Wednesday, 12 June 2019

What are the Obstacles to Career Planning and how to Overcome Them?


Careers seem to be one of the most important rather vital ingredients of living. As early as
the age of 3-5 years, the parents and elders begin talking to the child about his/her career desires. The child may not be totally aware of the gravity of the topic, but even then he contributes enthusiastically in the discussion. The parents have their own ambitions for this child’s career and start putting away funds for a future date.

And so it is really surprising that most students even today just stumble into a career and many of these continue with a career for life that they do not find a connection with. As adults we often come across people who go through their everyday work life with a sense of burden and compulsion and find no joy in their work of life. I have come across many adults who are financially successful but harbor the regret that if they had the awareness in their student life, they would have chosen some other career line for themselves.

As counselor I counsel many students who are not able to cope up with the demands of a course they have chosen. There are many who are desperate to drop their study courses half way. When such a situation arises, there is a lot at stake. From the time the choice of the study course is made not only the student, but the entire family invests financially, mentally, physically and emotionally in the career. By the time the student comes to me they are already lacking 2/3 years behind their colleagues. They lose a substantial amount of confidence in this process of trial and error and some arrive in a real state of depression.

Further in life, if the chosen career does not fall in line with the aptitude and interest of the individual, he/she cannot find the enthusiasm to devout to the work. In the absence of personal interest and involvement, any work is a mere compulsion. It is then carried out like a duty and no extra efforts are put into it. Work is generally a Monday morning disaster and it is performed as a punishment. With such an attitude no person can make extra contribution to the work and obviously the returns and progress is restricted.

Why people choosing wrong careers?

In this fast and competitive world where a person is identified with his/her career, it is not worth to land up with a wrong choice. The cost of a wrong choice is high and not always easily correctable. Hence, it is essential to understand the reasons why we end up with wrong careers so that we can avoid the same for us and our dear ones while there is still time.

1. Lack of information
2. Desire for the security of the tried and tested
3. Popularity ranking of career options
4. Glamour of certain institutes
5. Peer pressure
6. Lure of ‘the in thing’
7. Attachment of parent’s personal ‘ego’ and ‘status’ to a child’s career
8. Insistence of the parent to force the child to follow the parents footsteps

There can be several more individualized reasons for the making of a wrong career choice. But the outcome is almost the same- a lost student unable to cope up with study demands growing up to be a dissatisfied adult not enjoying life.

How to avoid wrong career choice

Careers are the mainstay of our life where most other factors come to revolve round it. A person who is not satisfied with his/her nature of work/ pace of growth/ opportunities and challenges offered/ lifestyle pattern cannot derive the much needed satisfaction and growth out of the work. The career becomes one of the biggest drags of life. And since careers take the centre stage for us, people lose interest in other facets of life. Their families are the first to suffer the brunt of their frustration and life becomes one long chore.

Today we live in an era where career options are innumerable. Technology brings information galore to our door steps. There are hundreds of government and non- government scholarships that can bring every career option within our reach. The only need is to understand the individual and match him/her to a career of choice. I recommend the following steps to ensure a matching choice of career:

1. Perform a thorough self analysis
2. Match the attributes of a self to the demands of a career
3. Take the help of a career counselor to get aptitude and personality testing
4. Consult teachers/ guides to understand yourself and your shortlisted career options
5. Interview experts in your field of choice to understand the course of progression
and demands and disappointments of the job.
6. If possible spend time in the relevant work place of your future career choice to get
first hand feel. Eg. In CA’s office, Software development firm, Doctors clinics and OR
etc.

All this may seem to be too much of work. But understand this is about your life. It is not about the course you are about to join. It is fun to join a course or institute with friends and for its glamour, however that period of studies is only for about 2 to 6 years in most cases. But those few years would open the path to the next 40-60 years of your life and that is huge. A few days spent in making an informed career choice can be the best investment you can ever make.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

How to Make the Right Choice of Institute

What to study, where to study and how to study is always a challenging question.
Education industry is growing by leaps and bounds bringing multitudes of options to us.
This is a boon to the students of today as it offers a choice and option for the best. However the competition among the Educational institutes means huge amount of marketing activity. The target of this marketing activity is us, the students and parents of these students.

