By nitin bakshi
Having spent so many years in counseling the students of various streams, it has become quite clear that students and their parents practically are not clear as to what they are looking for when they make up their mind while choosing career. They simply follow the ‘herd mentality’ and take the decision. The factors like potential, passion, interest etc do not become part of their thinking process when they choose the path for onward journey.
When the path for onward journey in the area of career is selected, we should be clear in our mind as to what we are looking for and whether we have taken all important factors into account. A passing remark has been made at ‘herd mentality’ of the parents. It is very hard to believe that students and parents do not seek any professional or expert guidance and instead follow the hackneyed path which has already been followed blindly by thousands in the past. While following the path of other students, parents fail to notice more beneficial, more challenging and more rewarding paths for their wards.
The analysis of SWOT, which covers almost all aspects of a given field based on Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, has become an integral part of any business activities. The time has come now to apply the conceptual values of SWOT in the field of career selection also. There is no doubt in the mind that parents must insist for SWOT analysis of all required factors before embarking or getting their wards embarked on the journey of choosing better career. We will discuss in detail the SWOT analysis of the factor called career.
Strength of the students
While choosing any career path, the core factor which should be taken into account is the strength of the student. The career path of CA, MBA, ENGINEERS, DOCTORS, IAS OFFICERS is being followed by lakhs of students every now and then. The irony of matter is that parents do not pay any heed to the factor like strength of their own wards. Parents of every student know that what their wards are up to. They know from the beginning whether their wards are good enough for the careers mentioned above at the start of this point. The unfortunate part is that even when they clearly know the strength of their wards, there are two factors which create a kind of fear in their mind. First is that if they discuss the aspect of strength with their wards, that would make negative impact in the mind of their wards. Besides that they feel that it is their duty to make their wards feel secure and hence they never let their wards know that ‘you are not good enough for this particular career’. The second factor is that of peer pressure. When they see the wards of their friends are pursuing some regular careers, which may not suit their own wards, they immediately ask their wards also to follow the same path at the total discomfort of the wards. This way parents feel that they will at least be able to show off in the society that their wards are also following those “big careers”. It should be the first priority of the parents to see the strength and interest of their wards and then make them follow the career path of their choice.
Weaknesses of the students as well as the chosen career path
This is another aspect which should be carefully studied before taking any decision about your career. Having analyzed the strength of the students, it is the duty of the parents to take analytical view of the weaknesses of their wards. Since they know their wards from day one, they know for sure as to what are the follies of their wards and against which he would stumble upon. There is no point in choosing a career-graph which causes harm to you and your genuine potential. If parents as well as wards also feel that any proposed career does not cater to their interest, it should be left immediately. Similarly you should also see if the career chosen is good enough to provide you good career and is a challenging one also. Otherwise if the proposed career does not hold good future for you, going by your qualifications as well as interest, you must call it quit.
Opportunities available on and for the career path
As per the SWOT analysis, the third factor is that of opportunities. When we choose a particular career, we should devote sizeable time to ascertain that there are sufficient opportunities for you. The career chosen should be able to provide challenging assignments to you. These opportunities or assignments could be in the form of market challenges, technological advances or knowledge enhancement skills. If the career, which is chosen by you, provides you challenging environment to work, you should gladly go after the career with full throttle. But what has been observed that students do not take the aspect of OPPORTUNITIES in to the consideration before deciding about career. There should be sufficient scope for you to grow as a top class professional or as an effective executive.
Threats in the career path
This is the most vital factor in the mechanism of SWOT analysis. Now when you have already taken care of factors like your strength, your weaknesses and available opportunities, it’s time to be vigilant about the threats on the career path. Here you should be careful while choosing any career path. Always keep in mind that if the career chosen by you doesn’t have long future, you too will not have long future. We have seen so many career paths have been completely blocked by unforeseen technological inventions. We can quote the example of ‘photographer’ in this regards. With tremendous technological advances in the area of mobile, the field of photography has suffered a career threatening losses. Careers of so many settled photographers have gone haywire with introduction of powerful camera work in almost all mobiles. We also need to take a cue from these examples and keep an eye on the threats, which may interrupt your blooming career with a stroke of technological advances. We should look for those careers which will provide us satisfying and challenging career for a longer period.
Friends, in general SWOT analysis is carried out in the field of business. Since the field of business is supposed to be extremely challenging and unpredictable, we are expected to take utmost care while venturing into any business. Similarly the aspect of choosing a career is equally important, unpredictable and life-turning as well. The concept of SWOT analysis should be applied by all youngsters while taking a decision about choosing a proper career. From the analysis of SWOT, it is quite clear that the chances of making mistakes while selecting a career path come to minimal. It will, therefore, be beneficial for all to apply the concept of SWOT in the field of career selection. (The author is Director, The First Step, Akola and can be contacted at [email protected]