We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Career growth .... Politics vs Computer Science

With the infusion of Delhi assembly elections there is tremendous energy in the Indian political scene. Formation of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has revitalized the Indian politics to the extent people have lost the cynicism that was present for a long time, and look forward towards new changes. 

A lot of party hopping is seen happening amongst the three party candidates, namely Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and AAP. With such party hopping comes the question of whether these party hoppers are opportunists who change parties for reasons such as they being not given ticket to contest from a certain constituency? There is a lot of question in media about the morale of such people, where they suddenly change parties which they earlier were in opposition with. 

Leaving aside all the aspects of morality and related things, a good question to ask is, what is it to be a politician, and what does it hold for a person in politics as a career. Lets compare politics as a career with say, private sector careers such as an IT professional. Switching jobs and moving to a different company is a very common practice in IT profession. It is considered essential for a person's career growth to have a diverse experience form different companies. It is a different question some times some people make some of these jobs look like a permanent job for the life time, where once they start in a company, they finally retire from the same company. No, we do not want to look at such professionals in here. 

So if IT professionals change their jobs so many times, why would it be considered immoral when a politician changes it? Well, now lets look back to what options usually a budding politician has? There are very few options in terms of established major parties, where a politicians would change to. Such parties usually have old established politicians, so breaking the ceiling here could be a challenging task. The other option is start your own party, which is very much like start your own startup and grow it up. But as we know most startups fail, and a very few succeed to out grow. So it is considered wise to join an established party and grow there as long as it gives sufficient opportunities. But how many such opportunities exist? Because usually elections occur once in around 4 years, when there occurs major disruption. So the growth is very slow here compared to growth lets say in other professions. So politicians are actually at a disadvantage in terms of growth of careers. 

Why do IT professionals change jobs? Many times its because of better salaries, better working environment, skill improvement, etc. Reasons are plenty. The aspect of loyalty to an employer is not a big issue here, because the skills needed for the job has nothing to do with loyalty most of the times. Forget for time being the concepts of competitor products intellectual property rights etc, where you can not join a competitor company due to infringement of intellectual property rights. On the contrast most political parties have some core philosophies of their own, they have their own ideology to which people in the party should stick to. This is precisely the reason when politicians switch parties questions are raised about how suddenly a person can change his own ideologies because that indicates the person in the first place did not believe in them truly, because ideologies can not be changed so easily.

Well, this is the reason hardly few politicians change their parties and stick to the one they started with. But with the dynamism we are seeing in Indian politics after introduction of AAP, we need to be able to also consider how this kind of thinking could be challenged which would make politics more of a skill based field, where people could compete based on certain things the way, IT professionals compete. I think that will bring the best out of politics, and it would also make it more competitive and more appealing to make drastic changes in the way societies are made to observe the impact a party should create, for the welfare of its people. 

Its a good thought. Some kind of disruption in the way politics occur at present, to how it should happen in future. Lets hope it happens for the best. 

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