Sunday, August 10, 2014
CAREER COUNSELLING for SELF FULFILMENT
History talks about the earliest man being engaged in basic survival activities till he discovered his higher needs and newer ways to satisfy them. As his needs increased, providing for them individually became impossible. Then came the barter system and that was the beginning of official ‘Careers’. There were the farmers and the weavers, the blacksmiths and the carriers, the wood cutters and the potters and the number went on increasing as the divisions became finer and finer. And here we stand today with not just biologists but biotechnologists, biomedics, biochemists, animal biologists, plant biologists, microbiologist…then there are doctors who are physicians, surgeons, pediatricians….not to forget the surgeons who are neurosurgeons and later on hand neurosurgeon who would probably go to specialize as thumb neurosurgeon….The point here is that we are living in an era of mini, micro and nano and that shows the big picture of the career opportunities available to us.
And yet we are still fixated on a select few career options that are the easy secure preferences of the masses. Our reasons?- That is what everyone does/ my friends have opted for it/ parents choice…and the big picture starts fading. We put on the blind folds and enter the rat race. This story has been repeated over the decades and it is amusingly the same even today. My grandfather told my father that science subjects give better career, and my father dutifully passed it on to me and even today I see parents who strongly hold to this myth. They surely appreciate some child emerging with flying colors in the field of performing arts, but when it comes to one’s own children, it is always the age old well defined tried and tested risk free options, irrespective of the fact whether the option and its profile suits the child or not.
Some may ask, ‘why so much fuss over making a career choice? People have been doing it over the age”. Agreed, but here I am talking about the bigger picture. For earlier generations, a career had certain meaning and that invariably was spelt as MONEY. A house of ownership and a personal mode of transport while making education and marriage possible for children had been the sole purpose of life and career for many. But today the needs have changed and hence the relevance of ones career.
Here I would also like to bring to notice that many of us who are half way through some career experience extreme discontent with the current work and work life. Yet somehow we continue to convince ourselves that we have to stick to the one original career we chose for some obscure reason. Not just for our children, we do not dare to think differently even for ourselves.
Agreed, money is one of the vital factors even today, however it ceases to hold its monopoly over the top of the list of factors for personal satisfaction and happiness. Allow me to quote Maslow (1943) here,
“Every individual has five levels of needs- physiological, safety, social, ego, and self- actualizing.”
He explains that once a lower level is accomplished, the individual seeks higher attainment and thus the quest goes on. Having born into an era of economic abundance, an individual who is adequately educated gets access to most of the basic needs at a comparatively early age. And when the stimulation to advance materially fades out, there comes in a vacuum from lack of purpose and interest at a comparatively early age thus leading to drudgery in life.
Since career occupies the major portion of an adult life, satisfaction and interest in ones profession becomes a prime factor in determining the quality of life.
How can we then afford to make light of the process of career selection when in reality career means the way of living life?
We seek information and guidance before investing money in a property, a vehicle, luxury tour and even at times commodities while these are all temporary, perishable and certainly replaceable. Then how can we afford to make an uninformed decision on the most important aspect of our life? When we doubt all the here-say and so called ‘friendly’ suggestions and almost attempt a research to avoid being cheated in the deal of material goods, how can we make career decision for us and our loved ones on the basis of our age old convictions, friendly advice or the so called popularity trends?
It is high time that we understand that the major questions while selecting a career can not be about the “Best Course” or “best institute” for wherever we study, the period would come to an end in 5 to 7 years. Rather the deciding questions must be, “What is the type of work that I will enjoy engaging in all through my life, even when its glamour has worn off?” and “What is the way I would love to live my life?” An objective answer to these two questions would eventually lead to the suitable career option for us, the individuals.
Here it becomes a little difficult, for it is usually hard for an individual to make truly unbiased and objective observations on one self and on a loved one. And this is where the role of a trained counselor comes in. The counselor can help obtain an objective self analysis, answer all doubts, dispense off the popular myths and with the help of scientific Aptitude and Personality tests give you clear choices on what options would be good for you and which ones to avoid.
A counselor is trained to look at issues objectively; a counselor is non-judgmental and certainly unbiased. His training gives him the vision to see the broader picture. And this is the vision that can be gained after a scientific counseling session. Many a times there are other related issues with career planning like marriage plans for a girl child, community and social preferences, financial status, relationship and responsibility related factors and many more. A counselor can help put things in perspective and give the right direction to career planning.
There are many counselors available around us. What is important is to look at career as a way of living life and not just as a study course. The hesitations to approach a counselor will fade away and the answers will become clearer.