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Alternative Career Options And The Mentality Of The ‘Mango’ People

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By Shray Mishra:

We must realize that success is not in pursuing the most sought after goal or profession; it is the excellence we achieve in what we are good at.

That line is a summary of this writing. It perfectly discriminates between a job and a career. Do we ever try to figure out what difference these two have? Well, if you did not then let me help you.

A job is anything that needs to be done, as the action of completing a task or duty without fulfillment. It is the routine task of every work day. And above all, it provides the basics; Cash and Activity. So a job can be termed as a task to earn an income to meet basic needs.

We now should see what a ‘Career’ is. A Career is that work which meets the basic definition while getting you fulfillment too out of it. It is more than income and benefits. It provides opportunities for advancement. An individual gets to challenge and nurture his personal growth. It’s a life, vocation, profession or work; the way one wishes to take it. It provides a person with his/her identity.

The orthodox mentality that was prevalent in the country once upon a time was of people wishing for their child to pursue traditional careers such as medicine, engineering or law etc. The reason for this was that these careers would ostensibly help their family attain a respectable status in the society. The son or daughter will be secure for life and people will always be ready to get associated with their family and above all it will also generate a handsome amount of dowry (if it happens to be the case of a boy) when the time comes. The problem with this mindset is that it is not so easy to fulfill these. These high paying jobs have posts limited in number and the competition is tough. A majority of failed aspirants for these jobs become unemployed. Every parent wants his or her child to be successful in life by choosing an appropriate career. But, forcing your child to pursue a career of your choice may become a burden for the child. The problem lies in the minds of most people in our country. The returns that a student can give after he/she gets a job are taken as the most important factor. Getting a high pay from the first month itself is preferred rather than letting the student start at the basics and go through the ranks to the top. However, with changing times, increasing competition, and with it, sadly, the increasing number of suicides have led the mentality of the people to change. They have started allowing their children to pursue alternative careers too.

If people who are coached to gain entry into professional courses fail to do so, they generally are not able to find other jobs for themselves as they are not able to fit in other environments. Vocational studies on the other hand teach a person various factors involved in the same process making him/her more flexible and adjustable to the work culture. Therefore, it is essential to support your child when he or she wants to pursue an alternative career.

The bad side of choosing the career which parents (and not necessarily the child) want is, children kill their dreams and their interests to fulfill their parents wish and when they fail or if they fail, sometimes they take decisions which make us think twice. One such case is of Bajanjit Kaur. At 18 yrs of age, she was found hanging from the ceiling fan at her home. The reason, shattered dreams!

Prior to committing suicide, Kaur, a first-year student of physiotherapy in a Navi Mumbai college, who had failed to clear three subjects in her second semester exams, wrote on the wall of her room, “I have to achieve my goal by securing good marks.”

Parents believe that what they want for their child is the best. Often they don’t realize the dreams of their children. Their overbearing expectations make children struggle to achieve things that are not their forte.

Pursuing an alternative career can help your child achieve more in life than a traditional one. Nothing can be as great as converting hobbies and interests into careers. It is better to encourage children to become what they want to become in life instead of forcing them into careers outside their choice.

One actor said, “Choosing an alternative career is a way to survive these rocky economic times. I also think it fits in with people’s desire to not be confined by narrow labels and [finally] admit that … we all have varied interests and varied talents and we should be able to pursue them, not just as a hobby.”

Do people always praise your cooking? Are you really good with animals? Are you a good dancer? Do people praise your writing? If yes then why are you afraid of giving yourself a chance?

Some Alternative Career Choices which are becoming famous are …

Drawing and painting, fine arts, calligraphy, commercial arts, copywriting, creative writing, the beauty sector, hair-dressing, social work, diet and nutrition, handwriting analysis, acting, singing, music, choreography, internet marketing, various choices in management studies, fashion designing, interior designing. The most appealing of it seems to be entrepreneurship! Starting one’s own hotel or some business! But only if one has a passionate need to be independent, a burning desire to turn a hobby into a profession and the love of a challenge.

If you always wished to become a painter or a musician, but need to take a job in order to pay the bills, search for a job that seems creative and stimulating. Not every “all-day gig” is as horrible as one might hear. Employers are generally more receptive now towards applicants with degrees in humanities or Liberal Arts. They find such applicants are often more creative and self-motivated in their work. What you want or get in your Career will likely change each year and as your experience and connections improve, new opportunities will surface. So don’t feel as though today’s decision is a permanent one; most of us would probably be bored by a predictable job! What is important is to choose a career that provides not only financial means to live but also the creative stimulus to make that life more satisfying.
Keep in mind that most careers evolve. So never be afraid of taking risks.

Someone had once quoted well…

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

Image courtesy: http://www.dumpr.net/blog/2008/09/21/sketch-artist-effect/

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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 Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’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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