Approaching an independent counsellor
Some parents feel the need for a reliable, sincere and knowledgeable career counsellor. They feel out of touch with the education system they graduated from decades ago, and opine that they are not clued in completely to the scenarios of today and the numerous options available. While choosing a counsellor, please do your due diligence and do not settle for someone with hidden agendas that may include promoting specific countries or institutions as destinations!
What should parents do?
Help with information
Whatever be the chosen area of interest of your child, do find all the information that you can about it – what the future prospects are, colleges that offer that subject, the cutoff marks for entry and specialisations/niche areas within the field. S.V. Venkataraman, a banker based in Mumbai says, “There is a lot of information available on the internet, and a parent can do the information search more efficiently and thoroughly than the child.”
Parents should take an active role in arranging meetings with professionals from different spheres. “When my daughter was in Grade 10, I arranged for her to meet diverse people – copy writers and designers in an ad agency, engineers, architects and finance professionals in a manufacturing organisation, and so on. She could at least eliminate the kind of jobs that she did not like and short list ones that fascinated her,” recalls Harish Devarajan.
Don’t forget that your child is still growing up; her interests may keep fluctuating. Do try to be patient and understanding – after all, she is testing the waters in highly unchartered territory. Mukta Ajaykumar, creative designer based in New Delhi, says that in Grades Nine and 10, her daughter was interested in a diverse set of subjects – economics, commerce, medicine, corporate law, journalism and fashion designing. She finally zeroed in on psychology! Search for information diligently for all the fields your child expresses an interest in, so she is fully equipped to make a decision. Remember that it can be a meandering path – consider the case of Harish’s daughter who chose to study commerce and accounts in high school, statistics and computer science in her bachelor’s degree, and marketing in her master’s!
Let your child examine his own motivations, passions, interests, capabilities and skill sets. Be watchful of taking over the career search process yourself or imposing your own dreams/ opinions on your children.