Become an engineer
This is crucial. If you aspire to be Economist, it absolutely is crucial that you don’t enrol for an undergrad program in Economics. Do not let those marginal microeconomic nano-particles get into your systems at the margin while in a carefree, young age. Get an engineering degree instead. Our professional field is anyway full of engineers. Might as well get an engineering degree and learn how to change a light bulb or do something useful.
Since you are an engineer, they will automatically assume that you know Maths (only other engineers know that you don’t) and will unleash some crazy Hamiltonians onto your poor, innocent, relatively harmless engineering mind at Masters level. But look at them in the eye and pretend that you can see the solution. Just pretend. Remember, they cannot. So, you pretending to know will be enough. Just wind up the discussion by saying you can’t quite see that second differential equation getting solved in three variables, and say that you’ll submit the solution for the third variable hopefully by tonight. That should get them into a right sweat.
If engineering is really not quite the thingy for you, any other stuff will do. A nice major in Literature should do quite well, except that they’ll automatically assume you don’t know Maths and will unleash some crazy Hamiltonians onto your poor, innocent, relatively harmless literary mind at Masters level with double zeal and energy. Look at them in the eye and pooh-pooh it. Oh yeah. Just do what I say. If you have a bit of an actor in you, say with hitherto unsuspected vengeance and contempt,” Maths is just a tool to reach the solution. Once you get there, call me”. Gently drift away, leaving the buggers open-mouthed.
Pssst! You already are in the second year undergrad Economics? How could you, my dear…but, ok, let me tell you, all is not lost. So this is what you do. Ignore the texts. Um-hmm, you read right. Ignore it. It is important to remember that you can’t take the marginalists too seriously. They are designed to make young kids crazy with marginal ideas. Clear your exams, thank the Almighty and move into an MBA degree immediately.
It’s full of engineers too, who are busy trying to act like they understand stock markets immaculately. Unleash your frustration onto them. Use the word “marginal” into every statement of yours. Tell them that their stock market analysis might just work using the law of averages, but if any kind of a downside risk enters the domain at the margin, then the marginal effect may just create unnecessary tensions in the system. Gosh! What an amazingly stupid statement! But believe me, they like this kinda stuff.
But, I dither. Because this blog is about how to be economist. If you are in an Economics undergrad program, you are already not in the right queue, dearie. You’ll have to move into that MBA. Wait for my next blog on “How to be MBA”.
It is important to have a taste in music. The more eclecticer your taste, the exoticer you are as an economist. Its alright not to understand repo rates, but the Lord help you if you don’t know breathing under water. Nah, dear, I am not talking about actually breathing under water. We economists are not about doing the physical underwater stunts right. That we can cause entire economies to submerge under debt burdens is another thing altogether. I dither again, right? Well, so, Breathing Under Water is an Anoushka Shankar album.
Also learn to hum, especially with clients who are anxious about some forecast gone wrong. That helps them to breathe underwater, sorry, couldn’t resist that one; that helps them to breathe easier because they think you know how to troubleshoot. Trouble is you don’t. So, hum. It has multiple benefits. It eases your mind, calms the client and saves you the trouble of doing stupid small talk. Also, if the bugger sitting opposite you also starts humming, it’s time to hum something even more exotic. Even the worst will shut up when you eventually hum Yo-Yo Honey Singh. That man always works.
Write a paper titled “The wage differential in paddy field cultivation in two adjacent districts in West Bengal and Orissa: Is it a cultural overhang?”
By this time, they will be eating out of your hands. You have just delivered the perfect six. Remember, the key words are paddy and overhang. You can substitute cultural with sociological, political, paternalistic or coastal. It does not matter. If you can overhang, please do so immediately. Also, look out for a real exotic journal to get the stuff published in. “The International Journal of Regional and District Dynamics” should do the nicely. There. You are almost ready. One last thing..
Grow a beard
Men, you really really need this accessory. It creates several delightful options in the mind of anyone who sees you. A bearded economist could be
- Communist-rightist (That’s tricky)
- Rightist, with a left past (My fav ones!)
- Leftist, with a right past (Nope. Not happening.)
It leaves the client in dilemma, whilst you hum behind that beard. If you are a pathetic singer, the beard provides just the right amount of muffling. If you are humming Yo-Yo of course, no muffling works. If you are a good singer, the hum plus the beard is an extremely reassuring signal. I’ve even heard that the beard protects you from face burn whilst on the paddy field to do your dissertation on cultural overhang.
I know, I know, you are thinking what do the girls do? Simple. Try the bindi. You either need to wear a huge one or don’t wear one at all. The huge one creates a Smriti-Sushma effect and the zero one pushes you into Didi mode. Both images have been known to help in making the entire world sit up while you do your forecasts in style. Remember, earrings are prohibited, unless you are male with no beard.
Are we ready?