FEATURE 15 December 2012

Embarking Upon Successful Careers

The ability to realize and evaluate your true potential, correct decision and long term planning are the three steps to a successful career.

  • Self evaluation - It includes analyzing your abilities and potential. Are you doing justice to your potential or you are rating your potential high without having the requisite ability? An honest assessment of yourself will provide you the answers. If you have both potential and ability then the direction needs to be worked out.

  • Careful planning and following it up with proper execution. This is what it takes to achieve the desired goal. Here the role of the parents as well as the teachers assumes importance. They must not only share a healthy relationship with the child but also be free of the prejudices related to the various careers. Instead, they must play a guiding role and encourage the child to take up the area of his/her interest.

  • Long term planning - Careful planning after X std or after senior secondary and graduation and following it up with a workable plan is needed for a successful career. After passing out at different levels you have two options -

- Pursuing your study
- Choosing a career oriented course

If you are choosing the first option then decide according to your abilities. Do not get swayed by the mass hysteria regarding the traditional career choices. It is better to opt for a commerce stream and secure distinction rather than opt for science (due to parental or peer pressure) stream and fail or secure poor marks.

If you are willing to chose the second option then :

You should take into consideration the following.

  • Your interest and abilities

  • The perks or the monetary benefits

  • The working environment

  • The future prospects, i.e. where the job will lead you to five or ten years down the line.

The Oxford English Dictionary says one's career is one's "course or progress through life (or a distinct portion of life)". Since material interests seem inseparable from progress, the modern connotation of career pertains to one's remunerative work (and sometimes formal education).

Slowly, the word ‘career’ came to mean a full-time job or profession - especially one with opportunities for progress or promotion. A career offered immense scope to an individual for putting into use his lifetime's education, training and other skills. How satisfying or fulfilling a career is, depended a good deal on the monetary angle, i.e. the emoluments which a person got, that enabled him to make a decent if not too comfortable a living.

As the idea of personal choice and self direction picks up in the 21st century, aided by the power of the Internet and the increased acceptance of people having multiple kinds of work, the idea of a career is shifting from a closed set of achievements, like a chronological résumé of past jobs, to a defined set of pursuits looking forward. In its broadest sense, career refers to an individual’s work and life roles over their lifespan.

In the Indian social context, with a burgeoning population, the idea of pursuits has caught up only recently. What used to be a set of achievements emanating from a traditional career has now shifted to a wide plethora of choices ranging from the traditional ones to the newer ones to the unconventional ones breaking the socio-cultural taboos.

Self Analysis
The basic idea of a career option springs from your like or dislike of a particular subject, your aptitude, proficiency and fundamental knowledge, etc. In order to embark on a successful career, you need to have clarity of thought, ability to convince others of the worthiness of your choice, and belief in your own ability from an early stage and if you have crossed that early stage than probably performance at that stage would give you a broad division of choices. For eg: if you where able to just pass in you 12th grades with science subjects and are eyeing for career in engineering or medical because of the charm associated with it at the stage than probably you are in the wrong shoes. Its better you may pursue your graduation from humanities. Else if you are hell-bent for a professional league then you can opt for the NDA or other such exams. The options are various, for all the backgrounds.

Career Planning
A career is the totality of your life’s work, including family, learning and leisure. You should choose a job, which is compatible with your interest and capabilities, provides comfortable living and hold a good future prospect.

The Career Plan is a document for students to record their development throughout their life in the areas of self-knowledge, job exploration, your expectations from your job and life goals. Your selection of a career must reflect what you consider to be important and worth doing. If you do not value the work you do, no other incentive can compensate for your lost sense of importance. Simply put, your chosen career needs to fit your personality just as your shoes fit your feet. But, how can you determine the type of work that will best suit you? First, look at what you have done in the past that you cherish and enjoy. Then, think about what you might like to do in the future and what activities would be important to you.

Your take on the following :

  • Variety – your preference for performing different kinds of activities.

  • Teamwork – How comfortable you are working within a team or are you amongst those who like to work alone.

  • Recognition – How much attention you crave for. How important it is for you to be known and recognized by others.

  • Independence –How much you depend upon others. This again determines whether you feel comfortable being a part of a team. If you happen to love sports and are of loner types then obviously team sports are out for you. You can choose an individual sport like lawn tennis or badminton or golf. This is an example to illustrate how your personality traits dominate the choice of your long-term career goals.

