Are wrong career choices to blame for the low happiness index in India?

Are wrong career choices to blame for the low happiness index in India?

They tend to veer toward academically sound careers even at the risk of leading monotonous lives

According to the World Happiness Report published by the UN, India has been consistently dipping in the Happiness Index through the years, from 111 in 2013 to 136 in 2022. The Happiness Index measures an individual's happiness, community well-being, social justice, economic equality, and environmental sustainability. Surprisingly, India's decline has occurred despite our many advancements and a seemingly growing economy.

But more importantly, why are we Indians so unhappy after all? The intrinsic unhappiness that has clouded the fate of many Indians, can be attributed to the inability of more than 40 million youngsters in the country to secure suitable employment opportunities, among many other contributing factors.

WHY DO STUDENTS FIND IT CHALLENGING TO BE HAPPY IN THEIR CAREERS? 

In my years of experience working with young children and the student community, I have found one commonality. Young impressionable minds have become rigid due to years of conditioning and being groomed in a certain way.

They are perennially exposed to an enormous amount of data and a barrage of experiences. So much so that somewhere, it has thwarted their ability to understand and accept the change. Their minds have stopped appreciating the newness of it all.

They tend to veer toward academically sound careers even at the risk of leading monotonous lives.  Agreed, making a career choice is an overwhelming task for most students as they are surrounded by an overload of career choices, along with societal and financial pressures.

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However, a deep-seated affinity for 'safe' options may have a huge role to play in manifesting dissatisfaction in their careers, and life in general.

A LACK OF SELF-AWARENESS

The philosophical saying 'Happiness lies within us, holds true with respect to our careers as well. Without self-awareness, the process of choosing a career finds students stuck in a dilemma. Although they may be aware of their interests and hobbies, the challenge is to link their aptitudes and skills with career choices.

Furthermore, the need to expand their mindset and be open to change is critical to navigating career pathways that can stand the test of time. The world of careers is changing more rapidly than education can keep up with, and students must open their minds to accept that change. 

PARADOX OF CHOICE

With technology evolving every day, there has been an influx of career opportunities in the global employment market. Students are no longer stuck between a few conventional career options, rather they have a large pool of exciting job opportunities to choose from.

However, when faced with too many options without proper guidance, it may lead to confusion and indecision. 

NEED FOR STRUCTURED COUNSELLING 

On average, young people are aware of fewer than 10 career options. There exist more than 800 careers to choose from. Even if students are aware of these options, they need proper guidance to be able to choose careers best suited to their personality types.

Counselling isn't a new phenomenon in our country; it has existed since the time of gurukuls when gurus would guide young children on the right path. Parents, teachers, and counselors have taken upon this responsibility thereafter.

However, the dynamic career landscape necessitates a structured career counselling framework in the Indian education system to enable young people to choose the right career path with confidence. 

EMPOWERING STUDENTS TO MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE

The need of the hour is purposeful and meaningful counselling with a key focus on enabling children to identify their personality traits, discover their aptitudes, and hone their skills. Youngsters need to awaken their minds to be able to find they're calling amidst the plethora of choices.

To be able to climb successfully on the ladder of opportunity, they must be carefully led to the braided pathway of ambition and passion.

As educators and school leaders, we must guide them to understand the basic philosophy of life, that the key to happiness lies in our own hands. The mantra of happiness is fairly simple: have an open mind that is ready to learn new things and accept change.

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