Choosing the right career
Freshers, job seekers and sometimes, even professionals find themselves in a fix when choosing the right career. Like all others, I too faced the same issue at the start of my career path. Being part of a management team, while serving at one of the largest training houses and e-recruitment sites in the country, I always tried to explore the factual way and time to choose one's right career. Finally, after a decade, I ended up with an elucidation.
In most cases, after completing bachelor's or honours, freshers tend to start their professional life. After graduation, most freshers day dream of working for an esteemed brand and later on, get settled in life. In reality, things are bit more complicated.
If a fresher is blessed with good reference, it becomes easier to ensure an entry level job. Freshers and job seekers who are unlucky in this regard, often struggle to ensure an entry level job. University brands, grading, and degrees have very little impact on ensuring an entry level job. Therefore, competition begins right at the start of a career. As a result, much by force and not by choice, a fresher has to choose a job they never planned for.
In most cases, they have to continue said job till they find any better opportunity. Here, opportunity does not necessarily indicate their desired career, but rather it means more zeros in remuneration.
Factors like lack of recognition at work, working more than the actual work hour, and working at a forcefully accepted job result in demotivation. Later on, after working for three to five years, most professionals get the feeling that they might not be on correct career track.
Gradually, productivity decreases and professionals start to work only to save their jobs. A few of these demotivated professionals leave their job and return to their home districts, while the rest tries to start their own businesses.
So, what is the right career to choose becomes the burning question which needs to be answered. According to my modest experience and limited knowledge, I found that the right question should be what is the right time to choose a career instead of what is the right career?
Being a business graduate, I belong to a mass population who have to choose between two options; either job or business. Almost one third of the fresh graduates are from wealthy families. This group of graduates, who are financially sound, chose their career from two broad classes. Either they look after their family business or they just start a new business. Rest two third of the graduates belong to mid or lower income class families.
A major portion of such group is not blessed with such certainty. As a result, straightway, they are forced to be a supporting hand for their family.
Getting a job becomes their main concern rather than a career-oriented job. Like all other uncertain graduates, I also found it difficult to choose a proper career path while already employed. So how do we avoid this?
After going through some observations and career analysis of a few individual things, three key motivational factors work for an individual choosing his or her right career path. Choosing a desired career largely depends on these three motivational factors i.e., national education policy, guardians or parents, and home tutor or school teachers.
This group of factors plays the most vital role in shaping one's right career and life. With existing national education policy, at ninth standard, students have to choose their group from three broad options; science, arts or business studies (commerce). Once they have chosen a track, it is then almost impossible to change back.
In most cases, students with science backgrounds have options to change their track after SSC/O' Level or at HSC/A' Level. But once they have chosen Business Studies or Arts, they hardly have any options left.
Students who are scared of mathematics and critical calculation, blindly chose business studies over science, thinking more about a passing grade than thinking about their future career choice. Students with business backgrounds mostly end up with Bachelors in Business degree. As a result, number of students in bachelors in business studies increased by a tremendous amount.
The main vision of a BBA certification is to create business graduates, hoping to turn them into an entrepreneur, but the ugly truth is that a major portion of these graduates have almost no expertise or core competencies. With these demanding BBA and MBA degree, students still struggle to ensure a sound career path.
As a result, fancy degrees result in burden and students choose jobs just to ensure their living standard. On the other hand, students with science background have a number of good options, like doing a job or business or sometimes both, side by side. Major portion of doctors, architects, engineers and scientists are involved in such dual careers i.e., job and business. As a result, science students have more options to choose from their career path, whereas business students can either go for BBA or ACCA, which is a very narrow window to choose from. Arts students, in a majority of cases, end up with a teaching career or a lawyer.
With the existing national education policy, the country is producing graduates who are the most valuable resources but without any unique abilities. This will put an adverse impact on economic development of the country, ultimately resulting in a downward sloping economic growth.
Updating national education policy by merging three groups — science, arts and commerce — into one general group, like foundation courses, can open up opportunities to choose a desired career path for students. It is better to be involved in a desired career path as early as possible, maybe from the age of 15 or 17. It might sound insane to choose a career at 15, as students hardly know anything about a career at that age. But it is smarter to decide this while still in college, where there is still adequate time and energy to make any changes should they be needed.
So, one critical question arises; what can be done to motivate these college students to think about their future careers? In this case, the answer is pretty simple. Either parents or teachers, or elder brother and sisters are the key mentoring personnel.
Instead of forcing them to choose a career their parents dreamed of, they should only guide their kids, let them know what is good or bad, what can be done to solve obstacles and let their kids choose their own path, and only then can we stop this current problem at the source.
Photo: LS Archive/ Sazzad Ibne Sayed