The Financial Express

'Perfect career path', just a myth

Farah Naz Aditi | Published: April 08, 2020 21:56:55 | Updated: April 14, 2020 16:56:27

'Perfect career path', just a myth

It is often said that a proper career planning is crucial to success. Some even believe that if one does not have a perfect career plan laid out in early days, it might be difficult to take off. A lot of planning, discussing and consulting circles around "the perfect career path" as people desperately try to concoct a formula for success or perfection. What people do not realise is that a perfect career path might just be a myth.

Shift in beliefs

A major cultural shift between the new and old generation is definitely the concept of employment. While the older generation spent almost their entire career in maybe one organisation and doing the same job, they like to pass on the belief that finding a career that suits one is the way to go. The existing formula as per the belief is to jump into the career that one or in truer terms one's parents deems to be respectable the moment one graduates-- be it BCS, be it corporate or the academia. There should be no trying out new things, rather focusing on achieving the desired perfect career. While many give in to this notion thrust upon them, a greater number is rebelling to follow their hearts and making this need to achieve perfection obsolete and irrelevant. Hence, "The perfect career path" is slowly turning out to be a not so perfect solution.

Is there a path to perfection?

The most vital question that arises in the minds of the youth today is whether perfection truly exists or not. And even if it does, what exactly is perfection. It is the variable definition of "perfect" that indicates that a single perfect career path might just be a myth. A few examples will be handy to demonstrate the variable perfection. Imagine a fresh graduate joining the corporate with no prior experience or knowledge of what the workplace or the work is like. Yes, s/he might have heard a titbit from seniors or during the job application, yet the best/worse is still to be seen. Now this person starts this career with high hopes and dreams of reaching the top but might very inexplicably fail to do so due to various reasons-- compatibility, politics, nature or culture of workplace etc. The point to be noted here is that this person chose this career path because s/he believed this to be the suitable option at present and a perfect career in the future. Now that this no longer feels good, it is very natural for the person to search a better suited option.

However, the discomfort faced by a single person does not disqualify this career path as perfect. People will come and go and there will be someone who will excel at this same organisation in the same role and chant mantras about this being the perfect career path. Thus, no matter how cliched the saying is- 'A one size fits all approach' really is not helpful while choosing a career path. Just because someone succeeded following a particular approach, does not mean that all will.

Another discriminatory example is the tendency of the society to label academia as the perfect career for females. Despite women proving themselves in both desk and field jobs in corporates, NGOs, donor organisations, and even leading the country in various exemplary roles as civil servants, they would not be lauded because apparently, they did not make the perfect career choice.

Some feel that reaching the top of the corporate ladder is a perfect career path. For others, a job that allows proper work life balance might be perfect. Some might have to change their paths twice or thrice to finally find their solace. Perfection is merely a word which can gain meaning if success accompanies it. Once one is successful, all question forgotten, the path chosen will be seen as perfect. However, if the same path had yielded failure, it would not have remained perfect. Thus, a perfect career path is only as perfect as the success of those who had taken it.

The youth's take on a perfect career

Youths of today are slowly moving away from the idea of a perfect career. They are more explorative in nature, switching career paths to discover their strengths and competencies, not settling till they achieve satisfaction, giving up on secured jobs to chase their dreams. Youths today want to have a career that defines them as a person and makes their life meaningful. They are no longer interested in just paying their bills if their financial condition allows it. They are diverse in their priorities and dreams.

Today's youths should accept the fact that building a career is tough, there will be ups and downs, there will be rights and wrongs but at the end of the day, the aim is to gain confidence in the person they grow up to be rather than chasing an improbable perfection.

The writer completed her BBA from the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka and is now working in the central finance team of a financial institution. She can be reached at farahaditi9@gmail.com

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