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“When you are faced with an uncertain future or when suddenly the path you are on takes an unexpected turn, it is advisable to explore a wide variety of options rather than sticking single-mindedly to one”
Within a few short months, the world has transformed. Such unexpected events disrupt our routines, our plans, our goals. The pandemic has caught us unawares and with increased uncertainty it has impacted the graduating students immensely. In my interaction with several students I have realised that many of them are shattered as their plans have all gone out of the window, and they are concerned and confused as they have to rethink their career choices.
At this juncture, as a society, we need to come together, support and help. This is an important time for families to build a bond with their kids and motivate them to stay positive so that they do not fall into depression and other mental ailments. The situation is affecting everybody, but my advice to the students would be – look at this as a golden opportunity to explore your skills and what you would love to do. It is an important time where a student can reflect and rethink, as life is all about being prepared for the uncertain.
In these unprecedented and uncertain times, understandably, a student is more restless than ever. They need to be guided to utilize this period in the best way possible. While the ongoing crisis will have a long-lasting impact on every sector, the need of the hour is to give our students the right direction so that their career plans are not disrupted.
Learn. Learn, and learn more.
“You may feel unmoored, you may lose your bearings and oscillate, but it is all right as the career path is an emotional experience of what you want to do and what you land up with, and of finally taking a decision to follow what you love”
“It is an important time where a student can reflect and rethink, as life is all about being prepared for the uncertain”
When you are faced with an uncertain future or when suddenly the path you are on takes an unexpected turn, it is advisable to explore a wide variety of options rather than sticking single-mindedly to one. One should stay positive, as, even when there was no pandemic, you must have heard of many people who opted for a career change in their forties, as suddenly it dawned on them that this is not what they love. A career path is necessarily a messy journey of exploration. It is a good time to explore options by taking up virtual internships, which are available from the comfort of your home. It is a time to explore opportunities and to discover yourself. Do not waste this time; utilize each minute.
To dare to do something new you must move out of your comfort zone, and that takes courage. As humans, we generally feel safe and secure with what we know, even when we are in a miserable situation. To help you move out of your comfort zone, visualize what it would be like when you have reached your big dream. Open your boundaries and dream in 3-D. Visualize every little detail, with all five senses, what life could be like when you are actually there. Close your eyes and daydream. Stop only when you can ‘see’ yourself in your perfect day, with a wide grin on your face and a nice, warm feeling inside. Now open your eyes and write it all down. Every little bit of it; where you are, what you feel, who is there, what you are doing. Is it warm? Are you in a city or in the country? Is it a special celebration?
Make it a vivid ‘Vision’ of your perfect day. Imagination is the root of everything we do, and by far the most powerful tool to succeed. Unless you can imagine yourself being richer, happier, healthier, fitter, or whatever else you want, the chances of you ever getting there are slim. Your brain needs to ‘see’ the results of your actions before it will allow you to apply your time and effort in striving for them.
You may feel unmoored, you may lose your bearings and oscillate, but it is all right as the career path is an emotional experience of what you want to do and what you land up with, and of finally taking a decision to follow what you love. But this fraught stage is a necessary part of the journey, because it allows you to process a lot of complex emotions and conflicting desires, and ultimately prevents you from shutting down prematurely and missing the better options that still lie ahead.
The current crisis is likely to prolong this confused state for many of us. While frustrating at times, the state has its benefits. As Steve Jobs wrote, ‘Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it’.
- The article was originally published in Career Ahead October 2020 issue.