Counselling helps in choosing right career

“I think my daughter has lost her mind. She is doing her computer engineering in the best of the colleges, and wants to take up teaching after that.”

“I am keen on setting up my own business with some innovative products. I am not sure what stream to take up. My parents, however, want me to take up science since my elder brother is a doctor.”

The above three examples and many more, are a potential brewing ground for C&C — ‘confusion and confrontation’ — in most houses when the child moves into the adolescent stage.

The word ‘counselling’ is a highly misused term. Every institute or a shop selling a part time course uses the word counselling, which is nothing but a term for marketing their product. Even second hand car dealers use the word counselling — ‘vehicle counselling!’

Booking a ticket

The much publicised process of CET counselling is equivalent to booking a train ticket to go on a long journey. In other words, there is no counselling involved here, in the true sense.

The choice of a career is one of the most challenging tasks for any child. The plethora of choices available today for anyone who is looking at a laundry list of possible careers makes it a daunting task to comprehend what is appropriate and what may not be. The problem is surely one of plenty.

Gone are the days when it was a choice between belonging to the accounting profession or to the engineering one or to the medicine category. Yes, some would also belong to the civil services or related ones. The rest, even if employed, ran the risk of being looked down upon.

The disconnect between ‘interest’ and the ‘aptitude’ can be seen, if we make the attempt to look for it. The disinterested software engineer working for an IT company, wanting to move out within 45 days of his initiation into the career is not an uncommon sight.

The reasons are not far to seek. Parental pressure, aspirations or sheer peer pressure. The de-motivated sigh elicited from a person when asked about his work may also point in the same direction, ie, doing something which he never had an interest in or did not have the right aptitude for.

Can such pitfalls be avoided? Can such risk of disengagement be minimised? The answer to this is yes, to a large extent. A professional career counsellor has a great role to play here. Such counselling, which can take the shape of personality test, comprehensive aptitude tests, interest evaluation, etc help the person to understand his strengths, appreciate and highlight his interests and shows the divergence, if any from his/her aptitude.

Yes, the cynic in us would surely turn around and say, did we or our parents go through career guidance and counselling? Are we not successful? It is like saying Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Henry Ford, Dhirubhai  Ambani, Sachin Tendulkar and many other successful personalities were either school or college dropouts or did not attend college, so why should we pursue higher education?

The parents of the girl were upset and wanted the counsellor to intervene and convince her to take up a job in a software company or do a MS in computer science.

The student was clear that she may go for higher studies but definitely wanted to be a professor. Yes, she too wanted the counsellor to convince the parents!

This is what happened in this case and the student agreed to get some job experience in a corporate and then pursue a role as a professor in an educational institution. Hence, it is imperative that we seek a professional career counsellor.

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