Most of the students choose their careers by chance. Not choice. Do you agree?
The first step in choosing the right career is taken before joining the junior college. This is when students need to decide if they want to take science or commerce (mostly) and a few schools might offer arts.
Generally, if a student is good in studies (mathematics, science) or if they want to become engineers/doctors, they take science. Many of them are pushed into this stream by parents. Commerce maybe the choice of students who want to specialize in the financial stream (though I know many who did their Engineering, then did an MBA and are now in the financial stream) or want to join their family business. I don’t know much about specializing in arts, as schools around me don’t offer it.
The next two years, students study hard to get into the best engineering/medial colleges or colleges that offer B.Com. Automatically after finishing their junior college, they join in a college that has a good track record for placements, good starting salaries, etc. Some of them take up B.Sc, BA, Nursing and other courses as well.
These decisions are made based on the marks scored by the students and the amount of investment that their parents are willing to make.
Though students might specialize in different streams, there is no guarantee that they will work in the stream they majored in. So, an electrical engineer might take up a job as a software developer while an electronics student becomes a software tester. Some of them study even further (specialize technically or do an MBA) to become a lecturer, take up research oriented jobs or join as an entry level management trainee. Many come back to the software industry, too.
So, basically what we are looking at, is the fact that people don’t have much of a choice while deciding on their careers. Factors like their performance in college, job availability, salary, company profile, location, etc. decide on what career they choose. Once they are affixed to one career, they stay in it lifelong (even though they might shift jobs) so that they get better job prospects, a decent salary and a social status.
This is what is happening here. But, is this the way for a student to select a career?
Let us admit that most of us are clueless at the time of taking up our first job. We are just thrilled to earn something by ourselves and after a point of time we get thrilled every time our salary increases or we get promoted.
But, do we really look into the ‘career’ aspect while in a job? Are we doing what we want to do? Are we doing what we are good at? Are we developing the skills required to excel in our career?
No, we don’t. Because we consider a career to be same as a job. But, are these two the same?
Where does this cycle start? At the junior college/college level, right? If students are sufficiently educated about all the options they have in front of them, will they be able to choose the right career? If the students are exposed to career counseling based on their aptitude, will they be able to take a better decision? Can an aptitude test give a general direction to students on some careers that might suit them better?
Can parents help their children in selecting the right careers for themselves? Parents surely know where their child’s talents/abilities lie, but they still push their children into ‘monetarily’ lucrative careers, don’t they?
Is it just better to leave everything to chance and allow situations to drive people into various directions, as determined by the market-forces?
I know I have not given a good solution to the question. I invite the readers to offer their suggestions on this important topic. How can a student identify the right career?
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons (Copyright free image).
PS: Don’t you think we need a site (US dept of labor) like this that has various occupations listed along with key points about the profession and can be a reference for students?