Adolescence brings with it one of the biggest concerns of an individual’s life and the easygoing young minds get all stressed out after the carefree school years get over, deciding about the future and in particular the choice of career for a bright future.
Why is it imperative to choose the right career option?
Let’s start by understanding what is career.
Career means profession, occupation, vocation, employment, work that people do to earn their living.
After spending the young, dependent on parents years of life everyone has to choose a vocation or profession and be employed and established in order to earn a living.
Starting a career is important because a person’s career makes him/her self dependent and in many ways independent .
Career gives a person freedom, identity, income, busy hours, a healthy and productive escape, purpose, reason to work hard, sometimes even life’s calling, sense of achievement, happiness, self satisfaction, a space to go to on daily basis and be one’s best self, the list is endless.
Career is important but more than career, choosing the right career is important. The job that you have to do daily for 30 to 40 prime years of your life, you need to love that job and be good at it.
Yes, these two are the most important criteria to keep in mind while choosing your ideal vocation.
One, choose something you would enjoy doing and second, you would be excellent or at least very good at doing.
The career option one chooses decides how successful (by being good at it) and satisfied (by being in love with it) one will be in the future. Of course our happiness depends upon many factors but a successful career or lack of it is a very crucial factor.
Choosing the right career is also super essential because it is this decision that decides what area of work you will be a part of, what kind of income you will earn, what your lifestyle will be, who you will marry, where you will live, what kind of friends you will have.
Almost every aspect of your life will be affected by the career option you choose today.
But it is not at all an easy task to choose the right career option out of the thousands of professions, businesses and jobs in this world. One can choose to become a doctor, an engineer, architect, fashion designer, corporate executive, chartered accountant, banker, teacher, scientist, journalist, writer, actor, cricketer, sportsman, salesman, business analyst, data analyst, policeman, civil servant, lawyer, environmentalist, activist, artist, entrepreneur, anything that he/she is interested to be. This is a very small list.
The options are endless and the barely 15 to 18 years olds have to decide any one of them. I am repeating that because the options are too many it is very difficult to opt one out and imagine the pressure of choosing that one best option perfectly.
Unfortunately, most people fail to choose the right option that fits them perfectly and then spend most of their prime years struggling with the work they are either not very brilliant at or do not enjoy doing or in worst cases both.
The luckiest people choose the ideal jobs for themselves and those people become the Gods of that chosen profession.
A perfect example is Sachin Tendulkar. He chose cricket at a very young age, never got detracted and probably nothing else would have worked that well for him.
How does one choose that one option that is exactly cut out for him?
Before I answer this understand, why do people end up choosing the wrong options.
Because their reasons for making choices are wrong. Some very common reasons or grounds on which this lifetime decision is taken are:
- Peer pressure. “My friends are doing this, so I too will do this.” This is the most common mistake, making your choices under peer influences. The young minds do not realize that everyone is different in their abilities and interests.
- Family pressure. In India, career selection is a family decision. Parents exert their strong opinions and beliefs and in many cases tell and make the child to do what they feel is right. In some cases they may not force their own wishes but might also not let them follow their heart.
- Poor self awareness. In many cases the students don’t have any idea about their interests and abilities. At such a young age it is actually very difficult to expect them to know themselves well.
- Lack of awareness of all the options. There are very few career options that adolescents and their parents are aware of. Everyone knows about doctors, engineers, C.A., lawyer, management and that is it. There are too many specialized, niche professions that may fit an individual perfectly but he/she might not have heard of them.
- Limited school assessment. The school curriculum till tenth does not evaluate and assess many critical abilities like imagination, visualization, critical thinking, management skills, leadership, communication skills, creativity, out of the box thinking, etc. Rather school system assesses students on very limited parameters which are logically and linguistically. Hence students do not realize their potential for many new age professions and worst is if they lack on the school parameters they feel incapable of doing anything at all.
- Selection based on marks. Worst is the students form their self esteem on the basis of their school performance and choose their career path on the basis of their poorly perceived and undermined self worth. It is possible that a very able student may get distracted and score less. After all adolescence is all about distractions.
- Misconception that degrees make career. Degree courses are important as they give knowledge about the chosen field but career primarily requires skills and abilities. People think that by getting admission in a course a career in that profession will be ensured. But degrees can be a minimum required qualification and get someone an entry job but cannot ensure success in that job.
