This is a topic on which I really wanted to share my thoughts for a very long time. In fact, this question is one of the prime reasons for me to start writing this blog www.nimishgoel.com. I know for sure how families and friends in our social circle lend their advice without you may even asking for it and the best part of that advice is that it comes absolutely free of cost. 

Before I share my thoughts, let me share a true incidence that happened in my family. One of my nephews passed class XIIth and he wasn’t sure what to do. He had taken science as his area of expertise in class XIth and XIIth, but it was sure that he perhaps didn’t want to do engineering or medical. This is a very typical situation faced by thousands of students when they aren’t very sure of the subjects they should study and consequently, they end up taking a wrong area for specialization. Anyways, I was talking about my cousin. So after passing class XIIth he wanted to take up law as a profession and expressed this desire to his father. His father (i.e. my elder cousin brother) had no idea about legal profession and he also wasn’t too keen on law because he wanted my nephew to pursue engineering.

Anyways, after little persuasion by my nephew, my brother made him meet a lawyer who was their neighbor and was practicing criminal law in a small court in Delhi. That person advised that legal profession is one of the toughest professions to survive and after becoming a lawyer, the person has to struggle a lot to make his ends meet. And that advice was enough for my brother to take a decision of not making my cousin sit for law entrance examinations. What a shame!!.

When I got to know about this, I told my brother about the actual position of the legal profession and how colleges like National Law School, Bangalore and NUJS, Kolkata and NALSAR, Hyderabad are changing the landscape of legal profession. I told him that students who complete law from these are hired by the top law firms of India such as Amarchand Mangaldas, AZB & Co, Luthra & Luthra etc and earn a minimum starting salary of INR 8-10 lacs per annum.   And I told him that working in these law firms give you tremendous exposure to corporate law, mergers and acquisitions and intellectual property litigation issues. You get to meet the top CEOs and CFOs of the companies and sky is the limit for growth.

But unfortunately, by that time my nephew had already joined an engineering college and may be who knows, he might have become a great lawyer of our country, but for that stupid advice he got from his neighbor vakeel.

I am sure this situation is faced by a huge number of students in their life, when they receive advice on career from people who have absolutely no idea of what they talk about. There are hundreds of incidences I know where some fufaji or tauji or mamaji or elder bhaiya would have adviced youngsters like you to not puruse articleship in chartered accountancy because that’s a waste of time, rather spend time on studying and clearing papers.   I know for sure that advices are given that once clearing papers should be the main objective rather than learning because learning is something you can acquire later when you get a job. What these people don’t realize is that our Institute is not foolish to create a curriculum where they wanted students to learn both theory and practical side by side. They never intended to have CAs who do not even know the basics like prepare bank reconciliations or passing journal entries.

Similarly, you would face situations when someone learned in the family might advice your father to not send you for a job in a BIG4 because they would have heard about late sittings and extreme work pressure in those jobs. Or an advice like science is better and more respectable than commerce or an advice like there is no degree better than engineering and people who are of less than average IQ or intelligence only do commerce/CA. And the list goes on…

Students ask me – “Sir how do we tackle this situation or how do we come to know whether our uncle or aunty is right in their advice. Because we ourselves are not sure of what to do it becomes very difficult to judge any advice’s correctness”. Indeed, it’s a very difficult situation to be in and it would be very difficult to judge whether the advice is right/sound or not.

Please note that I am not suggesting that whatever advice you get from your family members or friends is always incorrect or biased. What I am trying to suggest here is that people, in general have the inclination to throw advice free of cost just because they feel proud of being asked such questions. They feel since they have achieved something in life, they are perhaps now well equipped to guide any youngster, even if they are not expert in that field.

Here are few ways that might give you some guidance on how to choose your own way, rather than getting swayed by someone else’s advice.

1. Always and always listen to your heart or your sixth sense

I know it is easier said than done. We don’t know how to listen to our heart or how do we know what is our sixth sense indicating. Well, the answer is that inner sound or your gut feel that tells you whether you are right or wrong. With some introspection you can surely come to know what is right or wrong for you.

Practically, by writing on a piece of paper the pros and cons of all your prospective decisions you can move very close to the feelings reflected by your heart. Once you have the positives and negatives of any decision you want to make written in front of you, your sixth sense surely sends signals in the right direction and with the power of your gut you are in a position to take a call. Try and listen to that inner voice and take a call.

2. Do your own research – And do it very well

If you have decided to pursue a career, then do a thorough research on it so that you have enough evidence. Since it’s a matter related to your career, do this research very well and very sincerely. Don’t take shortcuts, try and read as much as you can on the Internet so that you at least have some theoretical gyaan of what’s stored for you in the future.

The research would also help you discuss the pros and cons with your family members or whoever is senior and learned on the subject. It might happen that you might come out more knowledgeable and informative that your most respected uncle in the family.

3. Respect and take all advice and feedback constructively

You never know who gives you a piece of advice that might turn out to be a jewel. Never underestimate your family members or friends or your well-wishers and never dis-respect their advice. Listen to what everyone is saying and whatever you think is not relevant, ignore it politely and subtly. This way you would always be in the good books of people and at the same time, would be able to do what YOU LIKE.

4.  Keep reading  my blog

On a lighter note, keep reading my blog and ask me as many questions as you want to. I hope I help you carve the right career path and help you take the right career move.

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Authored by Nimish Goel (www.nimishgoel.com), a chartered accountant with more than 12 years of experience and who’s passion is to coach and help young chartered accountants and aspiring students achieve the best in their life. Nimish used to work with EY and PwC in India and has also worked with KPMG in Europe. He now runs his own consulting company and runs a blog www.nimishgoel.com. He can be reached for any queries and issues on his blog.

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0 responses to “How To Deal With Unwanted Career Advice From Family & Friends”

  1. Isha Mehrotra says:

    Very Nice article Sir… ! Hope this article would have published when i was making my career choice… !

  2. P Aravindhan says:

    Great article ! Just in time !

    Every middle class parent wants their child to be a cubicle animal !

    Also some critical areas now totally ignored are Pure Science and Humanities !

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