10 myths about career planning BUSTED!
From procrastinating to submitting oneself to inadequate information, Suchitra Surve, Director, Growth Centre identifies the 10 common myths about choosing a career and tells you why it will affect you in the long run. Illustrations by Uttam Ghosh
Keep in mind that the road to career happiness is usually full of bumps, curves and tangents rather than a straight, direct path from point A to point B.
While peer pressure and post-study placements could be major influences affecting your decision at 16, there are those who end up regretting their decisions even when they are 30.
So, what are the mistakes young people make while deciding their careers? Where exactly are they going wrong?What can you do to avoid getting into a situation like that?
Read on to dispel some common career myths
Myth 1: Arts/humanities majors usually are unemployable after college
Fact: Skills matter in every stream
Humanities majors usually provide training in basic areas called transferable skills such as interpersonal communication, writing, research, and critical thinking.
Transferable skills indicate those skills that are learned in one area can be readily utilized in a wide range of other areas. These skills that one learns are sought after by many employers.
Arts majors are employed in a wide range of careers.
Although humanities graduates sometimes take more time finding a "niche" in the working world, it's usually because they don't know what they can or want to do or they are not aware of the options available to them.
So, do not assume that a certain stream will open up your opportunities for the future.
Myth 2: Selecting what's 'hot' at the moment is safe
Fact: What's hot today may not necessarily be 10/20 years later
Selecting a major or pursuing a career just because it's hot can be dangerous.
There are two things you must understand before opting for this approach.
First, what is 'hot' today may cool down, or disappear completely, in the near future.
Secondly, such a choice fails to take into account the interests and abilities of the student, or the kind of environment in which they are most likely to succeed.
But career satisfaction involves far more than simply being able to do a particular job -- it requires interest, commitment and passion.
These are far better indicators for career choice than any fad of the moment. New career fields and jobs emerge every year as a result of changes in public policy, technology, and economic trends.
Therefore, you are on much firmer ground when you select a career goal that genuinely interests you.
Myth 3: Career assessments / counsellors will not be of any use for me
Fact: You must know what your aptitude is before choosing a career
Psychometric Assessments (Aptitude Test) can provide additional information that may be helpful as a part of the career planning process.
Assessments would provide a clear idea as to ones aptitude, strengths and weakness and their mental capabilities, which aids in selecting a career, but with thorough brainstorming with the career counsellor, who can chalk out various career options based on the match between the student profile and the career.
Of course, it's upto you whether you want to pursue what the counsellor advises you to, but do not skip this step.
Myth 4: If X is happy in a particular field, I will be happy too
Fact: You are not X
Everyone is different and what works for one person won't necessarily work for another, even if that other person is someone with whom you have a lot in common.
If someone you know has a career that interests you try and get more details about the career in terms of the job description, the skills required and market demand of the career.
Then match the description with your traits and then make a choice. Be aware that what you like may not necessarily be a good fit for you.
Myth 5: If I wait long enough, luck will eventually bring me to the right career
Fact: Procrastination is no substitute for laziness
It is unlikely that you will just "bump into" the occupation that will perfectly match your skills and interests.
The more information you gather about yourself and the occupations you are considering, the more likely it is you will make a wise career decision.
It is true that some things beyond your control will influence your life, but you must take an active role to determine your own fate.
Look around you -- those people who are unhappy in their careers most likely just "fell into" something without careful planning.
Do you want the same thing to happen to your career graph? So think wisely and plan the process.
Myth 6: Making a lot of money will make me happy
Fact: The ingredients of fulfilling career also includes passion and commitment to growth
While salary is important, it isn't the only factor you should look at when choosing a career.
Countless surveys have shown that money doesn't necessarily lead to job satisfaction.
For many people enjoying what they do at work is much more important.
Myth 7: Once I choose a career I'll be stuck in it forever
Fact: You are never too old to switch careers
Not true. If you are unsatisfied in your career for any reason, you can always change.
Discussing your interests with knowledgeable people who could guide you towards another career could land you in a satisfying job profile.
Remember just being in a job without a lack of interests would hamper your performance. So it would be better if you make a wise choice later.
Many people do change careers several times over the course of their lifetimes.
Myth 8: If I change careers my skills will be wasted
Fact: Being multi-skilled allows you to learn and adapt accordingly
It is true that certain jobs require some specialised skill set.
But note that mostly jobs require a common type of skills which most of the individuals possess.
Your skills are yours to keep. You may not use them in the exactly same way, but they won't be wasted.
Myth 9: I will decide after the results are out
Fact: Impulsive decisions lack planning and direction
Though one can keep options, but having a sound academic background always proves beneficial while making a career.
The two years of Junior college (class 11 and 12) are vey essential as they form a base for a particular career.
One cannot ignore the knowledge gained whilst studying.
Deciding after graduation sometimes leads to impulsive decisions as, the earlier educational qualification may not be applicable to the area of work that you plan to pursue in later life.
Planning in advance prepares you better to deal with the If-and-Or situations better.
Myth 10: I love this hobby, but I don't think I can make money out of it
Fact: If you love what you do, you will not feel like you are working
An oft repeated line, it explains why part-time hobbies like cooking, photography and design that were once pursued during weekends are now being pursued as full time careers.
And most of these hobby-turned vocations pay really well if pursued professionally.
If your hobby becomes a career, then there's nothing stopping you from being satisfied in your job and life.
So, go ahead and make a wise choice!