Things To Keep In Mind While Making A Career Choice


By Achin Bhattacharyya, Co-founder, Notebook


A student’s choice in terms of career is normally governed by the following factors:


  • What she/he likes to do

  • What she/he is good at

  • Earning Potential

  • Social aspirations

  • Peer pressure

  • Family pressure – Unfulfilled ambitions of the earlier generation dumped on the succeeding generations

  • Opportunities/chances available


The problem is that it takes years (if not an entire lifetime) for many of us to finally realise what we are good at. The quality of this decision, just as any other, depends on the quality of inputs or exposure or events which shape the student’s thought process. So it is only fair to conclude that we should realistically allow ourselves a fair bit of time before we decide what we want to do for the next four to five decades of our lives. With today’s inflation, shrinking interest rates and diminishing social security, it will almost be a miracle to retire at sixty and spend the next couple of decades gardening or playing with grandchildren.


In our experience, while addressing the education sector, the entire student population is broadly divided into two groups; The first lot are students who are not only absolutely sure as to what they want to study, but also what they want to do for the rest of their working lives. Whilst I am happy at their decisive nature, in the same breath I would like to state that not all is lost for those who are not as sure about their choices as their more decisive peers.


The way I look at it, a career in today’s day and age is not only about being gainfully engaged, but also about being able to contribute effectively in one’s chosen field. A millennial values not only the monetary compensation of a job but also other epistemic factors like:


  • Satisfaction of being able to contribute positively to the society

  • Social esteem

  • Work life balance

  • Global exposure

  • Recognition in one’s chosen area of expertise

  • Opportunities to apply oneself and drive innovation

  • Freedom for creative thinking and application

  • Job security, employability, universal applicability of one’s skills and ability to move seamlessly across Industries and territories.


Success in one’s chosen profession is often a function of two different skill sets –



1. Trade Specific – Domain expertise


2. Personality traits – Leadership, soft skills, creative thinking, positivism, flexibility, mental fortitude, communication skills, being resourceful, analytical ability, multitasking, negotiation skills, etc.


Whilst the first set of skills are indispensable, beyond a certain point in one’s career (read: middle management) one needs to bank on the second set of skills to move higher. For some individuals, the soft skills are innate and comes naturally but everybody is not as fortunate and in many cases they need to be inculcatedconsciously.Thus, it is very important to go through the rigour of competitive education and develop these attributes.


If you are still confused about your career choice when you are leaving school, there is nothing to be demoralised.It is okay to not know for sure right now. It is, however, important to build on the basic tenets that will stand one in good stead regardless of one’s choice of career. Dropping out is a bad idea. Formal education offers far more than the syllabus. In a competitive result-oriented environment, one learns how to be curious, how to analyse, how to assimilate, how to focus and what to focus on. If you don’t know, it only means that you have not yet been exposed to that option that resonates with your inner calling. Join a course that offers quality education and exposure. Immerse yourself in a practice of exposure to different professions, careers, cultures and practices on a daily basis. Technology will assist this in a magnificent way. Also, consciously try to extract the traits mentioned above from the education system that you are a part of. Every conversation – with your teachers or your peers – is an opportunity to enrich yourself.


There are a lot of examples all around us of people who have taken their time to kick-start their careers, and have then surged ahead of their contemporaries. One thing common to all of these stories is that while they were waiting for that take-off moment, they have adequately equipped themselves with these essential skills.


“Follow your heart” or “follow your dreams” seems to be more in fashion as career advice at the moment, and it is great advice. However, it is extremely important to be adequate informed, prepared and tested before this decision is galvanized – an ability that comes with rigorous training of oneself.


In today’s age, there is little scope for mediocrity. In whatever you choose to do, you need to be the best. If you choose to be a barber or a chef or a stand-up comedian, you need to be the best engineer, barber, chef or stand-up in town. It would be far more rewarding and satisfying than being a mediocre doctor or lawyer. This is where competitive professional education offers not only a safety net but also the confidence and dignity that form the hallmark of success.


Related Article: How to Choose the Right Career Path

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