Where To? Next? Time to Choose a Career Path

Choose your career based only on interest plus aptitude, and not because others are doing something or choosing a particular career.

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By Azeem Bolar

From LKG to post- graduation, an ocean of options seems to be available to choose from. Every rung of the academic growth ladder has its own learning to be imbibed. When looked at from the outside, several of the professions seem to be lucrative and highly paying. But funnily, we fail to realize the importance of aptitude, contentment, priorities, and, last but not the least, sheer gut feeling.
In the past, there were limited professions to choose from. Being street smart was a camouflage for those who had no education. Now, it’s very different and an era of specialization has come in. Such great diversification has taken place that unlike in the past, where we had to fit into a profession (often not of our choice), today we have several options within a profession, literally it tailor-made to suit one’s abilities.
Whatever the reasons for selecting a career, one’s objective must be attained. Goal-setting is an essential link in the chain of success. This enables us to clear the mist of confusion,. Whatever the reason you opt for a particular career, the primary aim should be to succeed.
First of all, take an aptitude test to help you to realize your areas of potential. Then, set your short- and long- term goals. Once you know your destination, you can decide the path and the means to reach there. Based on what you have decided, you should chart out your career plan, which subjects, which courses and which colleges you should join, so that you can make your dreams come true.
Find out what there is to choose from. List out all possible careers. Categorize these careers in similar fields (e.g. IT, science, public relations, etc.) Research all you can about each one of them, and shortlist those you are interested in. Visualize yourself working for the next 40-50 years in that career and ask yourself whether the work gives you satisfaction and contentment. Identify your traits and qualities. Think of all the positive attributes you have (eg. good communication skills, physical stamina, memory, etc.)
Keep in mind that even some unconnected qualities can be useful in certain professions, so make sure you have not neglected any of your traits or skills, academic or non-academic. eg. being good at debates, mind games, communication, etc. Identify all your shortcomings (eg. poor spoken English, poor public speaking skills, dislike of traveling, phobias, etc). List out the subjects you are good in, the ones you enjoy and the ones you score high marks in and match them to each of the careers you have short-listed. Also, check what subjects you need to be good in to succeed in the particular career you want to pursue. Include in this the subjects you are not studying now but you might have to study later.
Do not get misled by “scope”, or the fact that many jobs are currently being offered in one field. In the next 40 years of your career, scope will fluctuate many times. Choose your career based only on interest plus aptitude, and not because others are doing something or choosing a particular career. If you are good in your work, there is scope for you, even if there is a recession in that particular line.
Once you have narrowed down your fields,prioritize them in order of preference. Then you can start deciding what subjects to take in your coming years that will carve your future.
The other side of the coin: Why do career-planning? There are moments in life when things do not go right on the career front, and that tempts us to ask ourselves: Are we on the right career path? Also, the importance of career planning acts as a warning mechanism if the growth pattern becomes turbulent and hazy.
(The writer is a Bangalore-based counselor and can be reached at [email protected])

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