax.

Of the many vacancies that lie vacant on various job portals, many will be rejected because of belonging to the private sector, or not offering job security. You took an education, you got a degree; what makes you so afraid to take a job that will fire you if you don’t perform. Better yet, why not start a new business. Don’t have funds? Get on the internet and log on to

Contrary to popular belief, India has too few entrepreneurs as compared to the rest of the world vis-à-vis its rate of growth. That needs to change. With every global brand wanting to come to India to exploit the large market that it is, why don’t we tap the opportunity? Why is the west customizing and bringing new offerings for India while we sit jobless waiting for a miracle.

To rise out of the mediocrity, we have to take effort. Don’t blame the government when your own motivation to take up a government job is a relaxed office and perpetual salary not withstanding whether you give output or not.

In the end, I am reiterating some things so that this is taken in the right spirit

–>  No, government jobs are not time zones from the 80’s where you don’t work and get away with it- but you think of them to be, and that’s wrong

–>  Wanting a safe job is not bad, but applying for a post of a peon after having done a PhD is a waste of your talent and the country’s resources.

–>  Yes there is a dearth of jobs, but there is also a dearth of willpower. Move over the mediocrity and solve the part of the problem that you can.

–>  There is no shame or downgrade in the work of a peon, but why not put your degree to a use when you are looking for a job?


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Rishabh Mehta

Banker | Writer
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