Why Career Planning?
Children today are offered so many choices and opportunities that it is often difficult for them to decide on “the best” career path to follow. To add to the agony there are several pressures from parents, friends, relatives and teachers to get high percentages. Alongside there also goes on a riot in the student’s mind “What next?” What is the best career for me?”, “Where will I get all the information from?” Generally the easiest way to select a career is to find out an ‘upcoming careers’. As per the typical trend Science is a preferred option followed by Commerce and Arts. Students may even 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.
But is this truly a logical way of choosing a career?
One needs to understand that 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 spans right from S.S.C. to H.S.C. and sometimes even upto Graduation. It requires an adequate understanding of the individual with respect to his/her academic potentials, attributes, talents, interests, personality, values expectations and resources to utilise them to the optimum. Expectations from the job in terms of power, status, money and challenges involved must also be considered. A route to a successful career even depends on the optional subjects chosen during school years.
It is also important to keep several factors regarding the career in mind:
- 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.
Thus we can say that 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. These tests are followed by a career counselling session which offers professional assistance to the individual by not only making the student aware about his/her level of grasping, strong as well as weak abilities, likes, dislikes and personality factors, but also try and find a match between aspirations and the real self. Therefore commonly referred Aptitude Test is just one aspect of Psychological tests. The other important aspects are Intelligence, Personality, Adjustment and Interests.
Some steps that can be followed while making a career decision are:
- Listing the work options you desire
- Increasing the knowledge base with respect to those options by:
- attending career talks and/or career exhibitions [like, Times Education Boutique],
- reading newspapers (like Education Times, Regional newspapers giving information about careers),
- viewing TV programs on careers (for example, Hum Honge Kamyaab)
- interacting with people in the fields of your choice gives information with respect to the real nature of the job .
- Assessing the congruence, or the dissimilarity between one’s personality,values, aptitudes, interest and that of workplace.
- Trying to obtain an actual ’feel’ of the work environment of the career you aspire to be in which can be done through a 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 the urgent personal needs at that time. Many people make a start and soon realize that the career they have chosen is not the best option for them. The decision should, therefore, be made in a rational manner to eliminate any chances of regret or loss of resources.
An unthoughtful or impulsively made decision results in dissatisfaction and poor performance in academics. This usually occurs when the individual has not considered all the aspects discussed above and has instead chosen a career based on unessential reasons such as peer pressure, parent’s preference, percentage, nearness of the college, under the influence of a relative, cousin, easy options, current trends or scope.
One should remember that making a career decision is a difficult task even when you have a lot of information. 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 career that is pursued.