For students starting out from school or college, a very important decision they need to take is, how do they want to live their life. Infact, this decision will pretty much influence what specialization or further education that they eventually take up.

So what do we mean by how you want to live your life? Essentially, there are three types of careers that exist today

1) Regular 9-5 employment, where you work for a specific salary. Your work is based on your role and is very well defined. These kind of jobs are based on a certain qualification and a predefined market rate. They offer stability and a fixed salary every month.

2) Freelancing, where your professional skills determine your fee and you have flexibility in your work schedule. However, though freelancing is a highly satisfying job, it come with risks due to unpredictability and fluctuating demand for your services. Your sales and marketing skills, along with your professional skills determine your pay.

3) Venture based, where you are either a founder or a member of a very small and high growth startup. This type of career is probably a mix of the above two types because it offers a bit of stability of a salaried job with the riskiness of a freelancing job because of its entrepreneurial nature. However the downside is the long working hours and uncertain employment prospects. Research based jobs as well as critical defense/pilot and a few others also come under this umbrella.

While it is possible for students to shift across each of the above job types throughout their entire career, we believe every student is typically comfortable with only one of these job types. Ofcourse, there are exceptions! So the goal is to ask yourselves what kind of life you want to live and what is the job type that would fit into that quality of life. We have very often seen students choosing a stream and subsequently getting disillusioned with their jobs which leads into an irrecoverable downward spiral of anxiety and depression.

Let me give you an example. Most students who decide to specialize in photography or blogging or even journalism need to be comfortable with freelancing. On the other hand, students interested in technology and research need to be very comfortable with abstract, entrepreneurial and high stress environments with lots of uncertainty associated with small ventures. Students who want to play safe and stick to a 9-5 job can choose govt jobs or teaching or other jobs that require people to work from 9-5 and no more.

You also need to be aware that the job environment is changing rapidly as we speak. Careers that were 9-5 earlier are no longer so. For example media and advertising, which were based on a 9-5 schedule earlier, have gradually shifted to freelancing and entrepreneurial environments which are highly creative and satisfying but extremely competitive.

The only careers that will stick to the 9-5 routine are the govt, finance and a few other sectors because they cannot compromise on their security and hence would never allow freelancers

Finally, as students , you also need to keep in mind that whatever you choose would affect your dependents (parents, future spouse & kids) and they need to be comfortable with living that kind of a life

Ask yourself
1) Can i take stress?
2) Can i live with uncertainty?
3) Can i acquire new skills quickly?
4) Am i a self-learner?
5) Am i adaptable?
6) do i love solving problems and challenges?
7) Can my dependents accept uncertainty?

These are a few questions that will help you make these choices.

Keeping all these in mind and making a well thought over and rational choice would help you immensely in the long run