Three Steps To Tackle Unwanted Career Advice And Demoralising Comments

Posted on April 9, 2013 in Education

By Srishti Singh:

“Gpa kitna aaya?”
“Itna kam kyun?”
“Kyunki…saas bhi kabhi bahu thi..err no…kyunki main jhooth nahi bolti…sheesh…kyunki…aapse matlab?…uh-oh!”

Part of my life plan is to write a book titled “How to handle obnoxious questions of Auntyji like a pro” (And I somehow believe it’ll become a bestseller).But that’s not why I’m writing this post.

I’m writing because it’s THAT time of the year again. 12th standard students have just finished their board exams and have stressful admission months in front of them. Most of us have been through the phase and know how tumultuous it can be. Board exams, endless admission forms, cut-offs, uncertainties, rejections and fear of not living up to the expectations of the parents of family can be a lot to take.


Throw in annoying family friends and relatives and wham! The peace that kids require in these crucial months is replaced with confusion, irritation and in some cases self-hatred. Suddenly, the student finds himself thinking how well Sharma Uncle’s daughter is doing or how nice a ‘package’ Rekha auntie’s son got.

I come from a town that’s somewhat a mini-Kota in itself. Once upon a time, a group of guys(yes, only guys) got really high ranks in JEE. Some say it’s because they were really sharp and determined, some say it’s because of excellent mentoring and others of course gave the credit to luck.

Suddenly, everyone wanted to be an IITian. Coaching classes sprung up in leaps and bounds, parents started spending more and more on coaching, entrance exams became a common topic of discussion and local newspapers started printing pages full of toppers interviews. All of a sudden a new education culture was developed. Students were expected to take up science and get good ranks in competitive exam.

It turned worse with the formation of ‘The Amateur Career Experts’ or the ACEs. These ACEs mostly turned professional after their son/daughter got into IIT/AIIMS/IIM or some other prestigious college. You could avail their services almost everywhere. Parties, picnics, markets, PTAs or worse, your own home. And sad as it may be, they are only growing in number.

So how exactly should one tackle these ACEs? IS there a permanent solution? The rare breed of ‘socially awkward’ people(like me) can try the Kyunki Saas bhi kabhi bahu thi answer. It worked for me. But then, it requires years of practice and considerable amount of experience. So I suggest trying out the following three steps:

1) Know who you’re taking advice from: Before getting depressed about what your ACE might have said, do a background check of the person. Have they cleared some major exam themselves? Do they have some other major achievement to their credit? Have they made any significant contribution to society? If all your answers are a ‘NO’, then please use the filter technique.

2) Filter, filter, filter: One of the few things I’ve learnt from my electronics course is how efficient a filter can be in eliminating the things you don’t want. ACEs are basically good folks. They do say nice things every now and then. All you need to do is get rid of their ‘obnoxious interrogations’. Excuse yourself for a bit, pretend your mom is calling or simply stare blankly at them.

3) Beat them at their own game: When ACEs end their unbearable monologues with things like-

Varun ke to exams mein sirf 89% hi aaye, pata nahi kya karega yeh ladka!”,know that it’s a trick statement.

They usually expect answers like-“Are kya baat kar rahi hain aunty…who toh class ka topper hai!Mere toh 70 bhi nahi aate!

Surprise them with something like-“Sahi keh rahi hain Aunty. Bechare ke toh extracurricular kafi kharab hain. Aaj kal kitabi keedon ko kaun poochta hai!”

However, one thing needs to be kept in mind. ACEs aren’t really bad people. The trouble is that the world we’re living in has become really competitive. So, intentionally or otherwise, people might say things that can badly affect the other person’s mental peace. The trick lies in using a little creativity and imagination to make life much easier!