Last week, I underscored the importance of establishing functional guidance and counseling departments in schools. One of the core functions of the departments that I pointed out was to guide students on career choice.
I have in the recent past noted with grave concern how lack of clear guidance on career choice has cast silhouettes on the career paths of many people. Many people in seemingly lucrative jobs would advice others not to join their professions. What an irony!
Proper guidance on career choice is very pivotal in helping to stem some monumental perplexities in the job market.
Whereas other people engage in indiscriminate hustle and bustle in quest for the slightest employment opportunities available, others contemplate quitting their current employments due to what I can refer to as “professional hazards” that they cannot manage.
How did they land there first of all? Did they conceive all the intrigues that go with the professions they went into?
It is in the above view that I want to briefly highlight factors to consider when choosing a career.
One of the most important factors is interest. You should get into a field that you can enjoy working in. If you choose a profession because of prestige and pride, then you shall have boarded a wrong train. You will certainly not like its direction, its passengers, its conductor and even the driver.
One of the skills that employers look for when hiring staff is the demonstration of good interest and enthusiasm in the position one is being hired for. If you lack zeal and enthusiasm, then you are not the right person.
Another factor to consider is ability; your ability to first of all pass the cluster subjects needed to join a particular field is key.
Students should be helped to choose careers whose subject passes they can achieve. Choosing subjects in which students are either average or poor is burdensome. Overstretching oneself to achieve what is thousands of miles up his or her ability is tantamount to hanging the person.
It is true that people like the world’s renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson made it to the top from 9th grades in Math. Not all can do this though. It takes a lot of discipline and sacrifice that many cannot manage.
Closely related to interest and ability is the understanding of the nuts and bolts of each field of work. You have to know what it takes to be a teacher, for instance. Can you manage consistent reading, making notes, planning lessons, keeping the teacher’s diary, setting exams and marking and running after kids? If not don’t dare dream of being one.
You want to be a doctor? Very good. Can you stand life in the accident wing of the hospital wards? Is watching the daily spectacle of people who are smashed, pounded, crushed and flattened by wrecked vehicles tolerable for you? Do you fear viewing human bodies coloured red with blood? Can you hold your emotions at the sight of people dying in your hands?
I am not scaring anybody. These are real work experiences faced by real people in the real world. Once you understand this beforehand, you cannot call it quits when the going gets tough.
To crown it all, I encourage teachers and parents to let children freely choose what they like and help them achieve it. If you are a doctor or a lawyer, your son or daughter may not necessarily be one. He is not you and you cannot be him or her.
The author is the Director Of Studies at Nu Vision High School, Kabuga.