Saturday, 28 May 2011

Choosing A Career Path – “The Eternal Quandary”

Am writing this, for a friend of mine, who is at the moment facing the “difficult” situation we all go through after 10th class – deciding a career path. So many options, and so many people advising you left right and center – makes things no better… actually it just adds to the confusion and many a times students tend to make wrong choices under the pressure. Having experienced such a situation myself, I have some tips for you, to make a smooth and well-balanced selection.

1. Understand that whatever subject or career you choose, YOU have to study/work in that field at least for some time. That is because you have chosen the discipline and all its requirements and rules apply to you.
2. It is also necessary to know that the subject you study during graduation is NOT the only possible line you will be limited to upon its completion. In fact, most of the graduates change fields after graduation. This is because market now looks for people with interdisciplinary knowledge – gone are the days when people with an expertise in a single field are valued highly; now a days people look out for interdisciplinary expertise. So combinations like engineering with MBA, or even Law, have high value in the market. And of course, you can super – specialize and stick to the subject you took at graduate level too, if you really loved the discipline.
So, keep your mind open for exploring all kinds of opportunities.
3. All the disciplines have exciting career opportunities. If you are passionate about your field nothing will stop you from excelling in it, and even earning decent money in the process. So just focus on what kind of things interest you.
4. The choice, at the end is YOURS, it is not your parents’ or friend’s or mine. It is just yours. So, spend some time to yourself thinking what you want to be. Have a dream – get inspired. If you want to reach the moon, you will. But have a dream in the first place. If you have completed 10th class, now is the time to put in some serious thought about what you want to be in life. Do it before its too late; before opportunities start closing. I know it is hard to make a choice because it is all so confusing, but that’s the way it is – to live in this competitive world sometimes one has to work hard.
5. Take advise. Seek Counsel. But accept none. That’s the right attitude. This is the point of time when you will hear hundreds of people telling you what is good for you. What they suggest may be with best intentions in mind, but it need not be suitable to you all the same. So listen to everyone, but accept just to what you feel is right for you. This is very important, and most of the confusion arises due to blindly taking everyone’s views in.
6. Trust yourself – if you won’t then who will? You know your potential the best. People will say this subject is so hard, that subject is so boring, etc. That is their opinion. Not yours. If you wish to realize your dreams, come out with flying colors, then you must also be ready to give what it takes to get there. And if you lose hope listening to some person whose resolve was not strong enough, then you are already out of the race. So, trust yourself, and make a strong resolve – it is essential. If you won’t do it today, then when will you do it?
7. Research. Find out what are the options and places where you can study/work. Select the organizations carefully and understand how to get admission into them. Once this is done – your goals are set and its time to prepare yourself to give your best!

If you keep these things in mind it should be a lot easier to go about selecting your career. It is understandable that at school level you will have little idea about what kinds of courses you will have to study, what kind of work you will have to do etc. Here are a few broad guidelines to help you zero down to the field of your interest:

1. Identify the things that really fascinate you – Space, movies, machines, automobiles, weapons, ships, crime investigation – could be just anything. Make a comprehensive list of such things. Do not include hobbies or pastimes in this list. So reading, writing, eating, cooking etc. are not part of this.
2. Make a wish list – this is can have all kinds of crazy things you want in life… any thing and everything. You want it just put it in there – whether it is owning a BMW or, meeting Amir Khan, put it all in there… Make it whacky, and creative. That is your wish list and just yours.
3. Think of things/ activities close to your heart – children, helping the poor, protecting the nation, making justice, inventing new things, could be just some of them.
4. Make a list of hobbies – hobbies decide how you would like to deliver your learning or experience. I love writing; I write blogs, because I always wanted to and I am fascinated by psychology and philosophy - so my writing generally is like this. By clubbing your fascination with your hobbies you can find fields of work or study that you will really love to be in. All kinds of possibilities are there - your imagination is the limit! So make a list of things you love doing –you can put reading, writing, music, sports etc in here.
5. List out the subjects/topics you enjoyed the most till now as far as studies at school level are concerned. Think in terms of how much you are interested in learning more about these subjects, and whether the subjects fascinate you.
6. Find out the best colleges/ organizations in the country where you can seek to be admitted/employed. It is always important to aim for the best. That’s when your effort will take you places. Make a list of these colleges, and assign weightages to each depending on how badly you want to get there.
7. It is also important to have a measure of scales – about your performance in school. Lots of times, colleges just don’t accept lower percentage students. That’s just their policy, and we have to put up with it. If you do not qualify, it makes you no less competent. So, write down your scores somewhere – just for reference.

Spend enough time with this procedure – some do it in 2 – 3 days, while some may take 1 or 2 weeks. But make sure you do justice to it… and are satisfied by your work. Once you feel that, lock it and preserve your thoughts and dreams.

Well you have got some lists in hand now. Depending on your analysis, discuss what you want to become with peers, and teachers. Do not budge from the lists you have made. They were the result of careful contemplation. Others may say many nice things, but if they were really that nice, they would have struck you earlier. As I mentioned earlier, take advice but do not accept it. Clarify all your fears, doubts and questions from people, Internet or other trusted sources. If you like any of the alternatives, just confirm about it with 1 or two more sources and set your goals. Once you do this am sure you will feel light-headed. Of course, there will be anxiety about how to go about reaching your goals and what to do next. That’s a different ball-game altogether. The ones with strongest determination and iron resolve are the winners there. With proper guidance and support, and dedicated and systematic work from your side, am sure you can make it to anywhere you want. But first resolve this quandary – “What do you want to do in life?” and everything else will fall in place☺

What I have asked you to do is by no means a casual activity – you must do it seriously and persistently if it has to bear result. If you cannot be serious about what you want to become, then who do you think will be? Trust me, no one. Now is the time to take control of your life and start thinking of the future. If you have just finished 10th class, I urge you not to waste any more time – set your goals and get going!

The philosophy for making a choice at any other point in life, I feel is also similar. Whether it the confusion after graduation about doing an MBA, or going for higher studies, or taking up a job, or it is about changing from one job to another, choices have to be made at every step, and can be quite confusing. I believe the confusion arises from not knowing your own passions properly, because we hardly spend time thinking of all this. So, the same ideology can be applied for taking any decision in general - I have written it for a friend, but it is not limited to that situation - I believe it is suitable for all.

Finally, I wish you all the best in all your endeavors. May success be yours☺

1 comment:

  1. Read through this ::