Thursday, June 2, 2011

What career to choose?

For some people this might be surprising, but there are people (seriously insane) who had asked for "advice" from me on what career they should choose?!

Advice is THE most dangerous thing to give anyone. But then at times when I am asked to add my few cents, self pride takes over, succumb to it and try my hand at giving "career (un)guidance". Usually what I try to do is, I ask them to go and find what they want to do instead of letting people around them choose what they want to do (easy isn't it, I pass the ball back to them, some talent ;) )

I try to give them some guidelines and avoid any specifics, I usually tell them that there are now more professions than the stereotypical jobs like doctor, lawyer, engineer and teacher. You wouldn't believe that even in this age there are parents(let me not name the community) who wouldn't accept the above point).

Then I ask them to tell me things that they enjoy doing. I try to define "enjoy" as follows, its some task or job you would spend hours and hours on and still wouldn't feel tired about it. These are things you do with your heart. I guess this is a good cue to find what you like, deciding on a career is crucial since this is something you might end up doing for years and if you don't enjoy doing it you would be wasting major part of your life doing things that you are don't enjoy and at some point would begin to say "life suck". The trick here is to understand is that each of us are different, I wouldn't necessarily enjoy doing someone else is enjoying. Find your own passion and not try to copy, but you might find inspiration from someone else. For example if you enjoy singing and feel you are good at it, it might be worth pursuing it or think of a job which has a connection with music. If you are good in art and enjoy art, think of a career revolving around art, doesn't mean you need to become a painter, you might even consider, graphics design, interior design, etc etc, the world is a large enough place to carve out your own niche. Its just that you need to get out of your preconceived mind set to see a bigger world.

I usually ask them to go and find out more about different career options and talk to people and find out what are the skills needed to do that role. Compare the need of the career with your strengths. For example a sales person should have skills like, people skills, excellent communication, liking to be with people than machines, natural flair to get a conversation going with a complete stranger in a few minutes etc etc. If your inherent likings fits the bill then think of learning the skills the profession needs and then the chances of being successful will be more than to find a career and then create an artificial flair or liking (now for god sake don't start comparing this with marriage.)

I am still wondering whether if I would have a better "advice" which I can give next time around. Please share your own thoughts and experiences.

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