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L.Srikumar Pai
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Right Career Choice is The Key

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Making a career choice is one of the most difficult and the most important decisions we will ever make in our lives.

BY SRUTI SAGARAM : WHEN Robert Frost in his famous poem `The Road Not Taken' said, "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both", he was probably referring to how difficult it was to make a choice; career or otherwise. Well, he was lucky, he had just two roads to choose between; today the roads that lie before us are numerous, it is up to us to choose the right one.

Making a career choice is one of the most difficult and the most important decisions we will ever make in our lives. It has to be made with much thought and deliberation. Moreover, career choices cannot be made based on just a few criteria alone. Your job may carry great monetary benefits and perks, but if you do not enjoy what you do then you are foolishly expending a large part of your life. At the same time, remember that money is also important for you need it to survive. So, if a job is all satisfaction but no pay, things can get difficult.

Before you go about choosing a perfect career, you need to know yourself first. Most of us never spare a moment to know what actually our likes and dislikes are. The first thing you need to determine is what your interests are. Consider your personal likes and dislikes. Do you prefer to work alone or in a group? Would you want fixed office hours or would you like to work from home?

Ask yourself where you want to be in ten years. Does a particular job fulfil this developmental need? Does it provide enough challenges for you to move ahead on your career path? Think about your hobbies. Most of us have hobbies that we wish we could spend more time at. Maybe you can do so by turning it into a career. Ask yourself about the environment you want to work in. Do you want to be your own boss? Or would you rather follow the leader? Do you want to work in a fast- paced world, or would you rather do something that moves slowly? Accept your own realities. Know your capabilities. You may think that working in a bank may sound great but if you hate maths and can't adjust to long working hours then it is certainly not the choice for you.

Such questions will definitely help you eliminate the poor matches and assist you focus on the possibilities.

Sometimes all this self -analysis leads to nowhere. We end up more confused than we were at the beginning. Then, the best way to deal with the dilemma is to think about consulting a career counsellor.

A career development professional will use various tools to help you evaluate your interests, personality, skills and values. He or she will then show you how all these things, combined, play a role in choosing a career.

One of the many things you can do to see if a particular career would suit you is to volunteer or take up an internship. Sometimes things don't always appear what they seem.

You can also learn about a career by interviewing people who are already in that profession. Learn to ask as many questions as it takes to clear your doubts about the profession. Be sure to take in their opinion about the job and its requirements.

Once you have all the information you need, list out all the pros and cons of that particular job. Look at the various alternatives. Check to see if the job gives you what you want from a career. See if it fulfils both your short term and long- term goals. The other thing you can do to find a great career would be to explore the area you would like to work in. Find out what you are good at within a particular industry. For example, if you take journalism, you may not be so great at the actual writing part but maybe a great editor.

It's necessary to know what you are good at. Most of us have vague ideas; by putting these ideas into action we can find out the truth.

Passion is the key word in selecting a career. Don't select something because it is the latest in the job market. Let not your career selection be based on your whims and fancies.

As Howard Roark, the hero of Ayn Rand's novel The Fountainhead, says, "I have, let's say, sixty years to live. Most of that time will be spent working... if I find no joy in it, then I'm only condemning myself to sixty years of torture." So, be sure of the path you are planning to tread on.

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