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Careers and Concerns

Many approaches and one career

Dr. Raj

“While a job has so much of significance in our career and life, it is sometimes perplexing to see how people make career choices.”

Everyone needs a job. Joblessness is unimaginable in our lives. Why do we need a job so badly? It could be due to the dire need to survive or to gain a social status to seek self-satisfaction. Those who are familiar with Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can understand the human motivation and how it keeps a person aspiring different things at different levels. When a person is jobless, he or she is desperate to get some job to make a living. However, it will be interesting to watch the same person getting dissatisfied after sometime in the same job ­ despite making perhaps more money. That is because the nature of the need has changed from mere living to something else. Such is the un-saturating urge of the human being to search for something more than what one has. And job seems to be the vehicle to fulfill various needs and varying needs!

While a job has so much of significance in our career and life, it is sometimes perplexing to see how people make career choices. Let me narrate the story of Ravindra, a person that I met recently.

Ravindra completed an MCA (Master of Computer Applications) with no idea as to where it would land him in his career. It has been four years since he did that and to date, he is yet to get any break in career. With every passing year, his confidence is getting affected seriously.

I asked him as to why he chose MCA and if had a liking to computer programming.

 He replied, “People told me that MCA will get me a job“.

My inquiry followed: “Then why are you still looking for your first job after four years? “

“I did some data entry job earlier, but didn’t like it. So I quit and joined another course“

“What was that?“

“Railway recruitment exam course, and other government jobs“

“Why did you change your track?“

“I thought a government job would be secure; but I could not crack it“

“So, urgently you need a job! Then why don’t you widen your choice to include any job beyond computers?“

“Since I did an MCA, it will be nice if I can have a computer job“

I understood how he was trapped in too many contradictions and made his career a complex affair.

See below the different approaches that people use to choose an employment. As you go through, you can see which approach Ravindra had adopted. Also, you may find an approach that you followed or likely to follow. You may then think of the pros and cons of your approach.

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Educational Approach: In this approach, people often follow a rule ­ “Because I did this course, I need to join such job“. They do not question if the course that they did is indeed the right one for their career.

Enthusiasm Approach: Here, it is the energy and passion of the person that drives the career choice. If one can choose an employment that fulfills their passion, then it surely is a blessing. It may not be the most rewarding monetarily, yet can give you immense satisfaction.

External environment Approach: At different times different industries become fashionable, offering employment opportunities. They may not last forever, but they create a buzz for a few years. Many tend to follow this buzz and make career choices. They may lose shine once the industry goes out of fashion.

Envy Approach: Some people choose jobs with an idea of proving a point to someone. It might be a parent who challenged, it might be a friend who insulted or it might be someone who grew faster than you. They inspire career choices. Will the grit last longer? What happens once the envy wanes away?

Emulation Approach: When you adore somebody and want to be like him or her, you may take up a job or profession that is similar to that of your hero or role model. The important question to consider here is “Will it fit your competence?“

Employment is for a living; but career is for fulfillment. 

When you make a career choice, think of the long term! After all, switching careers is extremely challenging in our environment!

This article was published in: 

HR Mirror

Hans India