In a developing country like Pakistan, emphasis on acquiring quality education is instilled into the minds of children from a very young age. However, with a majority of the population still not fortunate enough to receive proper education due to varying reasons and circumstances, the ones who are fortunate enough to have access to all kinds of educational resources, more often than not, share a one-dimensional philosophy, i.e. making their children students of science or business studies, but majorly science.
In Pakistan, young boys grow up wanting to become pilots, cricketers, or members of the Armed Forces, whereas young girls grow up wanting to become doctors or teachers. Complex fields such as Actuarial Sciences or Nuclear Physics are not accustomed to children, while acquiring education and training to becoming a pilot or getting enrolled in a top-level business school requires significant amount of monetary input, which are some of the reasons why students take up the option of pursuing conventional science subjects in their high schools, and subsequently get enrolled in engineering colleges and universities later on because they offer the chance to have a stable future at a comparatively smaller monetary input.
Bluntly put, engineering is the study of finding ways to simplify the lives of people. The life of an engineer is meant to be spent thinking of and implementing ways to make the lives of people using machines, or any other system, easier and efficient.
However, Engineering is one of the most thankless professions in Pakistan, for many reasons. Here we look at some of the struggles an ‘engineer’ has to go through during and after graduation.
1. You lose track of day and night
If you see a student in a poorly dressed attire, swollen eyes, and messy hair on your bus, you can be sure that the person in question is an engineering student who was awake, completing several assignments due on the same day and is on his way to attend an 8 AM class.
An engineering student, on average, attends about 2000 lectures in his 4 years in an engineering college, and completes several hundred more assignments, projects, presentations, technical reports, lab manuals, and whatnot during the same time!
2. “Where did all the girls go?”
This struggle is absolutely real! Engineering has long been thought of as a male-dominant profession, and this fact is one of the reasons why the male engineering students are so demotivated for their studies.
3. “Beta, toaster/fridge/microwave sahi kar do!“
We have all been through this phase. If you are an engineer, your family members automatically assume that you MUST know how to fix the toaster, sandwich maker, television, microwave, and just about everything that moves. If you don’t, you are labeled as a ‘jali engineer’ and that your education has all been a waste. *facepalm moment*
4. Job search and deceptive family members
During our time in an engineering college, several family members assure us that once we complete our four-year studies, they would get us into the best engineering firm because they have friends working in high positions who are always on the lookout of hardworking engineers like ourselves. However, as soon as engineers graduate and look at these family members, this is how they react:
5. Loads of Berozgari days
Engineering, as a professional field, has become quite saturated in Pakistan, a well-known fact that is the result of a large number of annual engineering graduates coming into a comparatively smaller industry. Employment opportunities for fresh graduates are far and few. In general terms, a single job opening is available for about 200 engineering graduates – a tough competition for even the most genius of students.
Then there is the issue of not having enough work experience. Again, how are we supposed to have work experience if no one is going to hire us in the first place?
6. Engineers and the ‘minimum wage bracket’
After countless failed applications and several more interview screenings, engineers usually settles for the first job they are offered, regardless of the fact that its field-related or not. At least they are out of the unemployment phase and can finally have some peace of mind, right? Wrong. Absolutely wrong.
In simpler terms, engineers are offered jobs that pay them just enough money to qualify as being above the minimum wage bracket. Some organizations even pay their drivers and chefs more money than engineers initially make – which is why so many engineers get demotivated and switch their professions in the first five years of their jobs.
7. Masters – MS or MBA?
This is a dilemma that usually accompanies a confused engineering graduate. Get a Masters degree and specialize in their own engineering field and risk an entire lifetime of being an underpaid engineering specialist? Or get an MBA degree that will help polish their skills as interactive, multi-functional engineers with an ability to switch fields if engineering does not serve them well? Usually it’s the latter, but for the ones who choose to do their MS, usually end up being lesser content with their lives.
8. “Shaadi kab kar rahe ho?“
Once settled (albeit forcefully) in their professional lives, an engineer faces the unnecessary questions about their marriage plans from just about every aunty in the family.
This is more of a generalized struggle, but the people fail to understand that an engineer cannot get married as early as someone belonging to the Finance or Business sector.
An engineer’s life revolves around his/her ability to make the lives of other people easy. Little do people know that the struggles this ability brings to them make their own lives difficult to manage when they step foot in their professional, engineering lives. Engineers have lived for the people and will continue to do so till the very end of times!
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