Choosing a Career
Choosing a career that is right for you can be very difficult. You think you have found the perfect career path and after a while you realise that you don't really want to do it. Deciding on a career that you would love to pursue is one of the toughest decisions a student has to make.
For many people, work is a necessary evil - it's what we have to do so that we can afford to do fun things in our leisure time. Recent research shows that 60% of us would have chosen a different career if we were given an option again; 40% of the people openly admit to have somehow "drifted" into their current job.
If you enjoyed your work as much as you enjoy your vacation time, you wouldn’t mind if you weren't even paid for it. Consider yourself lucky if you are able to find yourself a job that you love. An average person works about 40 hours a week till the age of 40 years - approximately 80,000 hours of your life. So doesn't it make sense to spend your time doing something you love?
And there's another point of consideration- most people don't know what they really want to do. Because we are accustomed from an early age to look up to those around us - parents, teachers, peers, the media – their definition for a good job or career. Most of us never take out time really to get to know our own interests, talents and desires. Here are a few factors that influence our career decisions:
Since they often don't know any better, a lot of students rely completely on their parents about any career related decisions. This happens mostly after class 10 while choosing which stream (Science, Commerce or Humanities) to pursue in class 11 and 12 and then after class 12 while deciding what undergraduate degree to opt for. Students should know what subjects they like best and would be interested in pursuing further.
Following the herd blindly is another common tendency among students. What's good for your best friend might not necessarily be the best choice for you. Choose a course that YOU want to pursue.
No one can escape the influence of the media - print, electronic and social. Students tend to get swayed by glamorized versions of various careers without knowing knowing much about the ground reality.
Personal problems like financial difficulty in pursuing higher education, sudden death of the breadwinner in the family, health conditions may force some to choose a career that they don’t like. There are also instances where people choose a career as a means of livelihood while they strive to achieve success in something that they really want. A typical example would be when someone gets a job in a media or publishing while they try at the same time to succeed as a writer/ author.
If you really want to pursue a career that you would love, we would advise you to start analysing your interests as early as when you enter class 10. Parents should ideally help their children in deciding and not force any decisions on them. If a child is exposed to the a variety of career options, he can take his time deciding what he wants to pick out of them and how to go about achieving his goals.
To get a good idea about a certain career, try meeting people from the same career. They'll not only a great source of information about opportunities in the field, but they can also give you some great advice based on their experience. However, in order to get the information you need, you have to ask the right questions to the persons already working in the field. By getting a person's perspective on his or her career, you can think about how you want to plan your own career path.
Here are a few questions you can ask while interacting with such people:
Why initially did you choose this as a career?
- If you were choosing a career today, would you make the same choice?
- How did you get your job?
- What educational qualifications helped you break into this career? What course should I take up according to you?
- What is the part about your job that you like the least?
- Do you enjoy coming to work every day?
- What are the most important qualifications to succeed in this career?
- What kind of training and/or schools would you recommend for this field?
- What are the major challenges in this field?
- What opportunities do you see arising in this field?
- List some organizations that are renowned in this field
- Can you recommend anyone else who can tell me more about this industry?
- Do you know of any organizations that hire freshers?
Choose the questions that are the most suitable for your area of interest. What you discover may be your ticket to a great job and a great career.