Learn How To Plan Your Career: Setting Up Goals

Learn How To Plan Your Career: Setting Up Goals

Choosing the right profession and making a career plan is something that troubles a lot of young people and most often either they are disoriented, confused or simply indecisive.

I wish to first discuss the reasons why it becomes sometimes difficult for the young to choose the right career, more so in the case of youngsters who choose fields other than medicine or engineering, where it is more or less pre-determined. Thus, the first part of the blog is going to talk about various factors that affect or rather influence youngsters’ decisions as a career choice, followed by what, in my humble opinion should the process be:

The factors that affect career choices:

  • Parents’ expectations: The most prominent factor that influences a youngster’s decision on the career is that the expectations that parents have from them. More so or rather particularly in our country.

A lot of young people struggle to find a balance between what their parents expect from them and what their personal preferences are.

However, if a youngster is somewhat sure about the career choice, which incidentally doesn’t match with their parents’ then a difficult situation arises, where the youngsters struggle to convince their parents about their preferences. Here, I have a few valuable suggestions which one can use to convince one’s parents, that I would mention in the second part of the blog.

There are though, two sides to this particular phenomenon, the positive is that, if one is not fully sure the line one has to follow then the insights and experience of parents can give them a direction and very often, we see people quite successfully in their career, which their parents choose for them. There is actually no harm in going by influencers such as your parents, teachers, or any other well-wishers’ advice in choosing a career.

  • Choices made by friends and classmates: Another highly influencing factor is what the friends and classmates are deciding. So, often young people choose what their friends have chosen without considering their own likings, personality types or their aptitude in general.
  • Glamour in Career: So very often, young people look at some professions as their career choice purely on the basis of the glamour that is associated with them, but the only flaw that I see in this approach is that their role models most often, are those who have struggled through their career in the initial years or either have a strong background, in either case, the struggle is not evident which can give them a false perception.
  • My choice sounds nice: Another very common reason why some young people choose to follow a career which is, extremely difficult to get in, is how it sounds to people when they tell them about it. I would here, especially want to make a mention of those students who, without having truthfully assessed their capabilities, choose to appear in UPSC exams, become officers in the Armed Forces, or join the banks as probationary officers.

This one reason is most harmful to them which not only makes them frustrated but also takes away valuable time which could have been utilized to pursue something more realistic.

  • Drifting without any plan: Another common method, if one can call it so, is a method where a youngster just keeps drifting and does whatever causes ahead. Such as after the 12th, students do graduation follow up with post-graduation or MBA, etc, and keep trying their luck with whatever courses ahead by appearing in all sorts of exams and applying to all types of jobs. Surely, not a preferred method to follow.

Now after having gone through various modes that the young people, so very often follow around me to make a career choice, I would like to give a step-by-step plan to make a more informed career choice with fewer chances of failing and which, if followed in the right earnest, give more satisfactory results.

  • What subject interests you: The first and foremost point to consider is the subject that interests you or to make it simple, the subject that you enjoy studying the most as compared to the others. Parents, a generation back, did not have many choices and had to choose among some obvious professions such as engineering, medicine, law, Government jobs, or private jobs. Fortunately, today we are spoilt for choices and have so many options that it doesn’t matter what subject you choose or the profession to follow, you would have enough opportunities to make a promising career, not to forget the plethora of opportunities the internet and social networking platforms provide.
  • Try different things/ subject before making a final decision: If so often happens that you may feel a subject boring and difficult purely because your concepts aren’t clear, however, often taking a little help and working a little longer can make the subject look way simpler and interesting than you thought at first. I happen to know, a student who didn’t like Physics and found it more difficult than Chemistry or Maths, however, on my insistence, he worked a little harder, got his concepts clear and now he finds Physics an easiest and most interesting subject to that extent that he wishes to pursue his career in that field.
  • Do thorough research on career opportunities: The Internet today provides so many professional platforms such as LinkedIn, job sites such as Monster.com, LinkedIn, or Naukri.com, that can help you find growth opportunities in that particular field. You should check for long term career growth opportunities, rather than just getting a job. So after, a career that sounds promising in the beginning, doesn’t have enough growth opportunities in the future.
  • Don’t consider glamour associated with the job while making a career choice: Glamour associated with jobs is one factor that influences a young person like you in making an uninformed and impractical choice. Choose any profession, however non-glamorous or humble it may look in the beginning, work harder by learning and improving and when the success comes, any profession will look glamorous. A name worth mentioning is Mr. Jawed Habib, a barber who became a brand later.
  • Don’t set very high goals, start small reach big: It is not always necessary that you set goals, which are too high and are almost impossible to achieve, keeping your current level of preparedness. You can always start small and gradually rise to the desired position. Every organization, be it private or government, provides opportunities to grow within, for example, you can join the Army as a soldier and then can become an officer through internal exams, so is the case with banks where one can join as a clerk and through exams/ performance become a manager/officer.
  • Listen to your parents and teachers: Contrary to the first point where I had said that you should follow your own choice, sometimes, when we are not sure about the subjects we like or should prefer, the career growth is not clear to us or we are just simply confused, we should take our parents and/or teachers’ advice, who, with their experience and exposures to the world can give some valuable suggestions that can help you make a decision.
  • Once chosen, stop all distractions: Though it is difficult to choose a profession or a line of study, once you have made the choice, stick to it. Changing frequently doesn’t bear any fruit, whereas it surely wastes valuable time.

Trust me, at the cost of repetition, I am saying that any choice is good, so far you have the attitude of learning and upgrading yourself. Success will make any profession glamorous; you just need to remain committed and focused.

  • The price you are willing to pay:  Finally, the most important aspect that you should give a serious thought to, is the price that you have to pay to achieve that goal. Now, by price, I don’t mean money, but those things that are personal and pleasure-driven such as habits, comforts, and convenience, etc.

Always remember that nothing comes free in the world, the higher the goals, the higher is the price in terms of your time, comfort, and convenience that you have to pay. You may have to leave your habit of getting up late, watching movies/web series on the net or meeting up with friends and enjoying, chatting and browsing on the net or mobile, etc.

Follow these 8 steps to make an informed career choice which is completely personal and is not influenced by factors that are not important.

After having made a choice, do a personal SWOT Analysis to see where you can stand, what your strengths and weaknesses are and what qualities, traits and skill sets that you have or don’t, which can help you reach your career goals or set you back.

Thus, ask yourself each time you set a goal, for you need to pay the price corresponding to that, and only if you are willing and committed, move ahead, your success won’t be far. 

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