Graduating high school? Here are some tips on how to choose the right career path

Choosing a profession is never an easy endeavour

By Asha Iyer Kumar

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Published: Thu 4 Apr 2024, 7:09 PM

Dear Children, it’s hustle time for those of you in the 10th-11th-12th grade category, and let me be honest, the last place I now want to be is in your shoes. Many of you would have got past the first major hurdle – the boards – with many still in the final throes of it. Those who have crossed it will subsequently be faced with the question: What next?

Choosing a career is never an easy endeavour. The quandaries are many: First, you have to determine your favourite subject, and that means pledging loyalty to a stream that will become your lifetime passion and profession. Never easy, because not many children can tell which subject they like the most. For many that I know, it is English. Now what career does one carve out with English as his/her strong suit? Try suggesting to your parents that you want to be an author, or at best a professor of English, or a journalist, and chances are that they are going to freak out. Because these careers are neither lucrative nor very popular. It evokes images of a hobbling professor or a reclusive writer or a rambling scribe. When the world is going the coding way, you want to crunch words for a living?

But what if you truly are in love with the languages, and want to be a specialist in it like I wanted? You then chalk out a plan that will convince your parents that it is not an insane idea but a genuine interest that you will follow through and build a life and career out of.

The trick is to be first convinced of what you loved learning in all these years of schooling; what you excelled at naturally; what brought out the best in you. Even this is not easy for many children to determine, but there will certainly be something that you liked above all else. Once you figure it, it is time for you to research the scope and significance it has in the future world. Having a yen for a subject is one thing, but knowing its practical utility in a world that is fast changing its preferences is equally important. Will it fetch you enough and provide for you and your family’s needs? (Of course, you are going to have one someday, aren’t you?)

Speak to our parents, even if your idea might seem ridiculous in the beginning. They may have nourished dreams of making you the next big thing in AI or Aeronautics, and imagine their disillusionment when you announce that humanities are your thing. But there can be consensus, by exploring your area of interest and finding how it can be dovetailed with the needs of the world; how learning the subject can make you an important part of human evolution.

For a vast number of students, choosing a career is easy because they would have either been amply influenced by their parents to take their chosen path or they would have themselves decided it, inspired by success stories of people around. But I know many teenagers who even as they stand at the threshold balk at the thought, not certain what they want to be except nursing vague ideas like, “I want to be rich” or “I want to serve the society” or “I want to be a footballer.”

Here's a quick tip to decide when in doubt: Ask yourself what you like (your passion). Then ask yourself what you are good at (your strengths). And most importantly, ask yourself if it aligns with your values in life (your personal principles). If all the three converge at a point, then it’s your true calling. More on careers in the next. Until then, keep glowing: keep growing.

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