Significance of Societal Perception and Self Identity in Making Career Choices
Young people have the autonomy to make their own decisions, yet there is a conflict between their self-interest and societal perception of what a "successful" career looks like.
A young person's career decisions and future growth are influenced by the culture in which they live, are educated, and work. Young people strive to make professional decisions based on their interests and motivations, but they do so against the backdrop of societal limitations (March & Simon, 1958). So, on the one hand, there's a belief in independent decision-making, and on the other, there's a belief in reacting to societal pressure.
Factors Young Individuals Take Into Consideration While Making Career Decisions
Career decision-making, particularly among the younger generation, should be carefully considered since it has ripple effects in one's life. Societies and peer influence cannot be underestimated since they have been found to be influential in career choices. Young people strive to make well-thought-out career decisions based on various thoughts, ideas, and beliefs prevailing in the system. Individuals have the autonomy to make their own decisions, yet there is a conflict between their self-interest and societal perception of what a "successful" career looks like.
This article will dive deeper into how the conflict between societal perceptions and individual career interests impacts career choices.
Impact of Societal Rules on Individual Decisions
Society plays an influential part in determining the career decisions young individuals take. When it comes to career development, societal rules and divisions limit young people's options based on their culture, socioeconomic status, access to higher education, familial relationships, and how much they participate in socialisation. The lines between occupational choice and opportunity structure are often blurred because of the effect of society.
Recent Internet and social media innovations have resulted in massively increased social networks. As a result, individuals can act as autonomous decision-makers. They are expected to have a set of skills or dispositions that will help them develop their ability to embrace change and make educated professional decisions. Creating such a career-readiness capacity necessitates the development of professional habits over time. These habits are often shaped by society, which helps in sharing experiences and providing learning materials in a collaborative effort to maintain career development within the community.
Effects of Societal Pressure on Career Choices
Society plays an essential role in the formation of an individual's identity, attitudes, and beliefs. This societal influence and the need for social acceptance are most significant during adolescence compared to any other point in our lives. Here are a few of the possible outcomes of career decisions that are based on societal influences:
1. Inability to Cope With Academics
An individual who ends up making the wrong career choice, under the influence of society, finds it challenging to cope with the course's academic requirements. In such a case, issues such as the inability to concentrate, memorise and understand the content would arise. As the individual gradually loses motivation to exert effort, they are likely to become withdrawn, both academically and socially.
2. Self Esteem Loss
The individual's ability to cope with both parents' and society's expectations is likely to result in a loss of self-esteem and confidence. As the student begins to doubt their self-worth and ability to perform well, they develop a fear of failure. Anxiety, stress, loneliness, interpersonal problems, and even depression are frequently associated with a lack of self-esteem and confidence.
3. Inability to Demonstrate Competence at Work
Even if an individual achieves sufficient academic success to land a position in the desired career field eventually, there is a good chance that the individual's academic shortcomings will manifest at the workplace because the essential match between aptitudes and the desired career is missing. A sense of unfulfillment or inadequacy is very typical in these situations.
4. Dissatisfaction with Job and Career
What keeps an individual motivated to go back to work is that they enjoy what they do. But if one's personality and interests don't match with the requirements of the career, then in trying to deal with the daily duties of their job, they are likely to feel emotionally and physically exhausted every day. For instance, an introvert might feel trapped in a career that requires regular meetings, social gatherings, and group interaction. By the end of the day, such a person will be exhausted from attempting to fit into an environment that is outside of their comfort zone.
Strategy to Make Better Career Decisions Under Societal Pressure
• Create a good environment
The first step is to reduce the negative influence in our lives and focus on the positive. We must reaffirm our self-worth and believe in our abilities to make the best choice for our career without relying much on others' opinions. We must avoid attempting to "blend in" with others at the expense of our uniqueness.
• Use the power of information
If we want to avoid the pressure and other people's opinions, we'll need to find out information on our own. We should be well versed with our alternatives, accurate facts and information. We should try to research careers and jobs as much as possible, including what each career requires, what opportunities each career offers, and so on.
• Focus on skills and goals
Try to avoid other people's opinions and, instead, focus on building skills that will help build our career in the long run. We must start by setting objectives on what we want to achieve and then determining the kind of skills that we would need to develop to achieve those objectives.
• Take a scientific approach
Psychometric tests for knowing our interests and making career choices are very popular these days. Such tests help us in understanding our strengths and abilities. These tests consider our personality, aptitude, interests, emotional intelligence and other aspects to suggest career choices that are most suited to us as an individual.
• Seek out the right people to help you
Sometimes, making a career choice all on our own can be overwhelming, and it is okay to seek guidance in making the best decision. But help needs to come from the right people. We can take the advice of career counsellors who are experts in this domain. They can aid us in dealing with societal pressure and finding the right career suited to our abilities, helping us make the right choice by considering our personality, aptitude, and other factors and avoiding any personal biases.
Miss. Anushka Gupta, XIMB Student
Mr. Ketan Bhavsar, XIMB Student
Miss. Palak Batra, XIMB Student