[VoxSpace Life] India’s Resistance To Unconventional Career Choices

The Stable Career Mania

Right after we finish our 10th standard we are bombarded with suggestions from relatives we’ve never met and friends we’ve never really spoken to. Suggestions about which subjects to choose, in our intermediate (Or 11th standard), to have a safer/luxurious future. And the list unanimously shouts out loud the most famous combinations- Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry or Biology, Physics and Chemistry.

Throughout our childhood, most of us are taught to be good at Mathematics and/or Sciences for they are ‘important subjects.’ Schools conduct remedial classes, parents put their kid’s in intuitions for extra coaching, all for expertise in Mathematics and Sciences. Why? Because, apparently, those are the subjects that’ll fetch us bigger jobs and better salaries. Also, those are the subjects that smart kids study and who doesn’t want to call their kids smart.

A lot of families have this unspoken rule of pushing their sons to be engineers and daughters to be doctors. They think engineering is a tougher job and a doctor stays indoors most of the time, hence appropriate for girls. Let’s not even get into the stigma and gender bias surrounding this amazing concept. Coming back to the point, why don’t we see more people choosing a career depending on their interests and not popular notions.

Lack Of Examples And Awareness

Almost all of the government schools are affiliated to SSC Board and offer limited courses with multiple combinations of the same subjects (Mathematics, Science, Economics and Commerce). As a result of which, the lesser privileged kids are far from knowing the existence of various career choices.

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Even if they happen to have the knowledge, the courses are much more expensive than the conventional courses, leaving them with no option but to choose what they can afford. Thus we are losing out on so many students who can do wonders, given a chance to explore more options. This is why parents and students have fewer examples of those who did well despite choosing an unconventional career.

Absurd Stereotypes And Fears

Those who have awareness of multiple career choices are not supported due to baseless stereotypes. Arts have always been considered to be subjects that require lesser critical thinking. Absurd! But true. Most people get picked on or made fun of for choosing subjects like history, geography, philosophy, for they are considered as subjects for ‘weaker students.’

People are unaware of the future for subjects such as Psychology, Filmmaking, Literature. Hence they stay away from choosing or letting their family members choose them as a profession, filling them with doubt and ambiguity (the uncertainty in pay is what most people fear with respect to these professions.)

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Irrelevant gossip and false information about various career choices, such as acting, modelling etc, also have a key role in making people reluctant to let their kids choose them. Career choices such as Army, Navy, Commercial Piloting, Wildlife Photography are also given least importance owing to the risk factor.

Sports are neglected in a lot of schools and colleges, leaving the kids and the parents with very little awareness about the opportunities in the field. Painting, sculpturing, crafting etc are just hobbies. Lack of awareness and interest to understand the options and opportunities available is taking us away from encouraging unconventional career choices.

But There Is Hope

Thanks to internet explosion and contemporary films for providing immense awareness and attempting to sensitize people to concepts like passion, unconventional paths and success stories. The internet has also opened doors to a lot of amateurs to present their work and reach out to those who are providing a platform to nurture their passions.

Hopefully, we’ll come across more examples and success stories of people who choose to do what they like, encouraging the masses to take a step forward in doing the same.