Do Himachalis lack confidence? Are they risk averse?



May I add my two cents — whilst what has been expressed seems to represent different schools of thought — I do believe that confidence is directly correlated to successfully gaining employment and ultimately succeeding in a chosen career. In saying so I am contradicting the empirical evidence set forth by one of the boarders (A member of Him-Vani on Yahoogroups). However, more often than not figures do not accurately reflect the state of affairs.

I will not comment on whether Himachalis lack confidence — it would be unfair on my part to try and brush an entire community with one stroke. However, let us look at it this way, within Himachal most people are invariably working for the state government. Of course as has been pointed out there are those who are businessmen and then there are the agriculturists. As is the case, as far as farming is concerned not many people would have to show a significant deal of confidence to succeed, it's sheer hard work.

Turning to business, well in most cases — before any of you cry murder I am saying in most cases, not all – children are groomed from a very tender age with the ultimate goal of them being assimilated into the family business. Clearly, if one repeats the same task an umpteen number of times s/he is bound to gain a degree of confidence. Additionally, it may be noted that children from business families in Himachal tend to play an active role very early, i.e. indirectly actually establishing themselves as financially independent — not in real terms because they aren’t exactly remunerated for their work – which makes them fully aware of their potential to earn. This in turn bolsters their level of confidence.

Many people work for the state government, which I am sure many boarders may agree is considered the best form of employment by most locals as it is considered stable. I may be wrong in what I am about to say, as I do not completely understand the exact procedure adopted to recruit employees in Himachal; please do correct me if I am wrong. From what I do understand most vacancies are filled by way of exams, a candidate is expected to successfully pass an exam and then get through an interview and pronto they have a secure government job. The problem is again not much confidence is required in this either, academic ability is most certainly a necessity but high levels of confidence are not.

I accept that from what I have elaborated thus far, I am actually contradicting my own assertion. The catch is, what about Himachalis who wish to move out of the state and explore opportunities beyond the state. One cannot ignore the reality that China and India have significantly benefited from their nationals who emigrated (fiscally as well as by way of skills), by analogy migration within states (in India) is always beneficial. It not only enhances the talent and skill pool of a state, migrant workers act as free ambassadors for their states, thereby reflecting upon the human resources of the state. It is in this context I believe that confidence plays a significant role in gaining employment.

We will all agree that a degree no longer ensures a job; quite frankly a degree doesn’t even ensure an interview. Put yourself in a recruiter’s place, would you hire an individual purely based on the condition that the applicant has two – three degrees? I am afraid I wouldn’t — many recruiters look for an ability to take initiative and work both as a team and on occasion independently. Additionally, what’s the point in recruiting an individual who cannot communicate her/his thoughts succinctly? All these skills require a high degree of confidence in ones abilities. It must also be borne in mind that once out the state; candidates compete with talent from all over the country, certainly plenty of competition.

Whether people from the state lack confidence or not is debatable. I agree with one of the boarders, as harsh as this may sound, to work for a meagre INR 800 a month when one has a M.Sc. degree is actually sheer laziness. At the moment, a call centre would pay INR 15,000 +. Education opens doors, it doesn’t shut windows.

Perhaps the reason behind the lack of desire to move from the state stems from the strong familial bonds that Himachalis share, thereby making a move out of the state a no go. I also believe, this is my personal opinion, that Himachalis are risk averse. If one looks at the penetration of stock brokers across the country and contrasts the same with the manner in which locals conduct their investments it gives a healthy insight into the attitude of people. Once again the reason for this aversion stems from lack of appreciation which in turn results in a lack of confidence in equities. What this leads me to deduce is that: many people from the state are averse to taking on risk, they are willing to forgo opportunities better or worse — one never knows until one explores – and just stay put. Why would any one do that? I will let you ponder.

A change of mind is needed, a willingness to explore and finally if and I say if there is a lack of confidence, then the reason for it needs to be identified. Confidence grows over the developmental years of a child, thus somewhere along the way the education system is not providing enough. Additionally, perhaps parents would do better by letting young people take on greater responsibility and pamper them less. As much as I hate to say this but I will, in the west we work our way through University, parents do not pay for our education and clothes. In the bargain this makes us stronger as an individual and certainly more confident!

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