Career Planning – The Need of the Day

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By Dr Norbert Lobo
Bellevision Media Network

About the Author: Dr. Norbert Lobo, MA, Ph.D. is Coordinator of Post Graduate Dept of Economics and Associate Professor of Economics, St Aloysius College, (Autonomous), Mangalore. He has also done Masters of Human Resource Management (MHRM). His special interests include career counseling and HRD training. He has conducted over 450 programmes on career guidance for students and parents at different educational institutions all over the State and also in Muscat for MCCP in February 2011. He has contributed over 50 articles on career guidance to various papers and writes columns on Career guidance to magazines. Moreover, he has conducted several programmes on Personality Development, Goal Setting, and Preparation for Interview, Study Habits, Life Orientation, Time Management and Learning Individuals.


This article “Career Planning-The Need of the day” by Dr. Norbert Lobo will be of great help to those students and parents who will be required to make their career choices.

- Bellevision Editorial Team


“Proper planning prevents poor performance”

Our life involves a series of decision making, which again is full of choices. However a close look into our life reveals that, on some matters we have no choice at all. On others we have a wide choice. In matters having choice, once chosen, that particular choice or decision controls us. In other words, the choice is ours, but our choice has its consequences. Some such choices are big and some small. Of the big choices, the most important and highly complex choice is career choice.


What is a Career?:

The term ‘career’ means a profession or occupation with opportunities for advancement or promotion. Thus, a career not only helps us to earn a livelihood but also provides opportunities for personal, professional and social fulfillment. It is estimated that there are around 12 to 13 thousand different kinds of occupations in this world. Of which roughly two thousand occupations can be regarded as careers. These careers may be related to the field of creativity, innovation, organization, people, marketing, research or working with numbers, text or rules. Different careers require different kinds of abilities, aptitudes, interests, personality traits and certain levels of formal educational qualifications.



Why Plan a Career?:

Twenty to thirty years back, choice of a career was not much of a problem, as parents generally made the choice for their children or family traditions had to be followed. Few people used to go for higher education and there were a few readymade careers for them – armed forces, civil services, engineering, law, medicine, nursing or teaching. The situation is very different today. Moreover, the nature of job market and the field of higher education is changing very rapidly. Science and technology have not only made the world small but opened many and varied career avenues. The world of career is ever expanding and changing. New challenges are thrown and new opportunities are open today. The number of courses and combinations that are available to choose from have multified. Also the number of institutions that offer various courses have multified. Added to this there are a number of new courses and careers which have been emerging these days.


Very often students and parents are not always aware of the various options available. In addition the choice has to be made quite early, almost at the school leaving stage.  Naturally there is confusion and anxiety among students and parents  and many times they don’t know what to do next. Moreover, today the society is becoming more and more competitive and specialized. As a result a student today has to face a complex and paradoxical situation, namely, “just because you study you don’t get a job but to get a job you must study.”  So, naturally there is a need for proper planning about the future.


Secondly, the career that one takes up determines to a larger extent  his or her  work environment, challenges, comforts, routines, standard of living, the circle of friends, the role, status  and contacts in the society, the contribution he or she can make to the society and the country and even selection of life partner. Career also provides the scope that he or she gets in utilizing his or her talent, education, creativity, innovation, and values. In brief, when one selects a career, he or she also decides a way of life, that is, their life style. Thus, the decision on career choice requires a very careful thinking as well as effective and long term planning.



Thirdly, it has been now an accepted fact that good academic scoring at school and colleges does not guarantee success in later life nor does poor performance in examination necessarily mean failure in real life. There are countless instances where “toppers in examinations” have gone to be failures in professional life and the so called   “back benchers” have achieved unqualified professional success. Harvard University in a survey of the current recruitment practices concluded that most organizations give only 20 percent importance to academic or professional background. On the other hand 80 percent importance is given to soft skills such as excellent communication skills- oral as well as written, interpersonal skills, leadership skills, creative ability skills, organizational skills, decision making skills,  and so on. The bottom line of the future job market is, only the best will survive. A close study reveals that most successful people in every field have got to where they are through perseverance, hard work, discipline accompanied by a sense of purpose. Nothing is achieved before it is thoroughly attempted. Today, the most sought out careers go to the best informed and well prepared. So one has to plan his or her future quite early in their life.


