How to Choose your Career?

Prof.M.S.Rao asked:



After completion of the tenth standard, the students in India are confronted with what kind of stream they should opt for in 10 plus 2 (Intermediate). Is it commerce, science, arts or computers etc.? At the age of approx. 15 years itself students start thinking, which stream to follow? At this stage, they may not be able to decide and hence they leave their career choice to their parents to decide. The parents look at the pulse of the market and the present potential and trend in the job scenario and they advise their children to opt for a particular stream. This is the way career choice is made indirectly in the initial stage in India. Is it justified to thrust upon their children? If not, then what should be done?

It is necessary to look at the aptitude, attitude, abilities and awareness of the child and then proper choice should be made. The parents should study the progress report and find out the areas where the child is weak and strong. After weighing thoroughly his past and present performance then the choice should be offered and the child should be counseled accordingly. If this happens then the child takes interest automatically and without any external initiative from parents he will study and pass the examinations.


Usually the students go for conventional careers where the risk is minimal and nominal. The conventional careers means not swimming against the current but rather sailing with stream and trend. For instance, there is an excellent trend towards engineering, medicine and management profession these days. It is mostly because of availability of plenty of jobs. Both the students and parents want to play safe by opting for hot cake section. Where as in the unconventional careers the risk is higher and prospects are not clear like fashion designing and entertainment industries. These are the roads less traveled and there will be high risk and high returns. One has to swim against the current. According to American author, Dale Carnegie there are six types of fears human beings face such as fear of criticism, fear of old age, fear of poverty, fear of ill health, fear of death and fear of failure. It is basically the ‘fear of failure’, which is the root cause for not opting for unconventional careers.


SWOT is the acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It is a powerful tool regularly used by corporate to find out the implications and effects of strategic decision making. And whenever the companies are going for mergers and acquisitions or take overs, then also it is conducted and evaluated by an independent body headed by a person who is known as corporate planner or a strategist. The same tool can be applied vis-a-vis career decision. What are the strengths and weaknesses of taking up a particular career? Whether the student possesses the personal qualities and competencies. If not possessed and the students wants to pursue, he can overcome the weakness by thorough practice and training. Any skill or competency can be acquired if there is will power to attain the same. The cherished career must have wider opportunities so as to minimize and eliminate the risks. The probable threats involved both from internal and external angles should be examined thoroughly. The internal threats arise out of the individual incompetence while the external threats arise which are beyond the reach and control of the individual. One should be able to anticipate and discount internal threats and, overall, one should be wary of threats related to the career.


What happens if an individual makes a wrong move and opts for a wrong career? He will never enjoy his work and he will be in a continuous hell. He will have everything but no mental peace and develop stress levels. In some cases people fail in their careers and they keep doubting their confidence levels. Self-esteem decreases. At the work place they will be subjected to ridicule, laughter, insult and humiliation.


At the age of 15 years the student is not able to decide any specific stream of his choice. Therefore, there should be no stream specialization or deviation just after 10th class itself. Rather it should be postponed to after 10 plus 2 (Intermediate) level. By the age of 17 the students will be mature enough to select the stream of their choice which could be free from family or teacher or parental influence. One can give out his best when one enjoys what he is doing.

Presently people opt for medical and engineering after 10 plus 2(Intermediate) and the career options are limited, as these two are considered professional. If computer or commerce is also made like professional qualification by application of computer or management related subjects respectively, the students will take more interest in those areas also and they can be easily absorbed into jobs. By converting non professional qualifications as professional and the base for professional courses get widened.


When the students are caught between the devil and deep sea they can approach the career coach. Now a day there is professionalism around everywhere. Taking the help of career consultants will be of great use. Usually it is the parents who provide the career support. If not, then the teacher should provide such support. When students approach the career counselors, they view it from career perspective and can provide right tools and techniques towards right career decision.


Students should know that jobs don’t grow on trees and there is right seed for the right career. Choose a career that is a sure shot passport to your success. In few cases, it is observed that students scale the ladder of success and realize at the end that the ladder is on the wrong side of the wall. The onus lies with parents and teachers to see that the ladder is placed on the right wall. When one gets a job of his choice and spouse of his choice he is said to be the luckiest. Set your priorities rightly based on the life the way you want according to your tastes and temperaments such as your job satisfaction, work life balance, monetary aspects etc., Rank all your priorities in the scale of 1 to 5 from three dimensions, such as personal level, social level and professional level. And choose the career after weighing all the pros and cons. Once the right career decision is made work hard to achieve your goals for ensuring all round peace, progress and prosperity.


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