Unfortunately the scope of the marketing stretches to glamorizing the individual products that are sold. These products are the courses that are offered by these institutes. Since the options for the students are vast, the individual institutes have to go out of their way to impress about what they have to offer. In the process, lots of facts are covered up by layers of glamour. For example- Many institutes resort to highlighting their air-conditioned study halls and provision of laptops to their students. Factors like these hold tremendous attraction for students at that tender age.

In my counseling centre parents approach me with a stubborn child who insists on joining a particular institute for reasons of glamour. Often when I ask these students about what is so good about this institute, they are not able to quote anything more than the glamorous ads they had read. To my surprise when I talk about the courses offered, these students are naively ignorant and yet not interested in the details of the course curriculum.

To my dismay many institutes that boast of state of the art infrastructure do not believe in investing in human resources and severely lack trained and experienced staff. I would like the leave the institutes to their fate as they are mostly in the fray of the business. However that leaves a tremendous responsibility on the students and the parents to choose an institute that caters to their requirement of learning and developing a satisfactory career for themselves and their children.

How to choose the correct institute:

To shortlist the suitability of the institute for your-self, ask the following questions:

1. Are the combinations of subjects offered right for you?
2. What type of degree is it?
3. Does it improve your chances of following your chosen career?
4. Will it be recognized by employers or educational organizations in the country
where you plan to take employment or higher education?
5. What are the options within the subject? 
6. What are the teaching methods? Will it solve your purpose?
7. What kind of teaching staff does the institute have at the time of your admission?
8. Are the classes conducted regularly with regular assessments?
9. How is the degree program assessed? Who is the assessing /verifying body?
10. Does the institute offer any scholarship?
11. Do they have hostel/ boarding facilities?
12. What is the placement strategy?

To get the current and authentic answers to your questions the following steps can be most helpful:

1. Refer to at least 3-4 authentic sources that compare college and institutes on the basis of various factors. There are many website on the internet. One has to remember that there is always a personal bias and many a times these comparisons are not complete.  

2. Talk to the current students of the concerned institutes- None but the students who are currently studying in the institute can give you the correct information about the quality of faculty and efficacy of education in that institute. Past students may give some details but remember that education is a dynamic phenomenon and faculty and administrators keep changing which may change the key essentials.

3. Study the prospectus of each institute in your list in depth. There are many important points about placement and scholarships etc that are mentioned in fine print and need to be questioned in time.

Most of all try to remove all influence from friends and marketing agencies to work on the selection process with as minimal bias as possible. All said and done you cannot be over careful about this selection process. Howsoever time consuming and tedious this may sound remember that this is going to ensure that the place you take your education is worth your time, money and investment of dreams.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Overcoming Mental Stress of Work Life Balance


Being a professional was never easy. But certain professions bring up a lot of extras on the professional by virtue of its nature and demands. Medical profession is certainly one on the top of the list of careers that are associated with high stress and disturbed work life balance.

Is it all about the profession or is it personal? The arguments are in favor of both. However two factors that put the medical profession on top of the list are:

a) The stakes being very high in the form of human morbidity and mortality and
b) The ethical and moral responsibilities associated with it.

But is it essential that these factors should mess up our work life balance? Then we come to the point that many a people who are not in medical profession also suffer from lot of work related stress and are unable to manage a healthy work life balance. While there are practicing doctors who are able to find adequate time for everything, there are clerks and teachers who constantly complain of lack of time and disturbing stress. In such definition, then every work has the ability to produce stress on the worker and every individual has the ability to work up a healthy work life balance.

The following questions are then important to be answered by each one of us in order to understand the reasons behind our stress.