Lastly, rapid changes in the higher education field and employment scenario also necessitate career planning. Higher education has become quite expensive. Job market is characterized by more of informalisation and faminisation. Jobs in the organized as well as in the government sector are dwindling rapidly. Jobs in the future will be mostly in the service sector and self-employment oriented. The concept of permanent job has become a thing of past. Job titles, strict hierarchy or fixed seniority levels no longer matter. Work will consist of a series of projects not a continuous job.  An attractive starting salary and fixed yearly increments plus other guaranteed allowances slowly but largely started disappearing. Instead performance linked pay packages is becoming the norm. Effectiveness not efficiency is the new mantra. Skill outdatedness is faster than it has been imagined. Jobs can be lost easily for no faults of the employees. Age and experience will not be respected.


All these mean that one should develop multi-faceted skills and be prepared for the worst case scenario. Moreover, in today’s rapidly changing society, there are no ideal careers or perfect jobs. There are only ideal choices or appropriate careers. Each career is as good as the other. It depends on what one makes of it.  Different careers require different skills, attributes and attitude. One needs marketable skills in addition to a formal degree or diploma. Every student must note that in today’s world nothing is sold for what it is but for what it does.  Skills upgrading and continuous learning play a significant role in making oneself more employable. Accordingly career planning has become inevitable.


How to plan a Career?

No two persons   are born exactly alike. Each person is different from the others in his or her natural endowments- one person being suitable for one occupation another for another occupation.  A number factors  are involved in planning for a career like ambitions, aptitude, attitude, beliefs, commitments, constraints, desires,  demands, dreams, educational facilities, existing state of preparedness,  family background, interests,  hobbies, likes and dislikes,  parental choice and pressure, problems, purpose in life,  opportunities,  responsibilities,  skills, social and geographical background, training, values, willingness to put in adequate effort, and above all the philosophy of self – development.  Self-awareness, therefore, plays a vital role in career planning. To find out one’s own aptitude and potential for a particular career one should constantly ask to himself or herself a series of self exploration questions like:


What can I do in my life? (my opportunities)
What would I love to do? ( my passion)
What do I want to achieve in my life? ( my goal)
Why do I want to do it? ( my commitment)
What factors are responsible for my decision? ( my dreams)
What information do I have about my dream career? ( my awareness)
Why do I feel that I will be suitable for this particular career? ( my appropriateness)
What careers do I not wish to pursue and why? ( my dislikes)
What opposition or prejudice am I likely to face on selecting this career? ( my hurdles)
Do I possess the basic qualification or skill for the career of my choice? ( my academic eligibility)
How will I get this career for me? ( my path)
What else I need to get this career for me? ( my need for training)
What matters more to me: meeting the people,  mixing with  People, dealing with people, talking to people, visiting new   places,  taking risks, creativity, innovation, obeying orders, giving orders, working with  instruments, working under someone, self employment or wage  employment, job satisfaction, job security,  money, status, independence,   etc. ( my personality)
How much commitment I have? ( my effort)
What will it be like when I get this career?  ( my life)


Thus, one should plan his or her future keeping in mind his or her goal in life, the level of education needed to succeed in a particular career, financial inputs required, geographic preferences, the working conditions that would suit him or her, flexibility, mobility, his or her depth of determination and extent of perseverance, his or her inclination to gamble or play it safe and the present state of the economy. Time and tide waits for no one goes  the saying. A stitch in time saves nine says another. For one’s security in future one needs to plan now. Success is the result of step-by-step planning of what one wants to do every single day to achieve his or her career in life.



Comments on this Article
Ronald Sabi, Moodubelle Wed, April-20-2011, 8:19
Great article emphasizing on need for the proper planning about future. Your suggestions if considered will improve quality of career. Perfect check list!! Your pen is too good Norbert!!
Sam, India Mon, April-18-2011, 4:01

very inspiring article Dr. Norbert. I hope most of the parents sit with their child before they plan their future. Most parents want children to live their lives rather than the child\ s own dreams. The questions Dr. Norbert put at the end is more specific to the child rather than the parents.

Ashok D souza, Moodubelle Mon, April-18-2011, 1:51
Dear Dr.Norbert, This is indeed a very informative article. Well written, very contemporary genuine. It is hard to digest some of the facts but it s better late for us to take corrective action than never do it. But your write-up clearly says, "If we fail to plan, we are planning to fail". Looking forward to some more articles from you. Thank you !
Felix Dsouza, Moodubelle Mon, April-18-2011, 1:42
Very informative and timely article from Dr.Norbert Lobo. If we plan in advance and work towards it, success is guaranteed. Every parent should read this article as the children at the age of 15 or 17 need much guidance as they are not matured enough to decide on their own instead the parents role becomes more important.
Victor DSouza, Moodubelle / Doha Sun, April-17-2011, 3:45
Article by Dr. Norbert Lobo is very informative and will help many in making the right decision on their career plan.
Very Inspiring article, who is planning for Career
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