The first question asked by any relative just after asking the names is “what are you doing these days/ what plans do you have for the future/ what do you want to be?” they pressure the poor soul into knowing exactly what they should be doing for work, it’s easy to get disappointed when you feel confused about your career.
Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions of our lives and it is natural to feel confused or even stressed about it. Children are constantly bugged by the relatives and the parents firing the same question every day. “What after 10th?” or “What after 12th?” or “What plans after graduation, child?” or most famous question “Which stream will you be selecting after 10th?”
All of us know that the influence of the career choice has a long-lasting effect on an individual’s life. It serves as a predictor and determinant of their prospective level of income, nature of work and as a result, leaves a mark on the personality, overall attitude and outlook of an individual. Thus, one wrong decision can change the entire future life of an individual in a bad term. It can be difficult for everyone to make a decision regarding their career without even thinking properly about the pros and cons of the decision.
The individual actions are the predictor of the economic prosperity of a nation on a larger scale. Individuals who are the misfits in their workplace tend to be less productive and less efficient. That’s why they are unable to achieve their goals. This concept has been explained by Onyejiaku (a cited in Jones & Larke, 2005), who defines occupation as a means of living, which has the power to change personalities of the people, determine their social status, predict the expected earnings and determine social groups etc. Thus, its importance cannot be undermined. Keeping in mind about the complexity it has, it is a point to ponder upon as to how career decisions are made.
Choice involves decision making including the judgment of the merits of different available options and selecting one or more of them. One has to make the choice between imagined options (“What would I do if…?”) or between actual options that are followed by the corresponding action.
A severely limited or artificially restricted choice can lead to discomfort with choosing and possibly an unsatisfactory outcome. Freedom of choice is often admired by everyone, a choice with excessively numerous options may lead to confusion, the regret of the alternatives not taken and indifference in an unstructured existence. The illusion that choosing an object or a course, necessarily leads to the control of that object or course, can cause psychological problems.
People make career choices on the basis of many important factors. A crucial influence in decision making about the career is the home environment (James, 2000) as it forms the foundation of a child’s personality. It’s the parent’s upbringing and the values imparted by the parents which lay the basis of the outcome of the personality. Besides the home, another major determinant of career choice is media. It provides exposure at the earlier stages of life. Media highlights social travails, global issues, trends and fashions (that’s why most of the students want to be in entertainment or fashion industry) portrays the glamour of a culture and the glitter of the consumer world. Moreover, the talk shows, documentaries, movies and dramas portray careers such as law, media and advertising as very glamorous and appealing; thus, these fields attract students towards them.
Sometimes, the choices of the peer group members also become a determining factor while choosing a profession. Other factors which influence career choice are family, parents, friends, culture, academic achievement, health factors, existing income level and financial constraints, media influences, prospective levels of income, employment opportunities, the social acceptability of that profession, recognition and work satisfaction among others working in that field.
How students generally tend to choose a career:
• I chose this field due to the influence of print media.
• I chose this field because my parents are in the same profession.
• I chose this field as it is part of my family business.
• I chose this field after getting information from the internet
• I chose this career because I was inspired by one of my relative who is in the same field.
• I chose this career because my friend is opting the same.
• I chose this field because I was inspired/ advised by my teachers.
• I chose this course because I fulfilled the merit requirement.
• I chose this field because I am fully confident that I will be able to perform my best here.
• I chose this field because the counsellor told me that I could succeed in this occupation
• I chose this field because it’s working conditions aligns my comfort zone.
The answer you decide to the question decides your success in that particular area which you are planning to opt for. Mostly, people believe that they know everything when it comes to the time of choosing a career for themselves or their children. However, many of them wind up choosing a career that is completely unsatisfying and doesn’t meet up to their expectations. At that time they realize the fact that their beliefs were not true and were almost the myths. So if you are looking forward to a fulfilling career, you should know the minor facts and reality about how to choose it the right way and let go of the popular career choice myths.
It is important to understand that choosing a career does not simply mean deciding upon the ultimate career profile which will guide you through the roads of success and fame; rather it suggests that a person should have the potential to grow with the help of that career and achieve success through his/her decision.
This is why it is really very important for every student to understand what is embodied within the word ‘Aptitude.’ Every career option requires a particular aptitude combination that should match with the individual potential ability to grow with that career.
Aptitude is basically defined as an innate, learned or acquired the ability of an individual to perform certain tasks. Aptitude tests inculcate many factors like Numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, abstract reasoning, speed, accuracy, and other such abilities.
Understanding one’s own aptitude for his/her personal career assessment will help him/her to identify personal strengths and weaknesses. Understanding the aptitude will help the person to know the fact that which type of career will suit them best according to their potential. For example, if your spatial/visual aptitude is high you can opt for careers like Designing and creativity, Architecture etc. If you have high aptitude in Numerical areas of understanding, a career like Finance and Management may be your cup of tea.
Interest v/s Aptitude:
People often make a mistake to choose their career based on their interest only. Firstly, it is very important to understand your interest and aptitude for that field as they are two different things. Having an interest in a particular subject or career does not necessarily mean that an individual has the aptitude or potential to perform well in that particular area and achieve success. You might have an entirely different aptitude and different interest areas altogether. For example, even if you are interested in flying an aeroplane and have gained knowledge about it from various sources, watch videos or play video games related to and always score well but it does not necessarily mean that you also have the aptitude to perform well in that particular career and achieve success within that field.
That’s why it becomes very important to choose a career where both of the necessary degrees of interest and potential in order to achieve success. Try to utilize the power of career assessment before you delve into a particular career option or career path. It will definitely increase the chances to grow and develop your abilities within the career option that best suits the development of your aptitude.