1. Do I really like and enjoy my work?
2. Am I working in an environment of my choice?
3. Do I find my work monotonous or challenging?
4. Do I plan my day?
5. Do I do adequate delegation of my professional and personal work?
6. Can I keep my work and personal life separate?
7. Do I feel relaxed and happy while I work or tensed and pressurized?
8. Can I say no in situations I do not need to say yes?
9. Do I indulge in any hobbies or extracurricular activities regularly?
10. Can I communicate my feelings and emotions openly or do I feel bottled up?
11. Am I surrounded by healthy personal and professional relationships?
12. Do I exercise regularly?
13. Do I have a regular schedule and method for mental relaxation? 

Honest answers to these questions would be enough for us to locate the real reason behind our mental stress.

Interestingly almost all of us know our answers but are not always willing to put in the efforts to work in the right direction for our healthy lifestyle and cope up with stress and anxiety in the right manner. In such situations, it is much easier to blame the profession, professional demands and professional environment. However, no amount of blame game can make this life worth living for us.

If we observe carefully, each one of the factors mentioned in the questions above have easy and obvious solutions. The bigger question then is- Are we ready to the take the responsibility of our life and make the necessary changes along with the uncertainties and risks involved.
Medical profession is a noble profession and comes with its inherent demands, but nothing in life is a compulsion unless we take it that way. Here are a few more questions this time specifically for the doctors and every other very busy practitioner:

1. Do I do the extra work because I have the passion or because I want to make the extra money?
2. If I have a huge work-load, do I spend enough in employing qualified and responsible people to handle the extra work-load?
3. Do I feel thankful for the abundance of my income or I never feel satisfied?
4. Do I know myself to be a special human being and not just a medical practitioner?
5. Do I know what would be the perfect work- life balance for me?
6. Am I ready to go the extra mile, may be sacrifice some of my expected income and make a choice for a healthy lifestyle?

In between the emergencies, odd working hours, demanding patients, there is always that extra hour to exercise instead of watching TV, there is always the option to refer patients to colleagues, there is always an option to do group practice and share, and there are many more options. The question is how do we plan to deal with stress at work? And what do we want for ourselves.

Friday, 17 May 2019

The Mental Agony of Marks Psychosis


With growing focus on the marks culture, the psychosis in the society is growing.
Parents are getting all high strung and forcing their children to score high and higher irrespective of whether the child has high and equal aptitude for every subject. They are going beyond their means to get them into tuition classes and schools just to ensure high marks.

Students on the other hand are either becoming rebels without a cause or are sharing the neurosis of their parents and the entire society. We are seeing mental stress and tension creeping in at a very early age where it has not place to be.

Hard work is good. But then it needs to be targeted right. Every action needs to have a well understood agreed upon intention and aim. Education in itself has a noble intention to help people gain knowledge and wisdom to live a physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually fulfilling life. Examinations were to help the students to understand where they stand, what are their strengths, what they can do better and how.

However, over the period of time both these noble intentions seem to have taken a back seat. Hardly anyone seems to be interested in thinking long term in terms of fulfillment and happiness. Though these seem to be the primary aims of almost all when asked about, the focus is on the immediate gratification. High marks have become the hallmark of instant gratification that seems to be the trend today. Lower marks represent doom of sorts.

Are there any winners? I doubt. The high scorers are assigned higher and higher targets till the time they lose themselves and their self-esteem drops hugely because of feeling unfulfilled in spite of all the high grades. While those who are not the academic achievers are made to feel a total loss by the society and the family hence they grope to gather a few shreds of their remaining self-esteem.

It is high time that we bring our focus back to what is really important. If all was ok only because of high marks then why do achievers go into depression and struggle with addiction? If not any of these, they do crave for self- identity once the rat race is over and so get into one new race after another.

Competition is good and high grades are great. But they are not the sole bearers of happiness and prosperity. There is a whole world that is open for all. Something interesting is waiting for each of us. However, the parents and students need to understand the limited role of marks in life like that of everything else and instead understand the importance of focus, attentions, learning, an application of knowledge for a fulfilling life. Let the children explore in your guidance. If they are moving ahead with knowing they will progress the best.

