Swati Salunkhe

Managing Director - Growth Centre India Private Limited

Career Planning

Career Planning and Options after Standard X

The ninth standard examinations are over and before the kids get their results they try and catch up with as much of play as they can, because they know that the beginning of May would mean serious study in order to get high percentages in the tenth standard.

Their coaching classes would begin and they are going to have to study hard as the ‘preparatory tests’ are going to be held soon.  No sooner has the student adjusted to this routine, that school starts with a bang from day one.   There are several pressures on the student ranging from submissions, to daily home work, studying and learning, school test and exams and finally the Board Exams where they are expected from parents, friends, relatives and teachers to get percentages in the 80-90’s.  Alongside there goes on a riot in his mind “who do I want to be?”, What must I do to get what I want?”, “ Where can I do it from?”, ‘Can I be who I aspire to be?”

While the students are busy with their books, their parents are engrossed in researching various career options that their child can pursue. These are then suggested to their children for perusal. Most of these options usually comprise of the ‘upcoming careers’ or those in vogue. Some even include the easiest possible alternatives. Science is often the preferred option followed by commerce and arts.  Optionally, the students themselves may have some preset or envisaged career goals based on their aspirations, peer pressure or likings rubbed on to them from people they are close to or look up to.

Well, is this truly a logical way of choosing a career?

Who ever said that deciding about your future is that easy? The transition from school/college life to the real world has its own unique experience for every individual.  And, therefore, the decision to choose or reject a career should be made over a period of time and after careful consideration of various relevant factors.

The process of career planning stretches from secondary and higher secondary school years.  It requires an adequate understanding of the individual with respect to his/her academic potentials, attributes, talents, interests, personality, values expectations and resources.  While making a career choice, select options where the aptitude, interest and personality are strong assets.  Avoid areas where the attitudes are weak and the interests cannot be easily developed.  You must also consider your expectations from the job, power, status, money and challenges involved.  Interest is the most essential for the individual to sustain in the career. Planned routes to a career along with optional careers chosen during school years, considering the above-mentioned attributes, keeps the person adequately motivated throughout his training and during stiff competition.

Besides the above-mentioned, it is also important to keep several factors regarding the career in mind.  Explained briefly, these would ideally be:

Nature of Work – is a description of what the career entails.

Working Environment – contains information regarding where you are going to be located and under what conditions you are going to work.

Areas of Specialization – deals with the specialties within the broader career.

Physical and Psychological Requirements – emphasize the multitude of physical, emotional, mental, and behavioral aspects demanded by the career.

Study/Training Involved – an accurate knowledge of the educational or vocational pathway to practice in a given field.

Employment prospects – contains information regarding the different areas or related fields where the individual can work given an educational/vocational background.

Career progression – is an estimation of what heights the person can reach in a given field.

Therefore, one can say that career planning visualizes a match between the requirements of a job, personality, skills, interests and expectations.  Awareness of the individual’s “real” skills, motivation, strengths, likes, dislikes, weaknesses, aspirations are very important.  This awareness should be based on actual achievements and must be supplemented by objective tests that can be administered only by trained psychologists/counselors.

Psychological tests give scientific and objective data about the individual.  This followed by a career counselling session will deliver professional assistance to the individual by not only making him aware about his level of grasping, his strong as well as weak abilities, likes, dislikes and personality factors, but also try and find a match between his aspirations and his real self. Therefore, as commonly misconceived, aptitude is not the only measure to be considered or tested.  Intelligence, personality, adjustment and interest are also to be scientifically measured.

The Steps to be followed in career decision-making are as follows:

  • List the work options you desire
  • Increase your knowledge base with respect to those options  by:
    – attending career talks and/or career exhibitions,

– reading newspapers (for example, Education Times),

– viewing TV programs on careers (for example, Career Charcha)
– and most importantly interacting with people in the fields of your choice.  Accurate information with respect to the real nature of the job can be obtained through this method.

  • Assess the congruence, or the dissimilarity that arises between your personality, values, aptitudes, interest and that of your workplace.
  • Try and obtain an actual ’feel’ of the work environment of the career you aspire to be in.  This could be through summer jobs or by working part time while studying.

 

However it is noteworthy that certain individuals are forced to select a career based only on opportunity and his urgent personal needs at that time.

Few people make a start just to realize that the career they have chosen is not the most suitable option for them.  The decision should, therefore, be made in a rational manner to eliminate any chances of regret or loss of resources.

The consequences of a weak decision are dissatisfaction with work, stress and frustration – both on the job and in personal life.  “Job/career hopping” is an adverse possibility.  This usually occurs when the individual has not considered all the aspects discussed above.  Instead, he has chosen a career based on unessential reasons such as peer pressure, parent’s preference, easy options, current trends or scope.

However, the purpose of this article is not only to create/generate awareness to a very genuine need … a need of both the parents and students alike with respect to career planning, but also to provide access to up-to-date career options available to students after standard X.

Commonly it is misbelieved that the only options after standard X are Science, Commerce or Arts but this is not true.  There is a gamut of options that the student can opt from after completing his schooling.  Most of us are aware only of the academic options and not the vocational ones.  While academic options focus on the intellectual talents of the individual and follow the 10+2+3 system, the vocational options focus on developing particular job skills and are available any time after standard VIII. Briefly described, in alphabetical order, they are as follows:

  • Agriculture – certificate or diploma courses in horticulture, gardening etc.
  • Arts – also referred to as Humanities, it includes subjects like languages, history, geography, economics, sociology, psychology, philosophy, political science.
  • Certificate Courses – in areas such as Soap-making, Gardening, Tailoring, and Repairing etc.
  • Commerce – involves studying subjects like economics, accountancy, book-keeping, secretarial practice, mathematics, commerce.
  • Defence – entry as a jawan. For boys only
  • Diploma Courses – in areas such as Home Science, Languages, Cookery/Bakery/Confectionery, Secretarial Practice, Computers etc.
  • Fine Arts Diploma – teaches painting, sculpting, etc.
  • Home Science – is basically a blend of the science and arts streams.  Subjects studied are chemistry, biology, child development, sociology, family relations, nutrition, textiles etc.
  • Industrial Training Institute – covers technical courses such as repair, fitting, welding as well as non technical courses such as dress making.
  • Minimum Competency Vocational Course – imparts vocational training.  The six areas are Agriculture, Fishery, Engineering Technology, Commerce, Health and Medicine Service and Home Science.
  • Paramedical Courses – such as Mid-wifery, certificate in Medical Laboratory Technology etc.
  • Science – includes subjects such as biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, information technology etc.

 

The topic of studying abroad cannot be neglected as it an option that many are choosing today.  Because foreign universities offer an international exposure as well as offer a more open system of education.

All in all, one can say that making a career decision is a difficult task even when you have a lot of information.  Today, though traditional career options such as medicine, engineering, teaching, government jobs are still central and essential they are being overtaken by other more novel options such as biotechnology, management, designing, entertainment, and information technology. It is best to use a scientific, objective methodology in the career decision-making process in order to find the most suitable match between who you are and the selected career.

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