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Finding the connect between career choice and passion

For the very first blog, Invoke inspire requested the quintessential and shy but highly motivated grassroot innovator, SUKRIT SARKAR, TEDxSKCET Student Icon'18 to write a blog. Sukrit is someone who due to his innate genius landed up becoming the student Icon at TEDxSKCET. He has a knack for approaching cumbersome problems in creative and innovative ways and is constantly working towards bringing social inclusion and making the youth self-sufficient to prepare them for the future. Handing the pen over to Sukrit….

When Invoke inspire asked me write to a blog for students and parents about how to make a good career choice, I realized it was such a vast and difficult topic, but a topic worth pondering over. Each individual is different and after having interacted with over ten thousand students, I felt there were a few tips that I could suggest that could perhaps light the lamp in some hearts.

I remember as kids when we were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up, we would have our own peculiar answers to those questions. Sometimes we would shy away and at other times quite eloquently talk about something we felt strongly about at that moment. It felt as if the world was ours and there were so many opportunities and a plethora of things to explore!

Fast forward ten or fifteen years and we find ourselves a part of the race against time. What changes? Why do we not feel the same way as we used to about our dreams and passion? I thought a lot about this and realized that things begin to change when we enter the teenage years. Being a teenager is not as easy and all adults do know this as they too have been through the same but they seem to forget all about the trials of the teenage years when they become adults.

The burden that falls on our frail shoulders when we are barely adults, may seem like nothing to others, but in reality, it's more than we are prepared to bear. It’s usually accompanied by hormonal changes followed by so many other factors like mood swings, aggression and a lot more confusing emotions that even we might not sometimes understand. And amidst all the chaos, comes the big choice of choosing a career and making our future in it. This life altering choice is offered to us when we're barely fifteen!

The question is, how do we decide? I’ve listed some things that I think might make the very crucial decision making process a little bit smoother if not easier.

Making a career choice is impacted by the following factors;

1. Students do not themselves have strong knowledge of different career paths and parents may not be up to date with the current trends in career choices. What needs to be done is a whole lot of Constructive Research. This can begin online. Parents can begin the search but for that first they need to identify the child’s interests and potential and try and see where the two meet. No point in forcing the child to choose something that goes against his potential or his interest. Where the two meet should be the perfect fit but it’s not as easy since both are scared of making mistakes.

2. No mentors to guide. The Indian Education System does not provide mentors. This makes things tough as students have no clue whom to seek guidance from and often end up asking other students who may be equally clueless or talking through their hats.

3. Career counseling exhibitions often sugar coat prospects in certain fields and may present lop sided views. Plus today there are so many of these and all present such rosy pictures that instead of making things easier it has actually made things more confusing. New and exciting professions are cropping up due to the onset of digitization and other professions are becoming obsolete. A detailed investigation of viable and lucrative professions but ones that suit the individual personality is of great importance.

4. Children may or may not have cultivated correct hobbies. Some parents send kids to multiple classes to ensure they are constantly busy and some other kids while away all their time. Problem arises if you do not have a hobby horse and haven’t attempted to find out if that favorite hobby can turn into a passion and later profession.

The above factors often become the root cause of why students in our country don’t fall into the right cohort and get trapped in the same generalized streams.

For solving the above issues I suggest that parents and students must look at the following points carefully and seek to address them in all sincerity;

This section is for parents

Career prospects
13-19 is a good breathing space for you guys to actually understand what the child likes or dislikes, explore different career options, and talk to the child often. Try and find the interests of the child and check if it’s a passing fancy or a developing passion. Try out the potential in the child’s area of interest and give due weightage to his/her vision for himself/herself

Mentors
Finding and being a good mentor is often difficult. Teachers do try to motivate the students in their individual zone and make the students understand that they are equally unique and IMPORTANT. But they can only do so much. Try and find good mentor teachers for the kids. Encourage children to talk often to the teachers concerned and help them take advice given seriously.

Career counselling fairs
Parents must chose them with great caution. And it would be a good idea if parents first interact with the counselors themselves, get to know them to ensure that they are not sceptics or flatterers before letting them interact with students first hand.

This section is for Students

Hobby horses habit
Unless you find your core area of passion or your dreams and work on them to fine tune them, you won’t know what’s best suited for you. I would encourage you to try different things, explore and understand what makes you happy and see if you feel strongly about one particular hobby. Then you must give yourself upto it and surrender to it, while still in school or college and explore it’s full impact on you and explore your potential in it to see if you feel passionately about it.

Explore
Ask whoever you can, how did they make it, how did they choose or decide their career. Use the resources around you. Everyone has access to internet these days. Make the right use of it.

Read
Read books that will guide you, give you the power and ability to tinker. It may not seem like very important to you, but it will add more value to your personality and knowledge than you can imagine.

Have a Goal & Make a plan
Having a goal or an aim will definitely help you. It will give you a purpose in life, which will make your life more meaningful and productive. Start small and build. In fact, it’s a good idea to make a vision board where you list your short and long term goals that you sit and think about realistically. Pen down a basic layout of it on a piece of paper or a board and keep it where you will see it daily. This will remind you each day of what your goals are. While making your goals, ensure that they are realistic.

It is imperative that you should have a basic idea of what kind of future you want.

Peer Pressure
Do not let yourself become a victim of peer pressure. It may seem like what your peers are doing or saying is better than what your goals are, but it's not. Be careful who you mingle with.

Everyone has their own opinions and goals. Keep working towards yours. If you know what you want to be, what your passion is, keep grinding and hustling.

The road is not easy. No job is easy either. So rather than giving up because it's too much or too difficult, why not fail, get up and start again? This is the age when you have the leverage of failing as many times you want. Nobody is counting on you, and even if they are, you can be the person you want to be for them, just keep working. You will not be the best on day one or even in a year, but someday, with persistence and efforts, you will be.

And, if you don't know your passion yet, it's alright. There is no age limit to realize and follow your passion. Many people start following their dreams when they into their 40’s. You're still a young bud with a lot of fire waiting to burn.

There's no straight path to success. You may have to change careers, jobs, cities and what not. But in the end, when you reach those heights, it'll all seem worth it.

And I wish that when you scale those great heights that you are capable of, that you will share your success story with the world (and me!) so that the next generation can get inspired! Good luck and God bless!

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