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6 Things To Avoid While Making Career Decisions

By Prateek Bhargava:

What do you do when you select a restaurant to throw a party?

You look it up on your smartphone, ask a couple of people for reviews, do a ground visit to check if the place meets your requirements of music and décor, see if the place falls in your price range, negotiate and make a booking, sit down with the manager to finalise menu and then finally invite hundred other people.

Basically, you do everything you can to make sure that you’ve got it all in order. But when it comes to making a choice that can make or break your entire future, you rely on pure hearsay, and maybe a few online reviews and advice that other people give you, and do not look for elements that might throw you off your game.

So, essentially you do more due diligence for throwing a party, than making your career decisions. When the world tells you what you should, I’m telling you what you shouldn’t.

Here are 6 extremely important things not to do, when making a career decision.

1. Two Before One!

Everyone knows that two comes after one, but while we’re in the decision-making process, we often first take decisions and then look for evidence that might justify our decision. So if you’re thinking to yourself, “Doing Engineering would be a good move for me, but let me weigh out its pros and cons…” you’re letting confirmation bias influence your decision. Do not do that, consider every option independently and give it a fair shot. Remember, AB = BA, but only in math!

2. Tell Me, World!

Prof X mixed up sugar and spice and everything nice to brew success. But that could be a recipe for disaster too if you do it subjectively, and you know, with fifty other people. Your mind is already confused with the options that are open to you. Bringing in viewpoints of family and friends, which are totally different from each other, will only deepen the ocean. Sure they all love you, and want what’s best for you, but looks like this is a decision, that you have to take yourself. If you absolutely must, involve someone who is objective and can look at the bigger picture to give you the right advice.

3. Let Fear Fly The Plane!

In general, decisions based on emotions tend to be more irrational than the ones based on fact and reason. And when fear captains the flight, the outcome is even worse. It tends to hold your mind hostage and keeps you safe in your minute comfort space. Fear can and will never, support or reinforce your high ambitions. So pop that bubble and get started, make your career decisions, not on ‘what if you don’t make it’, but on ‘what if you do’.

4. Left Or Right!

For many, it’s always this or that, IIT or nothing, a pattern known as ‘A or B mentality’. In such a zone, your mind tends to paint everything in black and white and show you only two stark options at the corners and nothing in the middle. Such a thought-process limits your horizon and stops you from accurately understanding the prospects that surround you. Sure, aim for the Everest, but do not limit your options. When in ‘this or that’ situation, always ask yourself, and? You already have the two options in black, search for and what else?

5. Hold ‘Em Tight!

The time of fashion design being exclusive to girls and engineering to boys has long gone by. Today, we do what we like. They say to try something new, we have to first drain out what’s in our mind already. It holds true to our career decisions as well. To truly explore something, we must first let go of our preconceptions and beliefs. Allow your perceptions and notions to grow along with evidence, never let your commitment to your ideology or set of beliefs stop you from doing what’s right. After all, if 90’s don’t influence our style anymore, why should they influence our decisions?

6. Think, A Lot!

Excessive thinking could cause your mind to undergo ‘analysis paralysis’, a situation where your mind goes round and round in circles to absorb, analyse and debate to make a decision. That is until a new internet article, or someone’s viewpoint comes along. And then, it all starts again. This can happen to the best of us, and all we might end up doing is revolving in circles and not come to any final word. Thinking is fine, but do not overdo it. Give yourself a stipulated time to evaluate all possibilities, and then you must game on, and make that career decision, you’ve been dreading it for a while. Making decisions is hard. Knowing that they’ll effect your entire life, is harder. But this is a decision, that all of us have to make, don’t be a dummy and fall into traps, do not do the things mentioned above, and you might be good to go, already!

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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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