you have ever tried on shoes that are not your own? Doesn't feel
too comfortable, isn't it? Careers are a little like that. When
they don't fit your personality, it feels like being a round peg
in a square hole. But when they are, you feel comfortable and
suggests that many students take the easy way out and either depend
heavily on their parents and teachers to make their academic decision,
or get swayed by attractive, persuasive, paid-for advertising
by educational institutions.
what is wrong with that? Nothing, if you want to live your parent's
life 20 years, hence. Or if the money from advertisements were
to come into your pockets!
Why involve parents
The great thing about parents is that they have had diverse experiences
plus they may have hopefully learned from their mistakes. In addition,
the exposure they have to different careers is sometimes far greater
than yours. All that can be a huge asset because at 20 you have
a person at age 50 on your side.
also have the additional benefit of knowing you intimately. But
while parents put some excellent resources like knowledge and
wisdom on the table, sometimes they curtail choice and self-determination
by lack of willingness to take a chance on unique abilities and
skill set of the student.
The other problem of relying solely on parents for advice is that
their knowledge base may be restricted to their exposure. If they
don';t know any environmentalists - they might believe environment-based
careers to be a non-starter. The question to be answered is: will
environment be a hot issue when I am in the job market?' When
economies are so dynamic, career options cannot be far behind.
yourself: Do I want a career for the past or the future? Read
newspapers and magazines to build your database about future trends.
If gas emissions and carbon footprints are being discussed the
world over, don't wait for the jobs to be advertised. Do an environment
What advertisers claim
Let's look at another big career influence - advertisements. About
45 percent go by advertisements and publicity around an institution
to make up their mind. But remember that they are designed to
influence the purchasing behaviour of the consumer, in this case
the student';s family. By definition it is a paid medium whether
it comes as an advertorial or an advertisement.
such it needs to be viewed as a marketing device with all its
hyperboles. The ranking statistics that the adverts quote can
sometimes also be 'fixed'. Just like the clichéd glass
that can be half full or half empty, ranking can be used to prove
can be a useful means of gathering information about diverse courses.
But just as eating a dozen low calorie cookies will not make you
slim, adverts need not deliver a 100 percent of what you are looking
Knowledge is power
Good research is key to successful planning. The excellent range
of courses in government universities should not be ignored just
because they don't advertise. But is career planning only about
where to do a certain course? Is there not a more vital question
to be answered? That is, how best should you integrate your strengths,
special skills and interests with the growing needs of the economy?
of the major ingredients in the decision-making is your own self,
your abilities, capabilities, interests, aptitude and passion.
These are the things that make you unique.