Marks or no marks, there is a beautiful world waiting to be explored by all equally. The school grades do not decide our success or failure. We have too many examples to prove this. Need is to open our eyes and hearts to this faith and celebrate whatever results we stand with today. Tomorrow can be made more fulfilling from any stage. Provided we keep the channel open with them.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Spreading the Belief of Mental Health – Are You Right or Happy


Spreading the belief of mental health is to understand the essence of mental peace. One very common cause of disturbed mental peace is ‘Arguments- our essential tools to prove ourselves right’. Sometimes we need to stick our head out and use our best skills to prove that our way of thinking is correct. But how many times this need to prove ourselves right is actually legitimate? How many times we are actually in a situation where if we do not win the argument some disaster would happen?

Go ahead and take a break from whatever you are doing, even while reading this think of a few recent arguments you have been into with friends, family or colleagues. Use all your skills to prove to yourself that it was utmost essential to win that argument for the genuine good of the society or at least one person.

Not many. I can bet on it. Now that you take a second look at the argument you may even feel that considering the bitter outcome of the argument, it would have been a sane thing to even totally avoid getting into it in the first place.

Now we can see it but what happens when actually an argument starts? The ‘ego’- the battered little thing inside us that has been trying to prove to ourselves that we are the people of importance, starts taking over. The ‘ego’ sees it as an ‘opportunity’ to prove something and then there is no looking back. The more the opposition the more the ego takes it all personally and more than the point in question it becomes important for us to prove that “I” am right and “YOU” are wrong. The stress hormones rise, bitter feeling settle in, leaving us in an exhausted state of emotional strength and mental health.  

Surprisingly, winning an argument is seldom a happy feeling. Rather we have created adversaries, if not enemies, in the process. There are hurt feelings that often lead to mental illness like anxiety, depression, and stress if not healed on time. In order to prove one silly point we might have inflicted some personal insults. Our voice raised and the body posture becoming defensive and aggressive at the same time.

Argument won- friend lost- mental peace disturbed and mental health at risk.

Many arguments turn out to be the last conversations with important people.

And the suffering is worse than the one of losing an argument. Because now you have won but the price has been so high and personal that you cannot afford to celebrate. So you suffer and then find reasons to justify all that happened and try to invent ways to push the blame on the other person.

Net result - LOST. Nothing positive is achieved in majority of arguments.

So next time instead of winning, try to keep the focus on love and learning. Watch your words, tone, gestures and feelings. The moment there is a sign of negativity- QUIT. It is not worth it.

After all, we can always settle on “agree to disagree!” Maintain our dignity, respect, mood andrelationship and give an opportunity for the same to our partner

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Choosing a Rewarding Career in Sports Medicine



Sports medicine is a branch of medicine that deals with physical fitness, treatment and prevention of injuries related to sports and exercise.

What sort of work is available in sports medicine?
(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_medicine)

Sports medicine specialists focus on the evaluation and non-surgical care of athletes and other active people. Sports medicine specialists are concerned with all problems -- injury and illness alike - related to athletics and physical fitness. They are especially well suited to care for people with medical problems (for example, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, or obesity) who wish to begin an exercise program, improve their fitness, and reduce risks to their health.

Sports medicine has always been difficult to define because it is not a single specialty, but an area that involves health care professionals, researchers and educators from a wide variety of disciplines. Its function is not only curative and rehabilitative, but also preventative, which may actually be the most important one of all.

Education:

Few Institutes in India offer courses in Sports Medicine and most of them are for students after MBBS or graduation in Physiotherapy.

