When you were young, think about the first time you wanted to become a Racecar Driver or an astronaut? The confidence you had in yourself to achieve your dreams could not be deterred by yourself. It was the situation and circumstances which probably changed your dreams to someplace else.
Children when young, are inspired by the environment around them. They are curious and seek information from television, comic books, storybooks, the internet, and stories they hear from their peers. When children work towards their goals which they have been inspired from is a phenomenon called Aspiration. Aspiration as an experience occurs when children engage with their goals which inspires them to develop a career. These aspirations could be extrinsic or intrinsic.
Extrinsic aspirations are purely based on the benefits an individual will get from the environment. For instance, children pursue to be a doctor. After all, they are well respected in the society, or an Engineer because they believe that engineers earn a lot of money. These aspirations are dependent on the benefits, rewards, and compensation we will get if we pursue the said career path. Most often children are guided to pursue their dreams as the outcome of their effort is clear and evident which makes it easy for them to set their direction.
On the contrary, there are aspirations which sends children in a state of flow: an experience which gives a complete satisfaction of being productive in the work process, which is not influenced by compliments, rewards or even gifts. It is known to be intrinsic aspirations. Many children describe this experience to be their calling or purpose in their lives to achieve and contribute to society. They are driven to create a change that can benefit a lot of people. Money, status, and pride are secondary for them. A child may want to be a doctor because they see the good work a doctor does in refugee camps. The child is moved by the compassion.
Aspirations motivate an individual and when encouraged, boost productivity and goal setting capabilities. Children are in a unique position where information and resources are both provided. They have their parental, peer, and school support to seek right direction for their career growth. This occurs at a more steadfast rate when parental expectations match the aspirations of children.
Parental expectations are ideals and processes set by parents for their children to seek long-term direction towards their career path that is safe, productive, and has a longer scope for growth that will offer career advancement for their children. Parents expect their children to pursue careers that guarantee physical and social security. Medicine, Technology, Law, and Commerce are the most common fields of the career which grow and diversify making it more appealing for parents to push their children to pursue. However, aptitude and competencies, and the willingness of a child to achieve parental expectations are key factors for a child to experience career satisfaction in the long run.
Most children have some curiosity to: learn, excel, grow. There is no objective definition of choosing the right career path because environmental factors, social lives, personal preferences and traits influence our decisions. Most elders and relatives push students from certain cultures to pursue STEM field that is expected to bring job security and prospective growth in careers. A study was conducted by Sharmistha Bhattacherjee, and others (2016) and concluded that engineers and doctors were pushed by their parents to pursue STEM field as it guarantees job security which is contradicting when considering the 2022 report by the government of India estimating the rate of unemployment among engineers and doctors to be around 48%.
Choosing a career path, and simultaneously working on it is the key role in making any career option successful. Whether it be keeping updated with the current job trends and market, finding the right educational institution, the right path to work on, and more importantly, having the right mentor is very crucial in making a career decision that aligns with both child' aspirations and parental expectations, and this is where career counseling and aptitude/cognitive assessments comes into the picture, a specified test made for analyzing how your brain processes intellectual activities and hence by providing a concrete report of individual' SWOT analysis and provide a holistic view on achieving the right career path.