The Prison of Prestige.
Prestige is a funny thing.
You should aim to have it but not let it have you. I mean, as long as you are concerned about your integrity and freedom of thought, you are good. But if you stretch prestige beyond what’s needed, you’ll be trapped inside an invisible prison.
Thinking about how others perceive you is a tricky thing. Some cultures (like Indian) embed deep into your DNA to pay great attention to the opinions around you about you. But who knows best about what you really seek in life?
Though everyone around you is sheepishly following the conventional route, you needn’t be yet another dumb sheep. Your parents want you to make them proud, your friends want you to do an MBA, your better half wants you to travel the world with her, but what do you want to do with your life?
That is really the most important question. Lose your mind over that, and nothing else. You can convince everyone around you (albeit slowly) if you are dead sure about what you want to do. But don’t ever let the prestige issue seep into your thinking.
If you are a banker on Wall Street, but love teaching in orphanages, do it. If you are an engineer in Boeing but want to build motorcycles instead, do it. If you are a PhD student in Nanoscience, but love writing novels, do it. Doing what you love shouldn’t be hampered by your prestige.
Fame, public image, social status are temporary. And highly biased. Speak to your heart, do what it yearns badly, though it looks extremely silly in your current career situation. Go, fall in love with the future you wish to create.