  • Creativity – If you are creative types or the extra cautious who shuns any attempt to change.

  • Making money – If money-making interests you meaning you are a professional to the core or you give priority to your family and kids. Many people leave successful careers to look after their kids and family. On the other hand, there are many who give importance to their professional life ahead of their family.

  • Autonomy – How much autonomy you prefer. Are you made for a typical 9 to 5 job or you want to work according to your conditions. If you prefer autonomy then you, can chose options like photography or acting, music or be an entrepreneur yourself.

  • Aesthetics- If you are among those who appreciate aesthetic sense then you can go for any of the courses in designing, viz. interior designing, fashion designing, jewellery designing or the sorts.

  • Leadership – How much leadership qualities do you have? Will you be able to command the respect of your team members?

  • Productivity – What are your productivity levels i.e. what is your pace of work. Obviously if you enjoy the work you do, your productivity levels will increase.

  • Structure – Again how much routine can you follow? Do you like being disciplined all the time? Or do you make your rules yourself.

  • Adventure – Are you adventurous by nature or you shun any show of bravado. If the answer is in the affirmative then you can make a career in adventure sports.

  • Service- Do you like helping others or serving others? If yes then you can opt for a career in NGOs or hospitality industry.

  • Security – Are you conservative by nature and prefer job security then Government jobs will suit you.

The essentials of Career planning :

      a. Knowledge about ones own self
      b. Career exploration
      c. Future Goals
      d. Decision making
      e. skills /application

Highlight your career

- What are your priorities in life? List the three things that are most important to you :

- What are your favorite pastimes?

- Take a pen and a paper, and list the activities

  • You do and enjoy during your leisure time.

  • You love to do when you are with your family members.

  • You perform while learning.

  • You enjoy while working at a job or volunteering in the community.

  • Of the interests you listed, which might most influence your occupational choice?

  • How would you describe your personality? Are you a “self-starter”? Do you panic under pressure?

  • Do you have natural talents or aptitudes? What are they? Identify them and make a list.

  • Describe the skills you have developed during your life. Which are the strongest skills that you possess? What skills would you like to learn or improve? (Think about abilities such as speaking or writing, as well as physical abilities such as playing sports.)

  • Based on the priorities, interests and skills you have identified write a statement that describes what you think is the ideal career path for you.

  • What are some of the roles you expect yourself to play during your lifetime? Make a list of your current and future roles.

Based on this list you will get the answer about your likes and dislikes and you will be able to plan your career in a better way. For any help, National Network of Education is at your service.

Now, the question arises: Where you begin form and how?
Well, the best thing for you is to judge yourself. Decide which is your strongest subject or combination of subjects; pick the ones that appeal to you and you have had consistent high marks in them. The next step would be to consult the subject teacher who may be able to guide you in this matter. Next, you could look around in your social circle. A doctor aunt, a botanist uncle or perhaps an MBA brother in law would be too glad to help you. You could rely on their personal experiences in their respective fields and then make up your mind. What is more, you could even ask them to judge you in specific subjects as to whether you are brilliant, average or dull. Their verdict need not dishearten you. Remember that verdict is a result of their personal bias. These days there is no dearth of information about careers.

If you are interested in making a career in sports but you have your limitations as an athlete you can still be close to your chosen area of interest by becoming a sports journalist or a physiotherapist or a psychologist.

These days a plethora of information being available about the various academic disciplines; what course is available and where; the common admission tests conducted countrywide (for the purposes of admissions or recruitment or both), the paraphernalia of rules & regulations, eligibility conditions etc.; results of the foresaid examinations, Scholarships/fellowships and grants available to the bright students for pursuing higher studies and research, within the country or abroad. Then there are numerous career related magazines, scientific and medical journals that disseminate wealth of information to career aspirants, attempting to put them on the right track. A sizeable number of television channels transmit programmes related to career choices, counseling and guidance.

One cannot ignore the myriads of websites, solely devoted to higher education and career opportunities, which have virtually shrunk the globe in an unprecedented manner and simplified tasks like research, information gathering, admissions to institutions and universities in other parts of the country or overseas. Thanks to the worldwide web, you can pursue your long cherished study programme /course, merely with the click of a mouse.

More information Coming Soon...


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