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.
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.
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
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.