Some of the educational institutes for sports medicine are:

1. National Institute of Sports, Sports Authority of India, Affiliated to Baba Farid University of Health Sciences Faridkot and Recognized by MCI)
Two year Post Graduate Diploma in Sports Medicine

2. Sports Authority of India, Patiala, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.
Masters in Sports Medicine
Ph. No. +91-183-2258802-09 Extn. 3019

3. Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports - Patiala, Punjab
Post Graduate Diploma in Sports Medicine

4. Susruta Institute Of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation - Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
Master of Physiotheraphy - Sports Medicine and rehabilitation

There are many sporting teams that employ a sports or athletic trainer who assists on a daily basis with basic knowledge in massage, strapping and response to acute sports injuries.

Job prospects:

The term Sports Medicine involves:

  • Maintaining an athlete’s fitness and physical well being
  • Assessing and treating injured athletes,
  • Advising and educating on prevention strategies

Sports medicine career finds its prospects in various setups:


  • Hospitals
  • Sports Clubs
  • Individual teams

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Adopting Assam Rifles as Your Choice of Career in Paramilitary Forces of India


The Assam Rifles are one of the Paramilitary forces of India. Since its inception in 1835, over the course of its history, the Assam Rifles and its predecessor units have served in a number of roles, conflicts and theatres including World War I where they served in Europe and the Middle East, and World War II where they served mainly in Burma. In the post World War II period the Assam Rifles has expanded greatly as has its role. (Refer the link - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assam_Rifles)

Assam Rifles conduct counterinsurgency operations in the northeast and other areas where deemed necessary, under control of the army. During peace and ‘proxy war’, ensure the security of the Indo-China and Indo-Myanmar borders. During the war, rear area security in the TBA.
(Refer the link - assamrifles.gov.in/profile.aspx)

Entry: Recruitments for the Assam Rifles is done for various posts:

  • Constables
  • Havildar (Clerks)
  • Medical Officers and Specialist doctors
  •  Veterinary Doctors

Eligibility:

For Constables & Clerks:


  • Age Limit: Candidates age must be between 18 to 23 years as on 01-08-2013.  Upper age is relaxable by 3 years to OBC and 5 years to SC/ST Candidates.
  • Educational Qualifications: Candidates must possess Matriculation or 10th class pass from a recognized board/university.

For Technical Trades:


  • Age Limit: Candidates age must be between 18 to 23 years as on 01-08-2012.  Upper age is relaxable by 3 years to OBC and 5 years to SC/ST Candidates.
  • Educational Qualifications: Candidates must possess Matric or 10th class pass with Diploma/ITI, English, Math & Science with Physics/ Biology, Graduation with Madhyama in Sanskrit or Bhusan in Hindi.

The recruitment rally consists of three stages:

I. Physical Efficiency Test (PET)
  • 5 KM Run. All male candidates have to successfully complete 5 KM run within 24 mins and for female candidates it shall be 1.6 KM (1600 M) within 8 mins 30 secs.
  • Long Jump. Long Jump of 11 feet has to be cleared by the male candidates and for female candidates it shall be 9 feet. Each candidate will be given three chances.
  • High Jump. High jump of three and a half feet (3.5 feet) has to be cleared by the male candidates while for female candidates it will be three feet. Each candidate will be given three chances.
Note: No physical efficiency test will be conducted for Ex-servicemen.

II. Written Tests

  • Written Test. Candidates who qualify in the PETs will be required to appear in a written test.
  • The written test will consist of only OMR based objective type multiple choice questions
  • Candidates applying under compassionate appointment scheme of the Government will not be required to appear in the written test. (Sons/ legally adopted son during the lifetime of the AR persons who have laid down their life during ops.)

III. Trade Test

  • To be conducted for various trades.
  • A practical test will be conducted for trade candidates appearing for enrolment.
  • To qualify, the candidates will have to pass in the physical, medical and the written tests separately.

Career Advancement: A candidate has the opportunity to grow up till the level of Commandant while in service of Assam Rifles. Officers are appointed by direct appointment by the central Government from other armed forces.

  • Director General (Army officer on deputation)
  • Inspector General (Army officer on deputation)
  • Deputy Inspector General (Army officer on deputation)
  • Commandant
  • 2IC (Second In Command)
  • Deputy Commandant
  • Assistant Commandant