How to Choose A Profession?

We are born to do work. Everyone has to work for a living. To choose a profession is a constant puzzle to all students, career guidance teachers and parents. Most of them generally believe that the students themselves should make the choice because they have to do the work they have chosen throughout their lives. This view seems logical because they will blame whoever chose the professions for them if they do not eventually like the chosen professions.

Does a student know enough at this young age to make such an important choice for a life time?

Many a student thinks he knows but often wind up choosing a career that is not completely satisfactory. Some frustrated ones eventually make a change after having wasted some time. I have seen many, including my only son who did a civil engineering degree course, changed to do accountancy. He is happily making money from his investment.

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Does it make sense when a student says that he likes science and mathematics so he must be a doctor or an engineer? If a subject called ‘How to make money?’ is taught in school, I believe almost all the students would like to study this subject and finally choose the profession of making money.

Happiness is every one’s ultimate aim in life. How can you be happy if you do not have money? Just look at your parents, in all their lives they have been working hard for money, spending prudently and trying to save some money for their old age. So, the most important consideration is money.

Which profession pays the best salary?

There are so many banks in every town or city and invariably the top 1 or 2 jobs in every bank are accountants. Accountants can easily find employment.

There are more than 1,000 public listed companies in Malaysia and invariably the top 2 or 3 jobs in every company are people involved in accountancy or finance. Top accountants usually become Chief Financial Officers and eventually become Chief Executive Officers of listed corporations and they enjoy the highest salary among all professionals.

About 20 years ago, when I was on the board of IJM Corporation Bhd. we promoted our CFO Krishnan Tan to be the CEO even though we had more than 100 fully qualified engineers. Why?

At that time IJM needed to raise some money to make some acquisitions and Krishnan suggested to issue ICULS. All the members of the board who were engineers, like me, did not know about ICULS and its advantages.

During Krishnan’s tenure, IJM listed 2 subsidiaries, IJM Plantation and IJM Land. As a result, its market capitalization has multiplied more than ten times. I do not think IJM can be so successful if we did not consider an accountant to be CEO.

In recognition of his achievement, he was awarded a Datoship and Tan Sri. His pay is more than Rm one million per year, many times more than any senior engineer.

Many of a student would say that he does not like accountancy because it is a boring profession. What is so enjoyable for an engineer in surveying or supervising construction work in the hot sun? You must bear in mind that it is likely the employer, a contractor or developer, is a businessman without tertiary education.

Fortunately we still have people who are really interested in engineering, otherwise we will not have so many buildings, highways and other infrastructures. Among the several branches of engineering, civil engineers have less difficulties in finding employment.

In most cases, if the job pays well, anybody will not mind if the work is not too enjoyable. So, it all boils down to money, the most important consideration. The average income for accountants is more than the average income for doctors or any other profession.

Note: Many of my scholarship applicants are not sure what they want to study. To save my time and effort, I have prepared this article for them. I hope it will be helpful to you.

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