It could be a pursuit like dance or playing sports or games in the neighbourhood. So if a student says he likes gully cricket, what does he like about it? Is it coaching younger kids? Is it planning and formulating strategies for the game with another team? Or, just the physical aspect of playing? Answering these questions can provide some insights.
Some more questions to ask – Am I driven by the need to apply or the need to know? How do I prefer to express – is it through words or figures? What do I dream about? Fame? Power? Money? Affiliations? Work Satisfaction?
Basically, the student needs to discover a link between his aspirations, passions and motivations. Aptitude or skills can be developed once this link is established. For example, a particular career choice may require superior communication skills that the student is weak in. He can always work on it and improve.
Can the parent provide sufficient counselling for a career decision?
I think it is important for a third person (other than the student and the parents) to be involved in the process of choosing a career.
There are two reasons why the parent’s role can be limiting: One, parents havestrong vested interests and may unduly influence the child, despite their best intentions and two, children have stereotyped views of their parents and what the parent says is always taken through that filter!
The last word
Impress upon your child that the 21st century is the ‘Age of Multiple Careers’ – most people will maybe work at a job different from the one they originally obtained an education for. So it is not as if your child’s choice of career is cast in concrete.
Also, in the words of Jyoti Swaroop, a career guidance professional and a member of the ParentEdge Panel of Experts, “Many people today have two or more deep passions that they want to pursue – for example, technology and music. They find different ways to pursue these passions. For example, a day job as a programmer and playing with a rock band on weekends.” So do let your child remember this while making career choices – one passion does not need to be sacrificed at the altar of focus!
Jyoti also has some encouraging words, very apt to sign off this article with, “Aptitude is changeable – if one is rated low or average on interpersonal skills, it does not mean any career that needs this is out of the picture – one can always work at it. Also, remember, children may change as they age!”