Why should you know your children’s career options?

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With the passage of time and all-round development that has been made in the world, the youth of today have come to enjoy increased career prospects and choices. However, their parents do not seem to have stayed abreast of new openings that are coming up. Consequently, much that they want to, they are ham-fisted, if not incapable, to give their children appropriate guidance and recommendations, leave aside the best. In our country, when a child finishes secondary school, that is equivalent to matriculation, it is often the time to select a stream for the senior secondary examination to be undertaken two years later. Whether it is science, arts or commerce, the selection ought to be based on individual ability and propensity as also interest. But if the choice is left totally to the child, it will not be presumptuous to infer that in view of his limited knowledge and discernment, the decision may not always be right. A child may feel that he should opt for the arts stream, but could be held back from doing so because of excellent performance in science subjects in the tenth class and which would facilitate getting admission into the science stream. Therefore, he will be plagued with a dilemma with regard to the usefulness of pursuing a science curriculum. The prospects of becoming a doctor or engineer or a professional in any related fields loom over him; and so he takes a decision. It is only after years roll by that one would be able to say whether it was a correct decision or not. However, the one thing for sure that took place was the fact that the decision was not based on veracious considerations.

A child’s career is a pursuit that would be required to be undertaken all through his life. While several people switch careers, the most appropriate move for a child is to identify personal inclinations ab initio.

This would obviate the possibility of career changes in subsequent years. And the only way for a child to be able to identify what he seeks to do is to be aware of various windows of opportunities existing for him.

Most children err in allowing their grades obtained in subjects to prompt selection of a stream. Rather than do that, they should, to start with, be generally identifying what they aspire to be. Having discerned that, the next step should be to find out what subjects they need to study that will facilitate getting a dream job. But if they follow the reverse procedure, that is, selecting subjects first and then deciding what they should become, they are for certain being influenced and shaped by conditions. A child could only have a rough idea of what he wants to be; evidently he lacks precise knowledge. To illustrate the point, a child may aspire to work for the search-engine giant Google, purely based on pleasurable feelings generated by such an idea. He may not be aware of the fact that Google has computer engineers, programmers and software designers in primary roles; and other specialists in fields like human resources, vendor management, public relations, graphic designing and even law. Therefore, if there is this zest to join a particular organization, but inability to decide on the specific stream of work, there is this inescapable requirement to have knowledge of various verticals. Such a knowledge will enable a child to visualize the enormity of choices available.

Taking help of a career guidance counselor will facilitate discernment of knowledge related to various choices and their scope. Parents could also talk over the issue with relatives and acquaintances, or for that matter anybody to brush up their own knowledge and have clarity of thought with regard to various options obtainable. Thereafter, the options could be discussed with the child. Making a child part of the discussions with others is also an excellent proposition.

The best method to present and explain various options available to a child is to first present details of subject streams that can be pursued and then zero in on various available options, outlining details of organizations that a child can work for. For example, if a child takes biology as a major, the option to become a doctor, dentist or veterinarian is always there. However, there are other allied fields like medico legal affairs that can be taken up after doing law. Likewise, one can specialize in various fields that are offshoots of biology like biotechnology, neuroscience, ecology, forestry and genetic science, to name a few. Making a child aware of the options available at the very beginning will help him in making the correct choice. Obviously this has immense advantages vis-a-vis a situation wherein choices are exercised based on limited knowledge and later on repent when a realization dawns that there are various other options that could have been considered.

Since parents are the single greatest influence on a child’s career selection, it is important for them to provide support and encouragement so that a child can explore many options available to find the best career fit. The discussion in this context should start as early as possible to preclude unwise decisions from being made.

Writer : Sema Rani