Career Counseling: Some Myths and Its Importance in India

A recent survey by Mindler among 10,000 Indian students revealed that 93% of them were aware of just seven career paths, while there are more than 250 career options available across 40 domains that can be pursued in India.

Kota city, the coaching hub of India, has also recently turned into the suicide capital with more than 60 students committing suicide till now and the rates are increasing with time. These young students forced to crack the competitive exams dealt with a high level of depression and found suicide to be an easier alternative than clearing these exams.

We live in a country where career decisions, as well as major life decisions in a regular person’s life, are mostly influenced by Parents’ wish, Society thrust and peer pressure. When it comes to making a career choice, local experts like relatives and friends provide advice like “Do engineering, it has huge scope and money“, while parents trigger their emotional gun by saying “We always wanted a doctor in the family“. In between all these, very few students are asked about what they really want to do and are left with enough stress to choose careers from the obvious ones. While some are forced down the road of their parental dreams, some decide to choose a certain career just because their elder sibling or a relative is successfully doing it. These students often don’t even know about certain career options that are accessible.

And talk about the force competitions that are constantly happening at each level, from scoring the best in boards to cracking IITJEE or UPSC. Of course, parents want a secure future for their kids. However, the question is, does only a higher degree or a government job ensures a good future.! The competition for a hefty package is unbelievable. Just because a neighbor’s son is earning 16 lakhs per anum doesn’t mean your son needs to earn that much too. Has anyone ever asked that neighbor’s son whether he is happy with his career or life!!

The moment someone pops the word career counseling, typical Indian parents react with an epic answer saying– “No thanks, our child already knows what he wants to become, and he is working hard towards it.

Well, does he really?

Here are some misconceptions people hold about career counseling:

  • People often assume Career Counseling to be limited to aptitude tests and is only for unconventional careers:

Career counseling includes a scientific process of psychometric testing followed by sessions for discussing the student’s skills, aspirations and aims. A professional career counselor cannot right away point out the exact career for you to take up but can suggest the career fields which match the psychometric testing and aspirations of the students.

  • Another common fallacy is that counseling centers are like coaching centers that focus on students getting placed:

Career counseling helps students to realize their true potential and choose the right career accordingly. It also guides students about the scope in that career and what kind of jobs are available. However, career counselors are not related to recruitment agencies.

  • People often believe that only school students need career counseling:

Be it a student, a graduate or a professional, career guidance can help any individual to discover his own strengths and weaknesses. Some professionals use career counseling to understand what kind of skills can get them promoted while others need it to change their careers. For graduates, career counseling helps in mapping an ideal career and guides them towards pursuing it with their current education levels.

  • Choosing a career only from the “hot” or “best” career options:

Many students (as well as parents) while selecting a career end up thinking they should be making one in the “hottest” or “best” fields in the industry without considering whether their educational credentials and expertise match with the requirements of that field. Many take up a course, which they believe will eventually get them employed in the right industry as per growing market trends. According to them, for making a living one must look for a decent job, not follow their passion or hobby. After all, a hobby is a hobby and a job is a job.

  • In the end, it’s all about money. Is it though? Maybe, money is not all that matters:

How often have you come across stories of people quitting their 6-figure big-brand jobs to find their own passion or join a startup? One of the reasons being their late realization of the fact that this is not what they love to do. The job which does not match your passion or interests can turn you into a frustrated human who is just repeating the same thing every day. Even though you get paid a lot, at the end its mental peace and personal growth that matters.

So why is career counseling important in India?

On average, young students in India are wasting 2-3 years of their educational life in the wrong direction as they don’t have access to proper career guidance. A huge number of students pass out from schools and colleges every year, and there are many new career options and job roles being added to various industries as well. However, the youth do not have the kind of skills needed in these new industries. Hence, the rate of unemployment increases.

Moreover, career counseling is not just about guiding the students but also the parents who are totally unaware of the plethora of fields that are available nowadays. They need awareness more than students. Since not every parent is as understanding as Farhan’s Father from 3 Idiots who happily accepts the fact that his son is not meant for engineering but for wildlife photography!

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