The Millennials are the people born in the early 1980s, ranging from the mid-1990s to early 2000s. Parents in our Indian culture are demi-gods and why not? They give birth to their children and take care of them like none other. When it comes to education and careers, the last 20 years have changed things quite a bit. And the generation gap between the Millennials and their parents has grown from a basic age difference to pretty much existential differences.
Furthermore, there’s an absolute lack of understanding in the children about what are their interests and what do they want to do in life. One of the reasons is, of course, the education system that pushes the students out of thinking mode and self-exploration while giving them a set playground to play in and telling them what to play and when. But what are the parents doing in this case?
Why do Parents Need Counselling Today
Parents, for their part, didn’t set out to raise fragile children. Instead, they desperately desired that their kids first be safe and happy. Then — later — safe, happy, and successful. These parents, on one hand, had the kids they loved. Perhaps they were still reeling from their own childhood problems, their unfulfilled dreams and their linear relationship with their own parents. On the other side, they came into a fix when this neo-liberal generation asking for much more. Not just those expensive dreams but also some new needs like counselling for ‘how to select the right college‘, conversations at home, career explorations, visible emotional support, tech savviness etc.
Counselling in career and college selection is not about any psychological disorder. It doesn’t mean you are crazy or inadequate as a parent. It is just an attempt to bring the parents to the same level of understanding as the child so that both the entities are good to go to make the final decisions.
Here’s why the parents need guidance/counselling too:
1. The Rise of Yellow Collar Careers
Gone are the times when the career choices were easy. There were the Blue Collar Careers (plumbers, watchmen, electricians). And then after the dot-com boom, there was a sudden emergence of the White-Collar Careers ( engineers, doctors, lawyers, accountants). Because the Blue Collars were going below the dignity then.
Mala Martina, a serial entrepreneur and an education architect, defines the ‘Yellow Collar Careers‘ as a new breed of professionals who wish to explore themselves, see nothing as impossible and find careers in unusual things. These are art directors, photographers, entrepreneurs, fitness coach, life coach, counsellor, archaeologist, social worker, etc.
These careers have erupted out like a weird foreign language lip-sync that the previous generation has found difficult to grasp. And hence parents will require a hand in getting a hang of it.
2. Student Exposure because of the Internet
Every now and then you go through a conversation with your kids where they make you feel that they know better than you or that you don’t know enough. This situation has become a common thing in Indian houses with no fault of parents or the children. It has been a tough time to adapt with the whole Milkyway of information being out in open for people to access. If your child feels that he or she knows better than you then you’ll face a difficult time trying to put your point across.
3. Changing Needs of the Children
There’s an added need from roti, kapda, makaan, bike, clothes, phone, wifi that the adults today look forward to, from their parents. The children today need a strong emotional support in the increasing competition and rough environments which leave them insecure about themselves. While the education system does not provide motivating supplements of information or exposure, the children look for an added support from their parents, a little trust and appreciation. Perhaps out of an exaggerated fear for their children’s physical safety, upper-middle-class mothers and fathers devote themselves to ‘helicopter parenting’, ”hovering and doing all they can to smooth the bumps of life for their child’s adult years. The only problem is that it doesn’t work out that way. The children want to be heard, need appreciation and they need space- to do the right thing and even make mistakes.
4. Degrees guarantee nothing and 1 million ways to make Money
The usual fields are already overflowing with competition. India is producing thousands of engineers every year who are not only disappointed of doing engineering but also don’t know what else should they be doing. The job market for the usual careers has super tough competition and no one really is exceptionally talented.
You can either ask your child what he/she wants to do right now or wait for their MBA or their disappointing first job to get over. There will be a point when they won’t care what ‘Sharma ji’s’ child is doing.
While some people genuinely find their passion in the White Collar Jobs out there, some look for more. But the good news is that on the other side, there are more channels avenues of making money out there.
- Entrepreneurship– for the innovatively genius
- Digital Marketing- for the technically and social media kings
- Standup comedians- for the ones with the funny bones
- Online Content creators like TVF, AIB- for the ones who smartly found a midway between TV and Theatre
These careers are emerging and providing an opportunity for the talented, to mint money. The bank balance has seen drastic changes too. Some of these careers have the potential to offer more money per hour/per day than the usual careers fetch for a month or a year. Some of these are work from home jobs too!
5. There is No ‘One Career’ Anymore
Hindi cinema was perhaps the first place which began romanticising a miserable career advice. ‘There is this one thing that you are meant to do and you must find it‘. The problem is that it is not true anymore. You can be multiple people, have multiple careers throughout your life. Bankers are becoming actors, actors are becoming entrepreneurs, corporate employees are becoming uber drivers, and writers are becoming travellers. It is important to give the child an understanding, and for parents to have clarity that there is no one career to be chosen. No mistake is lethal and every choice has an opportunity to learn.
6. Shedding off Fears: Security might not be the best choice
Deloitte’s fifth annual millennial survey said that Millennials in India ranked “opportunities to progress and take on leadership roles” as their strongest reason (when excluding salary) to work for an organisation. As many as 69% of those surveyed believed that their leadership skills are not being fully developed. 52% of Millennials surveyed in India say, if given the choice, they expect to leave their current employers in the next two years. This is happening because of an absolute mismatch between desires and reality. Parents need to shed off their fears for their child and let them give an honest try to explore and then implement what they like.
More often than not, there is no right or wrong- both the parents and the child are right. But they need to come on a common ground of understanding through a third party. These people can be counsellors, senior mentors, industry experts or supportive teachers too. CollegeBol.com welcomes such parents with open doors.