Careers tips: Build Castles in the Air, but...

As a student you may or may not have any ambition regarding your career. If you do have an ambition, it may be a common one, like becoming an engineer or doctor, or it may be something very offbeat. If you are one of those who have an ambition to do something really different, walk the path that few others have taken before, and carve out a challenging but unusual future for yourself, then obviously you are going to face opposition. Elders, parents, maybe even teachers will caution you that you are taking a risk, that you may not make sufficient money, or have a regular income in the unpredictable vocation you are aiming for. Hence the question that may confront you is – Do I give in to what others say and play safe in a well-established career, or do I risk everything and follow my passion?

The answer lies in your approach and your preparation. People may caution you about “building castles in the air”, meaning to say that your dreams will only remain dreams. But you are also aware that our former President Abdul Kalam exhorted the youth of the country to “dream, dream, dream.” So go ahead, starting building that magnificent castle of your dreams. Visualize it, and aim for it. But …… make sure you build a strong foundation to keep the castle up.

The foundation lies in taking the following steps:
  1. Ensure you know enough about the vocation and are not just getting enamored by the glamour or thrill it offers.
  2. Match your own traits and see that you have the necessary qualities to succeed in the field – from academic prowess to personality traits and other skills.
  3. Find out the path required to reach the castle of your dreams – check the roadblocks e.g. can you pass entrance exams, do you have financial resources, can you struggle for years if success eludes you, etc.
  4. Start preparing early, build up all the skills, enhance your knowledge, select the right subjects, and keep monitoring your progress.

The people who succeed in unusual careers are not necessarily the brightest or most intelligent ones – it is those who prepare systematically, practically, and consistently. You can be one of them. Start now.

By Ali Khwaja

Career Guidance

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