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In-Depth Jobs


Volume-36, 8-14, 2018

Choosing a  Career

Vijay Prakash Srivastava

For young people decision about choosing a career is possibly the most important decision in their life. This decision influences their lives in multiple ways which is simple to understand for all of us. Where we'll live, what we'll do , how much we'll earn and what life style we'll adopt is directly related to our job and career.

The space of careers is not the same that it used to be 2-3 decades ago.  The world is changing fast and in this dynamic world, people's approach to job and career has also changed. This in fact is a good thing. Our being strategic and contemporary helps us to be closer with reality which leads to better decision making in all walks of life.  Decision about choosing a career should be taken with all seriousness to keep us happy, satisfied and without regrets.

In our day to day life we come across many people who have a job. Most of them will be doing their job with sincerity and dedication. But it can't be said that all of them are happy with their job and enjoying it. For most of the people their job is like a routine. How good it will be to get a job of our liking in which we can put our heart and derive happiness from our working. Proper planning for our career may help in this. A career should be chosen. It shouldn't just happen.

There may be two ways in which we can look for a job. The first is to accept whatever comes our way; the other is to understand our career objectives and then work on it to realize this objective. It is true that there is tough competition in the job market. It is for us to decide whether we want to get intimidated by this competition or become ready to equip ourselves to beat the competition. The truth is by proper career planning and hard work it will be easier for you to find your way through this competition.

Career planning is like setting goals and making decisions. Good planning and the right choice will help you get where you want to be. Ideas given here are intended to help first time job seekers and also those who are already employed and are looking for a change.

India has changed a lot since independence .The pace of change has been phenomenal during the decades nineties and twenties. We are counted as the fastest growing economies in the world. We have the largest youth population. New opportunities are coming up every day. We have to identify opportunities suitable for us in order to avail them.

For the earlier generation there were very few career choices and in most of the cases they continued with their first job till retirement. The situation before the new generation is different. There are varied opportunities available to them and commitment to a particular job or company for their entire working life is something, many of them can't think of. The truth is majority of this young population will work in different jobs and organizations in their working life. It makes the whole thing appear more complicated. There are young qualified people who could've got a decent paying job in companies of repute but decided to be on their own with some venture which we call entrepreneurship. Everyone doesn't have this risk taking capability. Where one wants to work and what one wants to do is a matter of personal choice. Those who want to secure a good career should focus on the industries or businesses that have a good future. But this can't be the only criteria. In fact you should look within before you look outside for a career.

It always helps to make an inventory of your personality attributes. If your job matches your personality then the sailing may be smooth. For example a job in sales and marketing may not be the ideal job for someone who is introvert and does not like to meet new people. However if we assume that such a person wants a marketing job then s/he will have to come out of the introvert nature to become an effective marketer.. The lesson here is to choose a job which matches your personality or brings the required changes in your personality to match with your job. It may appear difficult but is possible. Many people have accomplished this.

Equally important are your skills. All of us have few skills and some are more skilled than others. All jobs require certain basic skills. At higher level skill requirements become more specific. Make sure that you possess the fundamental skills for the job you are looking at. Again it is worth noting that skills can be learnt and developed. So in case if you find yourself lacking in some skill you may overcome with efforts and persistence.

A degree doesn't necessarily make you skilled. In various surveys it has already been advised that more than half of engineering graduates are not considered employable as they lack in many skills sought by employers. Don't consider your degree or diploma to be a passport for your dream job. You'll require much more than this.

Your career strategy doesn't get complete with only deciding the kind of job you want to do. You should have clarity about the kind of organization you want to join.

It is simple to understand that you should have adequate qualification for the job. If you're still a student and have a particular job in mind find out the eligibility requirements.  As an explanation those who want to work as an economist will require a master's degree in the subject. For clerical and  generalist officers' position in public sector banks a graduate degree will suffice.

Many of us get attracted to a job without having sufficient knowledge about it. We succeed in getting the job and then come to realize that it is much different than what we had expected. It is advisable to collect as much information as possible relating to the job or position to have a complete picture. Details given in a job advertisement should not be considered enough. Searches on internet may be of help but to get firsth and information you may try to meet few people who are already working in those jobs.

Your career strategy doesn't get complete with only deciding the kind of job you want to do. You should have clarity about the kind of organization you want to join.  For example if you are a graduate mechanical engineer, various options will be open to you. There would be public sector undertakings like NTPC, BHEL, ONGC etc., companies in private sector and also engineering services of Central government among others with requirement of such engineers. Not all of them may have vacancies in a given time frame but knowing your preferences will work good for you.  If you are concerned only with the job and don't bother about organization you  have  to be clear about this as well.

The attitude to have a job just as a means of livelihood is considered primitive now. A new trend is being seen where people are relating their passion with the career they want to have.The profession chosen by them is not necessarily directly related to their studies. Frankly, this cannot be possible for everybody. However it is important to choose a job which you like and in which you can feel happy. This will require some exploration. Those with a creative bent of mind may feel scuffled in a typical bureaucratic organization.

Care needs to be taken in not judging a job just on the basis of salary and financial benefits it offer. Of course you should be compensated for your time and contribution in a job ,but it is also important to look for the learning and growth opportunities it offers. The growth needs not be only in form of career progression but should also include your personal and intellectual growth. It is always better to work with those organizations which have a clear human resource development policy and which invest well in their human capital.

The attitude to have a job just as a means of livelihood is considered primitive now. A new trend is being seen where people are relating their passion with the career they want to have.

There are more lateral career opportunities available now than ever before. So those who are looking for a change, are in a better position to exercise such option. However such a decision should be taken after proper analysis and should not be based on flimsy reasons. Some times it is not easy to clearly find out how better is the new job proposal. On some parameters it may offer an advantageous position but may also require few compromises to be made. You have to judge every offer in its totality and make sure that in most respects you're getting a better deal. Don't switch to another job just because it offers a higher salary. It may lack growth opportunity or the work culture may be disappointing. So every major aspect the job  has to be evaluated. Also it is advisable not to leave a job on bitter note. There have been instances of people wanting to return to their earlier employer. If you had maintained good relations then it will be easier for you to return.

If you want to remain relevant in the job market you'll need to upgrade your knowledge and skills. Those who create a distinct positive identity will always be in demand and in a better position to move to higher or better roles.

When one doesn't succeed in getting a job it is easier to blame the situation, system or competition. This is not going to help. You can be successful with your hard work, persistence and by equipping yourself with right attributes. Analyze your weaknesses and strengths. Weaknesses can be converted into strengths. it requires determination. Tune your mindset towards success, clarify your objectives and intensify your efforts to move closer to your career goals. Your career strategy should be a well thought decision with the objective of making best of your knowledge, skill and aptitude and ultimately realizing your potential

(The author is a career counsellor based in Mumbai Email: v2j25@ yahoo.in)Views expressed are personal.