Should you have a straight jacket career plan

It’s not uncommon to find students expressing their desire to land in a certain profession or take up a certain career path. They are ideas that many develop from a very young age. But, they often do this under influence of their parents and/or peers. But, it may not all be smooth sailing if one follows this path.

Whether this is a sensible strategy or not is open to question and interpretation. But, what is certain is that it is not scientific as these are expressed without any evidence or anything to prove if the profession indeed suits them.

Even the sanest of persons can unintentionally straitjacket themselves in a career and end up being stuck in a profession that they begin to disdain over time. At the same time, they may even forgo the chance to explore some high-potential new growth opportunities that would suit their aptitude and temperament. There are any number of new emerging disciplines that are more suitable for jobs of the future.


Though not an ideal example, imagine Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg while working in his dorm room saying, “Facebook can’t be built by me because it lies outside of my core capabilities.”

  1. Keep interest in mind: Career options need to be considered keeping one’s interests in mind and, of course, after researching about the latest trends in the job market. The job market situation is very fluid today and the job profiles are also changing. For instance, if a candidate’s interests lie in finance, they should search on the latest trends in the financial sector, or marketing can be learnt along with analytics to give one an edge over competition, i.e. fellow students.

  2. Constrained by capabilities: The individuals who often say that they can’t do something because it is beyond their core strength are holding themselves back and probably not testing their capabilities. Opportunity needs to be pursued without considering the resources that are currently controlled.

  3. Stymied by the fear of others’ reactions: The fear of pursuing a subject of study for your interest as opposed to what the family or the society is hoping to see you do can land you in a tight spot and make you choose a subject of study that may not be to your liking or may not match your aptitude. The flexibility in choosing courses that is now in vogue, can allow you to choose a management stream that would suit your temperament.

  4. Fear of Missing Out: The fear of missing out on the well-paying great job prospects should not be a means to guide your career choice. It’s best to furrow your own path. Do not hesitate to be a pioneer in your class and take up a not so popular course that would have greater job opportunities in the future. This is a must if one wants to be happy and at peace mentally.


In today’s highly dynamic environments, it’s good to be flexible with career plans. It’s good to have a Plan B and a Plan C or even a Plan D. With great flexibility now being allowed by the New Education Policy, it will be easier to have the cake and eat it too. It’s the right time to pursue a management degree that your parents want you to follow, but it need not mean you need to throttle your dreams of studying a subject of your choice or liking. It’s now possible to include in the coursework an elective that would keep your interests in mind.

So, should you only look at a straightjacket career path? It need not be so. This thought has been consigned to the pages of history. By donning a straitjacket, one could be beset by a life of frustrations and disappointments which would leave a long-term ill effect.


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- Hetal Palan