The task of choosing a career is very important and difficult. Every parent, when his child arrives at the secondary stage of school education, begins to worry about the career that the latter is going to follow. Every parent fondly believes that his child is destined for an exceptional career.
The truth, however, is quite different. In nine cases out of ten, it is impossible to tell while a child is at school, what particular occupation will most suit his nature and capacity, and for many of us quite a number of occupations will suit quite as well as another.
Let us first dispose of children who are exceptionally endowed, the geniuses. Of course a genius depends upon opportunities like every other child, but even if the circumstances in which he is born are not favorable to him, he will by mere force of will, and hard work, win his way to that position in life to which his abilities entitle him. Take the case of Charles Dickens. He started life by sticking labels on gum bottles, and the circumstances under which he was born were enough to crush many men, yet he came to be one of the greatest literary figures of the nineteenth century. Lord Reading, before he became Viceroy of India, was a sailor, a stock exchange broker, a solicitor, and a politician. Genius will chalk out a career for itself and force its way to the occupation that suits it best. So the parent who thinks that his child is a genius does not need to worry about him.
For others, the ordinary children, careers are of two types—the secure and the insecure. The secure careers are those in which a man starts with a fixed salary, progresses with regular Increments, and ends up with a pension or provident fund deposit at a certain age. The prizes in such careers are few, but so are the risks and many people prefer to have a low-paid job which is secure to the dangers and glories of an independent profession. Some people go into these secure jobs, not because they cannot afford to take any risks, but because they are bent upon doing some literary or scientific work, and cannot find the leisure for doing that, without an assured competency. But such people are few. Included in the secure careers are the Indian Administrative Service, Banking, Insurance and Teaching.
For children with the adventurous impulses strongly developed, there opens out the broad highway of commerce or the professions, such as Law or Medicine. In these, everything depends upon the individual.
It is best for those who want to go into independent professions to stick to them to the end. It is a temptation difficult to resist for a young man who is starting life, let us say as a doctor, not to accept a job in a druggist’s concern, or as a physician in a small almshouse, or reformatory. In these jobs the employment is snug and easy, with a comfortable living and a pretty salary. The first drawback of such positions is that they take away the most precious years of a man’s life and let slip chances which can never be recalled of gaining a firm footing in the profession. And moreover, such positions can never be depended on longer than those in power find it their interest to keep them so. Employers in private institutions are social demagogues and most often unscrupulous opportunists. Such employments retard one’s progress and sometimes give one a second rate reputation that is hard to outlive.
It is really an unfortunate thing for a man to advance on the track of life without any plan of definite aim in view. Everything in life needs detailed planning and systematic preparation if is to be a success. Those persons, who do not think in advance of their future and do not plan their course of action, are liable to fail in life. The days when careers were determined by birth, caste or heredity have gone. In the modern age, all the men are free to choose any career according to their taste, liking and aptitude should decide as early as possible what career he should choose.
The choice of a career should not be made by accident or by sheer force of circumstances. It should be made by foresight and common sense. Young men are not competent enough to make such a choice. This should be made by their parents and teachers. All the men are not fit for all kinds of work. Minds, like men, differ greatly from person to person. If one is keenly interested in mechanics, another likes intellectual pursuits. Some are attracted towards science while some feel inclined towards fine arts. One may achieve success in business but fail badly in the study of literature.
Various factors should guide in the choice of a career. One’s taste and inclination should be taken into consideration to decide the suitability of the career. Modern science, particularly, psychology, has thrown much light upon the intellectual capacity of man, If a man takes up a work, best suited for him, he is bound to achieve success sooner or later. Modern psychology has found out different tests to decide a man’s aptitude and mental power. These tests are especially valuable for younger boys at school.
In India, people do not have equality of opportunity, so the choice of a career is no easy matter. Here the majority of people are governed by poverty, Unfavorable circumstances and cruel changes. Countless young men in our country do not have sufficient opportunities for the development of their talents. They fail to receive proper education and never get a chance to show their true worth. Sometimes highly talented and gifted young men have been dragged by necessity and circumstances into careers which they never liked and expected to do. It only happens in backward countries. In progressive countries like Russia and U.S.A., young men are properly guided in the choice of career.
One must be careful about sticking to the career one has chosen for oneself because a rolling stone gathers no moss. There are certain limitations to a choice of career. In spite of all the psychological researches, it is riot always possible to judge properly the capacity of man. Bat one chosen; one should stick to one’s career.