Then what should be the selection criteria?
It should be the inherent and/or acquired skills of the individual. Skills are primarily inherent and can also be acquired or enhanced.
A person has excellent, average or poor logical, linguistic, creative, musical, artistic, visual spatial, physical, musical, leadership, management, entrepreneurial and all types of skills by birth. Our education system merely helps in showcasing some of those skills.
By this I mean, a child born with excellent temporal cortex will excel in languages taught in school and the one with an average temporal cortex will be average in languages and communication.
Though a good education system can enhance and improve the skill but till it hardly does. That’s the reason some students are good in languages, some in mathematics and science and others in arts, sports, music or something else. After years of schooling no one excels at everything but only in a few areas because of inherent skills.
Irrespective of the source, it is the skill that is crucial for a job. And skills have very little to do with degrees.
This example will help you understand. In the old times when there weren’t any colleges and universities giving diploma and degree courses, there still existed all forms of occupations and professions.
The architects of Taj Mahal did not have a degree in architecture but possessed the skill to make the masterpiece with perfect arches and symmetry.
Similarly there were artists, philosophers, economists, inventors, physicians and all type of intellectuals and professionals and all without degrees but with skills that they knew how to put in use.
Every job requires certain skill set and all individuals have certain skill set. There is a right person for every job and there is a right job for every person. Right career selection is about finding the perfect fit.
Once you know what is your core skill or skills find the most suited professions that require those same skills. If there are many options, now see what are the options you are most interested in. Out of those options find the ones with maximum scope and monetary value and that is your right career option.
Education is important and comes to picture here. Now find out what all you have to study to get a start in that profession. Education gets you the entry and also teaches you the basics, terminology and all the theory and practical knowledge that is already there to learn about the profession. So take the education because it is available now.
The professionals of past did not have the chance to learn before starting a job and maybe learned by trial and errors while being on the job. Today you can acquire all the knowledge before starting a particular work. So education with the right skill can be your sure shot success formula.
There is one more self understanding that is required to make that perfect choice. Your psychology.
Each job is very good for people with certain psyche and can be equally miserable for the opposite type.
So a psychological assessment with skill assessment makes the selection criteria almost airtight.
So find out if you are an extrovert or an introvert, with a high or low emotional quotient, dominant or compliant in personality, a caring empathetic or a ruthless taskmaster, a rigid thinker or a flexible learner, an influential leader or a follower, stability seeker or a risk taker, emotionally charged or vulnerable, resilient or prone to anxiousness and self doubt.
A good psychological assessment can help you see yourself in a different light. A combination of your skills and your psychology or nature needs to find its perfect mould.
If you are not able to do it yourself, a very good career counselor can help you discover everything about yourself and make a fair choice.
A good career counselor does not just help you discover yourself and find the right fit but also mentors you to develop the right mindset to follow through.
Now remember one more crucial thing.
However diligently you choose your perfect fit today it may become imperfect in a few years time, because jobs and professions become obsolete and out of trend.
The jobs that are everyone’s dream today may not exist in 10 to 15 years from now and those you haven’t heard of today may become the most desired ones then.
Professions like event planners and managers, bloggers, you tubers, gamers, app developers, stylists, food and travel journalists, inspirational speakers, therapists, life coaches, yoga trainers, environmentalists, nutritionists and many more that are in vogue now weren’t even heard of 15 years back.
The same will happen in 10 years and new professions and industries will be born.
You too will become wiser in all those years and may consider switching from the now so diligently chosen career to the new job on the block. It will happen to many of you as professions are evolving everyday and there will be jobs which will suit your future evolved self even more perfectly.
Don’t hesitate to make the leap and be a pioneer in that industry because now the growth stories are not vertical anymore. They are about adapting and evolving and starting from scratch as a pioneer and wearing many hats.
Thanks to the fast paced world we live in businesses start and become multi billion ventures in months and get acquired by a bigger player in another few months.
So today plan your beginning of the career on the basis of the skills you have and keep investing in your skills that will help you again to adapt, learn, evolve and reassess and reselect when the time comes again.
Today you are choosing a career and one day a new career will choose you. Grow your perspective, be well read, become a master of your skill and keep discovering new applications of your skills.
The world will become your play field.