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Do Alternative Career Options make for good Long-term Opportunities?

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By Niti Garg:

What are your career goals? This is probably the most important question you can ask and very few people can actually answer it. Job defines who you are. Every father wants his son to be an Engineer or a Chartered accountant and every mother wants her daughter to be a Doctor or a Teacher… This is the typical Indian mentality which prevails in more than 90% of the middle class homes. The middle-class or the ‘Service Class’, is the major source of human power and with such restricted approach to careers, the overall development of society suffers. Due to growing competitions it is not possible for every student to clear IIT, CPMT and CPT exams. Thus, alternate careers are now at a great height. Menaka, a mother of 19-years old Rahul, often gets sleepless nights worrying about her son’s future. “He lags behind the rest of the class in studies, and although he is intelligent, he shows no academic inclination.”

“All of us are different and if you are going to spend most of your life doing something, you may as well do something you like”, says Shikha Kukreja, a lecturer. Open your mind and see that your dream job can come true.

It is now being widely recognized and accepted that a good profession, which embraces respect of the society and earns a handsome salary, is not just a synonym of Engineers or Doctors only. With the onset of Globalization and the introduction of MNC players in India, jobs that were earlier considered menial are gaining importance. There is acute requirement of people equipped with various skills and the trend of educational pattern and inclination of institutes towards providing courses in Hotel Management, Fashion Designing, Legal Consultancy, Media, Movie Making and Editing and the list goes on and on. These courses not only enhance the creativity and talent of the students, they also provide them with guaranteed placement and good package. The above careers lie apart from standard careers that involve educational qualifications and are available for non-academically inclined child.

“This is the time of recession and my personal experience says that students doing professional courses are being offered with better job opportunities than engineers and doctors. 60% of the students are now going for courses like fashion journalism, hotel management and mass communication”, gushes professor Trivedi.

We have observed various alternate careers available to the youth discussed below:-

Media Personnel: – The media is today’s fastest growing industry. Highly paid and very noble are in abundance. Media is the ‘EYE’ of the society and to be successful in this stream you need to have presentation skills. Apart from this it also offers jobs in various fields like advertising, production, public relation and event management.

Law: – A degree in Law is sufficient to enable you to set up a private practice. But KPOs today are offering better remuneration and more scope of growth to the ambitious youth today.

Apparel Designing: – Also referred to as fashion designing, apparel designing is a course which offers tremendous scope for world tours and full throttle to initiative and creativity. Apart from this, jewellery designing, footwear designing are also upcoming careers for the innovative students.

Architecture: – If you can understand where to lay your first stone, you can become an architect, drawing monthly salaries in figures of 10!

Interior Designing: – With growing aesthetic sense and belief in Vastu-Shastra and Feng-Shui, Interior Designing is becoming a profession which decides the way the society lives in their homes. Creativity and problem solving attitude are a must for this profession.

Hotel Management: – Well educated and cultured people are in demand for hospitality and hotel management. If you can take good care of others, you are suited for this profession.

How would you go ahead to discover your real career or professional goals?

Know what you want- you need knowledge about yourself as well as information about the career option that fit your skill, value and interest.

Determine your skills- you must list the skills you currently possess as well as skills you do not have and wish to develop.

Set preliminary goals- summarize the result of your self assessment in a prioritized list or statement to serve as a reference as you begin to identify and research employs.

Now the time has come for the students who think that due to their failure to qualify IIT-JEE or PMT, their life has lost its meaning and also an eye-opener for those parents who are pushing their children in a mad rat race, thus, destroying their childhood. Separate Universities have also been established which are UGC recognized for imparting professional education. Some of the well known Universities in India are Sikkim Manipal University, Symbiosis, Amity University and Indraprastha University. It is the time for the parents to understand and help out there children to choose the right career according to their aptitude. Parents should be their child’s friend and guide and not dictators.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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