You will surely agree that nothing can be as important in one’s life as the decisions around one’s avocation or career apart from those concerning an individual’s wellbeing and health. Everything else is largely an offshoot of these two decisions. The entire afterlife of an individual depends heavily on them. Will one lead a successful and a prosperous life, what facilities and luxuries will one enjoy in his or her lifetime, all depends on the career choices one makes and the kind of subjects and the stream one chooses? Further, it is the skills and interest that play a vital role as these are the parameters that decide what trajectory does one’s career takes and how much success does one reap. Let’s not forget the purpose of education which is to sharpen skills and develop abilities, in line with one’s interest that will enhance one’s knowledge and hence the employability of an individual. Securing a covetous job is contingent upon the knowledge, skills and capabilities of an individual and also to a great extent upon the demand of those skills in the market place.
Each available option takes one through a different career path and also leads to a successful and a glorious future. There are tremendous career prospects in each stream, just that some are more in demand than others. For example, a student might choose to pursue NDA or a bachelor’s degree (such as B Com, BSc, and BA) in a university or CA or Hotel Management or BBA. You may not say that NDA is in any way inferior to a BBA or a CA or for that matter a CA is superior to Hotel Management. There is absolutely no doubt that each of these courses would lead an individual to success in that specific field. The only thing worthy of consideration is whether the chosen field is the most ideal and suitable to a particular individual which is determined by one’s interest and aptitude for that specific course of study. If one chooses a path away from one’s interest and aptitude, he or he will rarely find success and satisfaction in his or her entire life. What we should realise is that everyone has different skills and abilities and hence he or she can excel in one or a few fields, not all. The sooner we realise this fact the better it is for us. Let me narrate a story of a friend of mine who had great interest in science but due to family pressure chose commerce stream for obvious reasons. No on in his family had ever chosen science since they had a flourishing business of their own. The student’s parents could never imagine their son taking up an employment somewhere else and serve in junior capacities. He continued to underperform in all the subjects while in class 11 and near the end of the session, the school teachers convinced his parents that their child should take up science stream if they wanted to see him successfully complete his class 12 assessment. Consequently, he was readmitted to class 11 in science stream. This was years ago and now this person is a successful engineer working with an engineering MNC. Recently, he has been transferred to US to head their North America operations. If he remained stuck in the commerce stream, he would have been a laggard and an unsuccessful person throughout his life.
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Even when one has rightly and appropriately chosen a stream of study and the subjects, one should still be on a constant lookout for options that lie ahead and only later should one take the best call. I would like to share another incident of a friend of mine I studied with at the undergraduate level. This one incident changed his life forever. Upon graduating, he had secured a job in the campus recruitment with an air conditioning and refrigeration major and continued to work there for good many years. In the late 1990s when technology had just started to raise its head and presence felt in a formidable way and the year 2000 bug had caught everyone’s fancy, he too jumped onto the band wagon, surrendering his plush position of 6 years. If he didn’t, still his entire future would have been perfectly secured. Nevertheless, he still took the plunge. How awfully difficult it would have been for him to give up a comfortable job in favour of an unknown and unseen future that lay ahead of him. Understandably, he did not possess the skills and qualifications for the jobs in high demand in the developed markets, the US and the Europe. He enrolled himself for an MBA in IT with specialisation in a few computer languages. He spent all his meagre savings on securing an MBA degree and providing finances for the household while he was on a two-year long study sabbatical. Moreover, his wife was pregnant with their first child and it was not an easy decision to take. I am sure there must have been heated arguments at his home about why was he so adamant and determined to give up what he had come to possess. Over the course of two years he laboured much and acquired highly coveted skills as well as a formal degree. Most others, including me, did not consider such an option or a move to another unrelated field and hence continued to reap only limited success. Today, this friend of mine is employed with a technology major in the US for approximately 20 years and has done great for himself and his family. What he is today is the result of an option he exercised way back in time, the study course he chose and the timely decision he took to move to the US.
Finding a job and staying relevant even years later is another important consideration. For if, this was not the case, an employee might have been shunted out long back. Haven’t you heard of organisations laying off thousands of employees to cut extra expenditure and boost profits. Single minded pursuit of higher profits makes organisations ruthless and insensitive. You secured a particular job basis the previous or historical experience and qualifications you possessed at the time of your recruitment. Would you continue to remain employed and promoted to higher positions depends on how you have reinvented yourself over time and remained relevant and indispensable in the newer roles in the organisation. What is it that makes an employee indispensable to an organisation is his ability to learn and adapt to ever changing and dynamic macro environmental conditions? Of course, the employee should possess some rare and specific skills that could not be replicated easily. Even if these skills are generic and available in plenty, still one can make himself or herself indispensable with one’s quick learning ability, adaptability, the ‘happy-to-help’ attitude, a worthy team player and his innate ability to think out-of-the-box.
One is required to make critical choices day in and day out no matter what role you are in. Each role comes with its set of complexities and domain knowledge. To remain competitive and profitable requires critical decisions to be taken at lightning fast speeds. Each decision that you take has a direct bearing upon what will happen to you tomorrow. Is it not true that the position you occupy today is the result of what you did in the past? In similar manner, the choices you make in the present will definitely have great bearing upon where you will land up in future.