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Simmering Hope

Hope is the expectation that something outside of ourselves, something or someone external, is going to come to our rescue and we will live happily ever after. – Dr. Robert Anthony

May 18, 2014

Doctor or Engineer?

Doctor or Engineer?

The other day I was thinking about what would be the best career path for my son. He is only 10 and has plenty of opportunities to becoming whatever he might want to become, with a small amendment: I am a strong believer in ‘brain washing’, as in we, as responsible parents, know better and it’s our duty to convince the kid what it would be best for him.

Over here there is a school of thought that kids should do whatever makes them happy. Useless to say that I am totally against this stupid idea. Sure, it’s fine to be happy; however, pretty soon you get a wake up call when you can’t pay your mortgage or buy food because you don’t have enough money for both of them. I wonder how happy are you going to be if you chose to become an artist versus getting a real job?

Let’s get back to the real issue now. For the past years, it’s became clear that it’s going to be harder and harder to get into Medical School in Canada. Being a doctor has multiple advantages: a safe and in high demand job, privileged position in society, respect from others and plenty of money (to make you happy, as we stated already). All these advantages are well known and understood by everybody with at least a half brain. Hence, the huge competition to get into this school. Sure, if you are a student (high school grades are irrelevant under the following scenario) coming from a rich family who can afford to donate a few million dollars to build a new wing at Vancouver Hospital or a new lab at UBC, you have absolutely nothing to worry about getting into Medical School. But if you are a straight A, honour student, coming from a humble, hard working middle class family, your chance are …let’s see… about 1% to get into this well sought after school. And by 1% I think I am pretty generous, as it means that you have a chance to beat the odds.

What have I read today in Daily Mail? That in the U.K is pretty much the same. Kids are encouraged to get into engineering because chances to get into medicine are slim to none.

Conveniently the article forgot to mention a few facts:
1. Engineers are paid much, much less than a doctor
2. Good jobs in engineering are only a few and far between
3. Security of the job is close to none
4. Once you reach a certain age and years of working for the same company, you are obviously holding a senior position, hence you would become less desirable and made redundant because now you cost the company too much

As a chemical engineer, I have experienced all of the above and therefore, I strongly encourage my son to stay as much away as possible from a career in engineering. At least until the society will self regulate and admit that without good engineers, the doctors will revert to the Middle Age practicum. But until then…


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