My career-palette has colours that society has decided for me. These colours mingle with each other and get mixed. The palette is nothing but a complete mess. I am still a school student, but I am often asked, “What do I want to do in life?” I have multiple answers because my career-palette has careers competing with each other.
It is tough for a school student to find their path at such a young age, because they are stuck within the paradigm of ‘streams’. Studying science means you are stuck in the engineering line. Studying commerce means I am stuck in the box of chartered accountancy, and learning humanities implies that I must choose to become a lawyer or journalist.
The real problem is I can never break out of this paradigm and choose subjects that are a combination of different streams. The reason streams are a challenge for us is that they directly affect our career. I cannot pursue economics in a good Delhi University college if I don’t have math as one of my subjects in Class XII. Even if I excel in Economics, the math criteria will simply pull me out of the running and I won’t be able to pursue a career as an economist.
“You have to take care of your family one day” are the words of every parent if their child wants to pursue a career that has, in their opinion, no viability or popularity in society. Boys, in particular, are supposed to choose a career that can support their families one day. My passion and my happiness do not matter more than what society thinks about my career. For society, boys should not try for teaching, fashion designing and cooking because they are ‘feminine jobs’ and not meant for boys. Ever heard of male nurses? I am sure ‘No’.
As a school student, I am afraid to choose such professions because of the stereotypes and repercussions I’d have to face. Even though we are heading towards an egalitarian society, such discriminations prevail in our society. The colour of ‘pay scale’ affects the choice of career. Women are still paid less and the gender pay gap continues to widen. The career-palette is filled only with the most basic of colours, even though millions of colours exist.
Lack of awareness of opportunities is a fundamental challenge that school students face. We are not aware of the options beyond the ‘visible careers’. Visible careers are those careers that we see in everyday life, such as doctors, teachers, engineers, journalists, politicians and businessmen. We lack knowledge about other options we have. There is a world beyond these visible careers: such as being an anthologist, a therapist, an urban planner, a cartographer, and many more.
Work on your ‘X Factor’ and your talents. Your career should be based on your strengths. Introspect and work on your passions. The best choice of career comes from one’s passions and hobbies. Your career should inspire you and be the reason for your existence. The career-palette will be filled with a vibrant colour once you realise your true potential.