What You Wish You Knew Before Choosing Your Career: Episode 3
In the third episode of our video series, we talk to professionals who sought career counselling from professional counsellors to make better decisions in choosing their careers. Years down the career lane, here’s their retrospective take on counselling.
Deciding on a career for yourself, as paramount as it is, could be a disconcerting process. There are times when you can hear different voices in your head telling you what you should do, except your own. You wish you knew yourself better. And then you wish someone could just come and tell you who you are and what you, as an individual and not as a son or a brother, would want to do in your life, career wise. At times like that, you look around and find some consolation in professional counsellors in human form, sitting and waiting around to show you the right path.
Since they are professionals and probably unrelated to you, you expect them to be unbiased and skilful at analyzing and weighing different aspects of your personality, skills, aptitude, interests and motivations to come up with career suggestions for you. But what actually happens could shame some of the biggest scams away. On the basis of scale, broadly there are three types of career counselling you will come across:
- Counselling Workshop/Camp Sessions: These workshops are generally organized by schools for their students and more than a hundred students are counselled by a single career counsellor in one session. If that was not enough, the counsellors call out names of a few streams over the microphone and ask you to raise your hands if you are interested in them. Most of the students pick one of these streams owing to reasons like parental pressure or going with the majority because either they are still undecided or they don’t want to be outcasted. The students are right to do so, too. Because, you’ll be lucky if you don’t get a sarcastic remark from the counsellor if you let your unconventional aspirations spelled out loud. Cutting the long story short, they will only tell you about the most conventional of the career choices and paths known to mankind.
- Independent Counselling Sessions: As soon as you start thanking your stars for finding somebody who pays personal attention to you, you’ll realize that your fortune ends right there. The process starts with you being given a small questionnaire following which, your counsellor discusses your options with you. Most of the times, these questions are not thorough enough to determine the aptitude and attitude of an individual and hence, do not have a firm foundation to start with. Even on shaky grounds, they only come up with a handful of options, again, all conventional and pretty straight forward. If they happen to tell you something about your personality, it could be something as general as “You are good at communicating with others”. Go figure.
- Counselling Organization Services: These are offered by the big players of the industry who are looked up to by the society. They have a standard mechanism set for their clients which is quite complex and looks convincing, considering the gravitas of the situation. The first drill is to answer a huge questionnaire comprising of field-specific questions from myriads of fields ranging from journalism to architecture to fashion and what not. Impressive as it seems, sometimes the questions are so specific to the fields that a student would not be able to comprehend what exactly is being asked from him. A test I recently took listed out many subjects that I had to express my likability about and I had no idea what most of the subjects comprised of! Similarly, they also listed out various occupations I didn’t know of, leave alone expressing my opinion on them. What follows is a fancy looking report on the basis of the occupations, subjects and activities you showed interest in.
To sum it up, most of the career counsellors will only tell you what you already know about yourself even when you find yourself as clueless as Alice in the Wonderland. That is how helpful they could be. You might or might not realize it at the time of counselling but it is safer to not leave it for the future to unfold. Because it is not something you can undo.
Did you take any career counselling before starting your career journey? How did it help you? Comment and share with us.