Tough choices: Stereotype success or offbeat career choice?

The stereotypical notion of success, which is a secure job with a steady income has been preventing parents from encouraging their wards consider uncommon career options. While parents do not see the artistic lines of work like music, dance, arts and other offbeat subjects as viable career option; a vocation chosen by a youngster with little worldly experience, could become a liability for them in the future.

But should that mean one must prevent youngsters from doing what they want to do?

Karthik Teja, a 19-year old always knew that technicalities of audio, lighting and related digital fields were of his interest. He wished to pursue a career in audio engineering but his father and family suggested that he should pursue a mainstream engineering degree instead. “After passing my 10th exams I wanted to start off with a diploma in audio engineering, but I was suggested against it. They believed a profession in sound recording has little value in society.  They wanted me to pursue mainstream engineering,” said Karthik, who then had to choose Math, Physics and Chemistry subjects for his intermediate education but failed to clear all subjects. This he attributes to lack of interest. He continues, “Now my father has allowed me to take up audio engineering after I have cleared my backlogs.” 

Arjuna Prasad, a reporter and sub-editor with Deccan Chronicle echoed a similar experience. His admission to an engineering college proved to be a setback for his confidence. This was because numbers did not interest him and his classmates were all academically inclined. “Engineering studies did not groom us well. My personality blossomed when I got myself enrolled into mass communication. The practical and theoretical approach in the Mass Communication course, helped me widen my horizon.”

 Another journalist, PS Rohit, who is currently a Senior reporter with  The Hindu covering the civic and political beat, realised that reading or writing about science is very different from studying it. This made him change his profession from engineer to a journalist. “I was adept at math and biological sciences which led me to pursue Biomedical Engineering.  I soon found out that doing science is very different from reading or writing about it. I liked the latter more than the former,” said Rohit. He continues, “My attempt at writing while in final years of engineering led me to journalism, which was my preferred choice of study at the age of 18. A reason why I chose not to pursue it was my inadequate understanding of the profession. By the time I graduated, I had some of my writings published. I had discovered a skill which later helped me start a career.

Well known educationist Chukka Ramaiah opines, “Parental involvement is crucial in helping individuals make an informed career choice after high school. Consequently, parents themselves should seek exposure about the requirements and skills needed for various career options that their wards may seem interested in. This must also be conveyed to their wards who may not know what a particular profession entails. The predicament of parents when presented with a rather uncommon career choice is understandable, given that success is stereotyped typically linked to engineering/medicine/business administration.”

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