Passion, career, and the constant dilemma


Passion, career, and the constant dilemma

Higher education choices need not necessarily determine one’s career. The main point of education is to develop critical thinkingskills that can be used in any career.

In India, the concepts of “higher education” and “career planning” are often conflated. Parents think of higher education choices as determinants of a child’s career, expecting a clear and direct connection between what their child will study and what his or her career will be.

This logic has worked for those pursuing careers in medicine and law. Today, however, most higher education choices rarely result in a career directly related to a major. For example, not all Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) graduates work as engineers and not all economics students become economists. And even if you attended law school, there is no “rule” that you must work as a lawyer. The main point of education is to develop critical thinking skills that can be used in any career.

Moreover, it is important to understand that the employment landscape is changing swiftly. As conventional business models are upended, new jobs are emerging, and the pace of change is exponentially fast. Jobs are fluid, requiring multiple skills; a singular focus is no longer adequate for a career that spans 40-plus years. Since no one can say with certainty what the jobs of the future will look like, developing foundational skills is key to remaining employable. This means that, practically speaking, studying any subject in university can serve as a platform to access a range of careers.

Parents of Grade 8 students worry that their child “has no direction” or “doesn’t know what he/she wants to do”. It is perfectly normal for a 13-year-old to be unsure. They have barely been exposed to subjects such as physics, economics or calculus nor have they critically examined Shakespeare or UN policy toward refugees. The point is, up until Grade 8, they have acquired the building blocks to learn more, at a faster pace and across disciplines. It seems premature and slightly unfair to ask them what they want to do when they are just beginning to build knowledge and hone skills. At Grade 8, students lack the capacity to make career-related decisions, so parents need to guide them in making informed decisions, keeping as many options open as possible.

Ensuring children have a broad-based education across subjects that are “core” – mathematics, languages, science and history – puts them in good stead to pursue whatever they want in university and beyond.

While board exams can offer an indication of key strengths, they cannot decide someone’s “career.” Only the individual can do that.

Who says one career/job only?:

There are people who venture into many areas at a time – like owning a salon and investing in a bakery. Service The diverse successes and failures of these individuals inform their effectiveness when collaborating with others to develop innovative solutions.

When an individual has the opportunity to indulge a range of interests, their creativity and satisfaction soar. And that’s when their best work and efforts materialise.Kavita Mehta and Namita Mehta/IANS



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