The most important decision of our lives – the career choice – is frequently the one which gets the least serious in-depth thinking and analysis. There is a tendency among youngsters to follow the trend; or do something because everyone is doing it. This includes the MBA degree, Medicine – or whichever field you can think of. Even after you have completed your professional education, little thought is given to which organization, or which specific work-field to go into. Yes, some people do give it deep thought and choose something they are passionate about, or talented at, or which suits them. But quite a few don’t. This article is meant for those who don’t.
First, in my 14 years work experience, I have noticed something – and that is the unfortunate fact that earning money has little provable relation to doing something of your choice, or having a career that you are happy at. Innumerable employee satisfaction surveys have proven that most people are unhappy at their jobs; there is little work satisfaction. Paradoxically, most of these ladies and gentlemen are also earning good money – or at least enough money to afford a decent lifestyle. It isn’t about money; the human mind,with its untapped and little-understood capacities, can overcome obstacles and force the body to perform, thus ensuring that job requirements are met. But this is an adjustment; it has its costs in terms of health – physical as well as mental.
It is possible to train your mind and body to do something you are not interested in; but with the passage of time, dissatisfaction at your daily routine creeps in. The practical needs of providing for self and family ensures regularity and performance on the job – but your mind is increasingly at odds with your reality. This has its tell-tale effects on your health as well – as can be seen with the rising incidence of lifestyle diseases as well as high Blood Pressure, Diabetes and Heart ailments. Yes, it is true that not all dissatisfied people get the above diseases – there are other causes for them. But even if you escape these diseases, the sceptre of dissatisfaction leaves you with a feeling of yearning, of a lack of something vital in your life. You don’t enjoy your life and your job as much as you could have; your job becomes a mere tool to provide for your family.
There is also another side to this – a bad career choice can lead to failure as well. This does not mean that you as a person have failed; just that you attempted to do something that you are not good at, or talented at, or interested in. Life can become a struggle for such people. That is why focus and attention needs to be given to oneself and one’s abilities at the right stage of your life – and that is during higher secondary school, or during undergraduate studies.
The greatest obstacle in front of students in this endeavour is the students themselves; the total lack of interest in reading is a fundamental obstacle that will need to be overcome. Reading keeps you aware of latest trends, developments as well as exposes you to new career choices; it gives you ideas as well as develops your mind and enables an analysis of the self. Apart from this, students tend to disregard elders’ opinions. You as a student need to broaden your horizons, to make you better aware of the world around you and the options it offers. Taking this up with your peers, seniors and elders in the know will only broaden your horizons, expose you to new ideas; you don’t have to accept everything they tell you. The decision is yours – it has to be yours. And to make a decision – you need information – which can only be garnered by the means stated above.
Each individual needs to identity what areas he or she is good at, talented at or interested in; then all that remains is a choice of the most remunerative and attractive career option from among these. This does not mean you are guaranteed a successful career – just that you will be dong something you enjoy, or are good at. Life is a struggle – any way you look at it. A career of your choice (as opposed to the herd choice) will at least ensure that you are mentally at peace with what you are doing; this will give you a greater stress-bearing ability, as well as act as a force multiplier. Job disstatisfaction may still arise – but you will be in a better frame of mind to deal with it – and other challenges that come your way. For one thing is certain – challenges will come your way, whatever you may choose to do… but the right choice will give you a wider range of weapons to deal with the challenges…
In this series of 4 articles, I shall attempt to delve into this issue – that of career choice, as well as the Mid-Life crisis, and rampant lack of job satisfaction in greater detail. The last 2 have several other parameters apart from career choice that need to be taken into consideration – but that is another story…
“Vishal V Kale is a Sales and Marketing professional, with 14 years post-MBA experience across levels and functions in Telecom, Insurance and Consumer Goods industries; and is currently employed as a Head of West India in a telecom startup company. He can be found on http://reflectionsvvk.
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