CAREER GUIDE Friday, June 27, 2003, Chandigarh, India
Cartoonists: they say it all
Sanjay Austa
hat the write-ups attempt to express in 12 newspaper sheets, the cartoon does it in a pithy one liner. Little wonder then that the first thing most of us like to see when we pick up a newspaper is the cartoon.

The not so exciting facets of work
Global experts will rack their brains together to get rolling on the future of work, at a two-day conference hosted by the ESRC-funded Future of Work Research Programme in London.



Cartoonists: they say it all
Sanjay Austa

A cartoonist in his office
A cartoonist in his office. — Photo by writer

What the write-ups attempt to express in 12 newspaper sheets, the cartoon does it in a pithy one liner. Little wonder then that the first thing most of us like to see when we pick up a newspaper is the cartoon. Simple though it may seem, making a cartoon is an art that requires a combination of hard work, training and a good sense of humour. Caroonists say that the cartoons that make us laugh the most are in fact the cartoons hardest to make.

Even celebrated cartoonists like R.K. Laxman admit that making a cartoon is not a piece of cake. He says he has to wait for over six hours, which include spending a lot of time scanning newspapers and television channels before any idea strikes him.

So how does one become a cartoonist? Which of us have the talent to make it? How can we master the rib-tickling strokes and the witty one liners? How can we make people smile or laugh. And how can we make people think. The happy news is that jobs for cartoonists are opening up. There was a time when cartoonists were around but there was no one to hire them. Leaving aside a few renowned cartoonists, most cartoonists had other jobs and made cartoons for their amusement or if they were lucky, as a subsidiary profession.

However, times have changed and the booming publishing industry realises that a good cartoon conveys an idea much more effectively than words. With today’s youngsters brimming with creativity and ingenious ideas, cartooning is no more a passing fad. They want to explore cartooning as a serious career option "I get phone calls frequently from young aspiring cartoonists seeking advice", says Neelab, a cartoonist who does an irreverent cartoon script ‘Dubayaman’ for The Times of India.

There are no colleges or schools for cartoonists. Most cartoonists come from art colleges and polytechnic institutes while some learn the craft on their own. The Indian Institute of Cartooning in Bangalore only holds diverse cartooning contests for budding cartoonists. Most established cartoonists are of the view that no institute can teach one to make a cartoon. "You can pick up the craft, you may learn to sketch and draw in institutes, but no one can teach anyone how to make a good cartoon", says Uday Shanker, a cartoonist with Navbharat Times.

However, most cartoonists agree that art colleges and polytechnic institutes provide a good grounding for anyone wishing to pursue this profession. Basics like drawing and sketching can be honed here to perfection "One must know how to make a portrait first. It is later that one learns how to distort it into a cartoon", says Neelab.

Because it’s a question of one’s creativity and humour — two- qualities one simply may not have the advice established cartoonists give is just because you can sketch, don’t take it for granted that you will become a cartoonist. "One should take it as an option and then this option should be explored. If they get hired somewhere well and good", says Shekhar Gurera, a cartoonist with The Pioneer.

For a political cartoonist, usually hired by newpapers, news sense is a prerequisite. A degree or diploma in mass communication is preferable. One must be able to come up with hard-hitting punch lines that depict a current event succinctly. "The cartoon must make you laugh and make you ponder", says Neelab. He also believes that a cartoonist hoping to work in a newspaper must put in some years as a Sub-Editor.

The career prospects for the cartoonist continue to grow. Besides working in a newpaper organisation, cartoonists have a host of options. He or she can pick up work as an illustrator in publishing houses. Textbooks also require cartoons to provide some refreshing relief or illustrate a point. Another major area which has opened up a big avenue for cartoonists is animation films.

Animation films require cartoonists and hire their services for a good pay-packet. Lot of Indian firms produce raw material for foreign animation films. Besides, there are cartoon networks channels and multi-media firms that hire cartoonists from time to time.

The not so exciting facets of work

LONDON: Global experts will rack their brains together to get rolling on the future of work, at a two-day conference hosted by the ESRC-funded Future of Work Research Programme in London.

"This conference will put an end to the conjecture and visionary statements that too often capture the headlines on the future of paid and unpaid work," states Prof Peter Nolan, Director of the Future of Work Programme.

The conference will see thrashing out of new ideas and also give a hearing to measured conclusions on the important area of policy debate, based on rigorous research from top international experts. It will also combine new data from the Future of Work Programme, with research from nine countries, including the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Germany.

For example, findings from the UK show that full-time permanent employment remains dominant, with 9 out of 10 employees still working in permanent jobs and only 1 in 20 employees engaged on temporary contracts.

Although the world is gaga over new technology, it has not ‘revolutionised’ the work experience of all employees in the UK,where 7 out of 10 higher professionals and senior managers use the Internet at work, fewer than 2 out of 10 supervisors and technicians do so. New research reveals that only 15 per cent of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers are required to use new technology in the workplace.

In spite of companies crying hoarse about employee-friendly personal relations and effective HR policy, most workers still lack any effective voice or representation at work, as only 26 per cent of managers regularly consult employee representatives.

The number of employees dissatisfied with their work life has scaled upward from that in 1992. One in 3 British men and 1 in 10 women work more than 50 hours a week. The proportion of men satisfied with their working hours has dropped from 35 per cent to 20 per cent in 3 years. For women, the satisfaction quotient has plummeted to 26 per cent from 54 per cent. All this goes on to lead that the future world of work will not be marked by revolutionary changes in employment, work relations and work life balance. Such research will provide policy-makers with some welcome and timely evidence with which to inform future policy initiatives. — ANI



Hairstylists in demand

Q I want to become a hairstylist. Please tell me about the prospects in detail.

