This is the time of year, I realized, career counselling sessions are being conducted for school students entering Secondary school for selecting a stream (Maths, Science, Commerce) in Senior Secondary. Most of these are conducted by organizations, which put Jobs and Market for Jobs as the primary focus for choosing careers, capitalizing on parent’s anxiety for their wards. I attended one for my daughter and hence this blog.
No. I don’t believe a job is the destination of a Student. And I mean it in a practical way.
Jobs come and go. Hence preparing students for a job or set of jobs should not be the aim of career planning counselling at students level.
And I don’t believe successful careers are planned.
Human aims, aspirations and motivations keep changing. Our capabilities, aptitude and interests keep changing. Hence the definition of both success and career keep changing all throughout our lives.
Students need to be prepared to continuously learn and adapt in the rest of their life. This is the Solitary and Salient aim of student life. Schools and Colleges do that in direct and in-direct ways.
The expectation for Schools/Colleges should not be to feed students with knowledge. Rather their job is to make students realize the vastness of knowledge that students need to learn all through-out their life, teach them different ways of learning, enable students to practice their learning.
Continuous Learning is essential to provide services to society, for providing services to society is the only way to make a living in the society.
Schools provide an eco-system for collaboration and collaborative learning and adapting. Schools are the controlled experimental labs for students to learn, adapt and evolve themselves, before they are thrown into the society at large.
By making use of the degrees and certificates offered in school, students can become part of organizations and institutions that offer services to society. In that process they would learn, adapt and evolve themselves into higher planes.
Continuous Learning and adapting are the basis of evolution.
This is the holistic view of schooling and education, which should never be lost sight, though our immediate objectives may blur this holistic vision.
First suggestion from me to my daughter and hundreds of other daughters out there is that Career choices are not made at one point of time in life. They are continuously made all throughout your life. So you have umpteen number of choices at different points of time in your life.
Don’t get bedeviled, worried and torment yourself for the right choice of a Higher Secondary Stream. It’s not worth it.
Most times careers are not planned by individuals. And definitely so for successful individuals. I can bet that more successful an individual is in his/her career, more the possibility that his career choice was unplanned and happened to him/her.
So Students, don’t get worked up on the prodding of these organizations that you need to know what profession you can do and have to plan your career towards that profession.
Last heard, neither Bill Gates nor Steve Jobs, neither APJ Kalam nor Kalpana Chawla, neither CV Raman nor Venkataraman planned their careers in that way.
Parents these days are extremely worried. They are not sure of the professional choice that their wards need to make.
Should their wards focus on Maths, Science or Commerce..? What would be the profession that would remain in this world after 10 years ? They look for answers towards self-styled Career counselors.
None in this world can predict the career that would make this world in the next decade. More, none can plan towards it. Hence my second suggestion to Parents.
Parents, give your ward the ability to make food and not the food itself. For you can never give enough food to your kids. How do you provide that ability..? You need to encourage them to open out and learn things from all directions. Encourage them to discuss their ideas, opinions on various things in the world. Encourage them to learn more and present to you.
Parents, make your kid, your window to this world. See through them. See it along with them. Discuss everything with them from anatomy to astro-physics. Make them the Fire, not the wood.
Believe me. Do not worry about their career choice now. May be in the career path they choose now, it seems they will get a job after 10 years. But that job may not exist after 20 years, when they most need a job. So there is no point in fixing your career choices or casting them in stone now, based on a job or a profession.
And so I come to my third suggestion. How do Students make a choice in their Senior Secondary curriculum where they may need to choose between Maths, Science, Commerce and possibly other vocations.
Keep it simple students. Check what you are doing better now. Check what is your current interest and aptitude. And simply go for a stream aligned with your current interest. Focus on doing the best in whatever you do.
May be you choose commerce and find later that Accountancy is not your cup of tea. No issues. May be economics will become yours. If you keep your mind open, ready to learn and adapt to new things, you will always find newer areas in your chosen field.
May be you choose biology and find you are unfit for it. May be you will become a sales or business person in that field.
May be you choose Maths and find you are saddled with it. May be you will become a Computer programmer or Tester, good in logic but not arithmetics.
May be you aren’t a scientist, but become one. Don’t Despair. You can be a good administrator in scientific projects and be recognized as a great scientist in life.
Chemists/Pharmas need mathematicians. Engineering needs cost-accountants. Medical science needs good engineers (in handling tools). Accountants need good management skills. In every career people of different skills are required is the truth of this century.
In any field you choose, there are umpteen number of areas that match a person’s profile.
What Iam writing here is applicable for selecting a Course in College too. Students need to look at which course they can perform to the best of their potential in their current environment and land on that. If they can land on a course that people say brings lot of jobs, it is fine. Otherwise don’t despair. It may look harder.
Those students who you use the hard options at young ages are more successful at later ages, if they use it to learn and adapt better.
Finally, none can plan for success or successful career in life. Success or failure are not a point in Life. They just keep coming and going. We always need to keep our eyes and ears open, learn and adapt to changing environments, for that’s how science says, monkey became man.