By Pooja Malhotra:Â
While taking major decisions in life, such a choosing a career or selecting a life partner, we are often faced with a dilemma — would the choice of career/subjects/courses of study/the subsequent career path/ the chosen spouse finally be the right the decision in such critical matters. With globalization and new technologies sprouting newer choices every day, career selection is becoming more and more complex; there is more confusion than excitement. In this scenario it is natural that we fall back upon our parents and trusted adults for guidance, relying on their rich experience and mature thinking.
“Taking parental advice, while selecting a career, is very important and so is conducting a good study at a personal level. Building a consensus with trusted adults is the need of the hour. This enables you to understand what you like, what is your own aptitude and what you CAN do. But the ultimate decision should be yours, because unless you have not decided it yourself, you will never be able to take it seriously. Career choices can never be spoon-fed; if they are, they usually become worthless because one day you will realize that you CAN’T do what others want you to do, and by that time a lot of resources and time would’ve already been wasted,” says Mahasweta Ganguly, a student of Biomedical Engineering (M Tech),VIT University, Vellore.
Following their parent’s advice and accepting their decision as the final verdict may be a huge vindication for many of us, but there are others who disagree. “There are budding students who develop an attraction towards a new career option, while parents prefer to stick to the beaten path and play safe. There are parents who enforce their unfulfilled ambitions on their child, making him/her take up a prestigious career that they could not achieve. In fact I’ve also come across parents who simply want their child to follow their footsteps and take up the same career, so that their child can succeed them. They don’t take their child’s potential or choice into consideration while imposing their decision on him/her. Questioning my parent’s choice has been challenging for me, but my battle against them continues…” says Ayushi Tandon, a class XII student who belongs to a leading public school in Delhi, wondering if they’ll ever reach a consensus.
This paradox inspired us to conduct a poll titled “Young people must build consensus with their parents for major life choices like marriage and career. What do you feel“ on a social networking platform. A whopping 81.8% of respondents agreed that young people must build a consensus with their parents and that consulting & discussing their future plan of action with them is important. “Communicating with parents, conveying what you think are your strengths & weaknesses and what you want to do with your life, discussing everything in detail with them creates an understanding. And finally we are able to reach a level, where compromises are made on both sides…we are able to nurture a transparent and open relationship where communication is possible, and there are no inhibitions. Such is the impact that the child learns what is right and wrong, instead of just being told what is right and wrong. To build a consensus, there should be a lot of support from the parent’s side and 100% honesty from the child’s side,” adds Ganguly.
On the same note, Rahul Gogia, a student of MTech at IIT Delhi shares, “I think parental advice is of prime importance. They are the two people in the world for whose stance one can never doubt; you can blindly trust that they want only the best for you. They have experience on their side i.e. they have faced the consequences of good and bad decisions over the years, so their story is a real time version of how things tend to work out.”
“My sister wanted to become a professional dancer. She had a discussion with her parents. They concluded that while such a profession was her passion and she could scale great heights, there were risks involved based on society and the culture that we come from, in addition to the competence levels in society. She was advised to complete a professional degree in a safer domain like architecture or engineering first and then, explore other avenues. Today she’s glad that she complied,” adds Rahul.
Career and marriage choices are one of the more passionate decisions that a person has to make in their life. Unfortunately, these have to be taken at a time when the person may not have the maturity and exposure that is required so the scale of importance of these decisions is also not apparent to them. This is where the role and relationship with parents kicks in.
On the other hand, the 13% who disagreed feel that parents and governments, even society should be stringently kept out of the cognitive and decisive palace of individualism. They feel that though parental authority in India is very strong, they would prefer to have their way and cede their choice of career or life partner rather than build a consensus.
To sum it up, “The problem with the mind is that it wants everything! It wants the advantages of the choices it makes…advantages of the choices it has sidelined and simply bypass the disadvantages.”