— Kalpana Malhotra

A With the likes of Clairol, L’Oreal, Wella, TIGI and Schwarzkopf entering the Indian market, hairdressing has become a hot business.

Not content with a mere trim, the Indian woman, quite like her western counterpart, is turning adventurous. And what quicker way to transform the way you look — than sporting a new zippy hairstyle!

No longer is perming, straightening, colouring, tinting, bleaching, conditioning or volumising, purely a women’s thing. Men are increasingly going for the whole works - equally game to experiment and have fun with hair.

And with hair having become an essential part of one’s fashion statement, the hairstylist is now treated on a par with a fashion designer, commanding mega bucks.

Being a hairstylist is not all glamour. It calls for hard work and precision. You have to stand on your feet for long hours, establish good communication with your client (creating a feeling of mutual trust). Make sure you’re not asthmatic or allergic to ammonia fumes though.

The first starting point is a certification from a professional school of hairstyling -to get a hang of the basics. You also need to keep up with the latest international trends - continuously studying international magazines, learning new techniques, watching TV and the browsing the Net.

You have to focus on the complete look — keeping in mind the person’s age, personality and lifestyle. Starting out as a shampooist, you go on to become a junior hairstylist and finally a senior hairstylist, adding specialisations as you go along.

Starting out with Rs 5000-7000, you can earn over Rs 20,000 with some experience, not to mention the generous tips that satisfied customers will slip into your pocket.

And if you make it to the tinsel town or the fashion world, you can expect anything from Rs 40,000 to a lakh.

After you’ve gained some experience and a reputation at a good parlour, you can start your own salon. Factor in an investment of Rs 8 to10 lakh for a well-equipped 2-3 seater. If you are good, your reputation will spread fast and wide and you can expect quick and good returns.


Q I had computers as a subject in school and found it very interesting. So I thought I’d do BCA in college. But now everyone says IT is finished and has no scope. Is this true?

— Randhir Khurana

A Is the boom over for Indian IT companies? The global slowdown notwithstanding, IT and computers remain the most sought after careers today among Indian youth, along with the all-time favourites like engineering and medicine.

The MTV-IMRB consumer survey on ‘cool careers’ conducted across six metros not long ago, revealed that Indian youth still consider computers as the ‘coolest’ career. IT was the No. 2 choice of the youth - second only to entrepreneurship.

Engineering was fourth on the career preference chart while medicine came fifth. Over 500 million computers are in use all over the world. Considering that every three computers need at least one person to run them, you have over 166 million jobs here itself.

High-tech IT professionals are still hot prospects despite the dot-com downturn. Traditional companies demand tech talent as they launch business-to-business e-commerce initiatives or catch up in the web retail market. In fact, dot-com companies account for only 10 per cent of the overall Internet economy.

So make sure you develop marketable IT skills with a solid degree in IT, or hone your professional skills with a business degree designed for the tech industry. All said and done, IT is a big industry, which cannot become any smaller. The demand for IT jobs is bound to grow and not decrease - in the long term.


Q After completing MCom (corresp), I have been working for the past two years. I’m now keen on pursuing further studies in finance abroad. Are correspondence courses recognised?

— Amit Singh

A Prospective Indian students are often in doubt about their eligibility for further studies in the USA based on MA or MCom degrees they may have obtained from an open university or through distance learning. Although little value is accorded to these courses here, these degrees, so long as they are awarded by a reputed university, are quite acceptable to American universities, and are treated on a par with the degrees obtained by regular college attendance. However, not all correspondence courses are held in equal esteem.

Also, diplomas offered by computer training institutes are not recognised by any US college. However, if you have taken a course in India that has a valid tie-up with an American university, it may help get you some advanced credits in some courses. But these courses do count towards computer literacy and will definitely improve your chances of getting financial aid in the form of an on-campus assistantship.

Over and above your academic qualifications, it is the entire package — your performance in GRE/GMAT along with your statement of purpose (SOP), transcripts and recommendations that the admission committee will take into account while considering your application.

Drug Inspector

Q Could you please tell me about the eligibility and work of a Drug Inspector?

— Ashok Chopra

A With the proliferating menace of spurious and sub-standard drugs infiltrating the market, a lot is wanting in the Department of Vigilance. The strength of drug control organisations is woefully inadequate for the tremendous increase in the number of drug traders and manufacturers over the past 20 years. The Drug Control Department shoulders the mind-boggling task of watch over thousands of chemist shops, medicine supplies in hospitals and nursing homes and drug manufacturing units in each state.

The task force appointed by the Central Government has recommended that there should be at least one Drug Inspector for every 25 manufacturing units and 100 selling establishments. The All-India Drug Control Officers Confederation has submitted a memorandum to the Union Government highlighting the deficiences in the system. There is a requirement for at least 2907 drug inspectors in the country as against the existing strength of 703.

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation recruits drug inspectors through the UPSC.

To qualify as a Drug Inspector you need any of the following qualifications: Degree in Pharmacy or Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Master’s degree in Chemistry with Pharmaceuticals as a special subject or equivalent or Associate Diploma of the Institute of Chemists (India) obtained by passing the exam wth "Analysis of Drugs & Pharmaceuticals" as a subject or Pharmaceutical Chemist Diploma of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain or a degree in Medicine or Science with at least 1-year training in a lab under (i) Govt Analyst appointed under the Drugs & Cosmetics Act or (ii) Chemical Examiner or (iii) Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chemistry, Great Britain (Branch E).

Pervin Malhotra, Director, CARING

Please send in your query preferably on a postcard along with your name, complete address and academic qualifications to: Editor, Query Hotline, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh-160020, or at