Emotional Abuse 1: What Is It?

When you enter into a marital relationship, you expect your emotions to be respected and nurtured. You expect to be loved, respected and cared for (and the vice versa). In a successful relationship you will find that the partners love, care, and respect each other. Even if one of the ingredients is missing, the marriage is not successful in the true sense. But what happens when abuse becomes one of the ingredients instead of these three?

Abuse is any behaviour that controls another person by means of fear, humiliation, intimidation, guilt, manipulation, etc. When we talk about abuse, people usually think of physical abuse. About 90% of the people assume that if they are not being physically abused by their partner, they are not being abused. That is not necessarily true.

If you are in a relationship that is draining something from you, you are undergoing some type of abuse. Emotional abuse can include anything from verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics like repeated disapproval, non interest in communicating, or even silence.

Does it sound Familiar?

My husband wants to do what he wants, when he wants, and how he wants. He is emotionally absent even when he is home. To date, my husband has not shown or expressed love or affection saying that he cannot display affection. But he does that with other people.

He refuses to resolve the smallest of conflicts. Infact he denies there is a conflict. If I gently try to express hurt, he denies he has done wrong. He is a master at making excuses. He is generally indifferent towards me—not caring about what I did in a day’s time, not interested in the things I say, and certainly has no desire to share anything about his life with me. But at the end of the day he wants (and often demands) to be treated with care, love, affection, and with load of respect.

If I suggest an alternative idea to any of his plans, he perceives me as trying to control him. He does not like to be questioned or challenged. It annoys him. He is self-absorbed—his time is his time; his activities are his activities, things purchased by him are his, etc. His definition of family is his parents and siblings. I wonder what importance my kids and I have in his life. I take care of our (mine and my kids) expenses and requirements.

If he spends any money on us, he reminds it time and gain in front of friends and relatives, but does not mind purchasing expensive gifts for his family (brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews).  He also forgets to mention that he rarely spends any money on us. His life is centered around making calls to his friends and “family”. So, to the outside world, he is caring, a charmer, a communicator.

 This does not mean that only men behave this way. I used “husband” as the villian in this example, probably because I am a woman and also becuase I have seen men indulge in kind of behaviour.

Emotional abuse is defined as behavior designed to degrade/humiliate someone by attacking their self-value. It takes place in the form of shaming, blaming, intimidating, dismissing, and/or making threats.  Whatever form it takes, the effects for the abused individual can be crippling. Initially the victim does not even realize what is happening because nobody expects a spouse to be so abusive.

Emotional abuse in a marriage is such a covert form of domestic violence and abuse—you may not even recognize that you are a victim or be aware that your partner has stripped you off your self-esteem respect, and happiness. You may have a feeling that something is wrong. You may feel stressed out, unhappy, unimportant, isolated, disillusioned, and depressed. Yet, you can not quite identify what is causing those feelings. This state of confusion is usually caused due to emotional abuse.

Married couples often fight, but emotional abuse is different than an occasional outburst of anger.  In case of a fight, the person responsible for the fight is usually  remorseful after the encounter is over. The angry person offers a sincere apology later, in an attempt to heal the rift that the hurt (due to argument) has caused. This is not the case in an emotionally abusive situation.

Cycle of emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is a cycle or pattern of behavior designed to control, manipulate, or force submission. Emotional abuse often follows a pattern.

    • Phase I: The abuser breaks down all forms of communication. This builds-up tension in the relationship.

      Any attempt on your part to talk or communicate with the person is futile—it is faced by absolute silence. To maintain this silence, they just walk away, lock them selves in the bathroom/bedroom, or make all possible attempt to instigate you into an argument which you want to avoid.

    • Phase II: This involves the actual incidents of verbal and emotional abuse.
    • Phase III: It involves reconciliation. The abuser offers lame excuses, blames the victim, and denies the abuse occurred.

      The abuser will try to prove that you has got it all wrong—blame it on misunderstanding from your part or anything else. “you did not understand what I said“, “your didn’t understand the language and hence misunderstood what I said“, “I was trying to be funny”, “it was a joke, but you don’t understand jokes, “you are not intellegent enough to understand what I say“, and lots more.

    • Phase IV: In this phase, there is calm. The victim tries to forget the incident and get along with life.

Then, after a few days, the cycle repeats itself.

Hope you are now able to spot the people who involve in emotion abuse. If you are the victim, try to analyse the stuation and get some help. Read on…. https://sajithajayaprakash.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/emotional2-sign

Narcissist Behaviour

Narcissism means egoism, vanity, conceit, or selfishness. We loosely use it for people who are in love with themselves. They feel that they are the center of the universe and try to gain attention in all possible ways.

The word narcissism comes from the Greek myth of Narcissus. Narcissus was a handsome Greek youth who rejected the desperate advances of the nymph Echo. As punishment, he was doomed to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Unable to consummate his love, Narcissus lay gazing enraptured into the pool, hour after hour, and finally changed into a flower that bears his name, the narcissus.

Narcissism is hence a term used to describe a central concept of personality trait which is a mental illness and/or a social or cultural problem.  In psychology, it is used to describe both normal self-love and unhealthy self-absorption due to a disturbance in the sense of self. It is used to denote an indifference or happiness to the plight of others, making them a sadist.

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder in which the individual is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige, and vanity. A narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life—school, college, personal relationships, work, to name a few. People with NPD may be generally unhappy and disappointed when they are not given the special favors or admiration they believe they deserve.

Symptoms of NPD:

Narcissists typically display most and sometimes all of the following traits:

    • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance and being self-obsessed.
    • Not giving you a chance to take part in a two-way conversation.
    • Interrupting and quickly switching the focus back to herself.
    • Having a sense of entitlement.
    • Require constant and usually excessive admiration
    • Lack of interest in interpersonal relationships.
    • Liking people who admire and praise them.
    • Detesting those who do not admire or praise them.
    • Putting up a show to make themselves look superior around people
    • Requiring constant attention and positive reinforcement from others.
    • Pretending to be more important than they really are.
    • Monopolizing conversations.
    • Looking down on people they perceive as inferior
    • Being envious of others and believe others envy them
    • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious
    • Pursuing selfish goals—crushing all fundamental values.
    • Using other people without considering the cost of doing so.
    • Boosting their ego by degrading somebody else when they feel deflated.
    • Inability to view the world from the perspective of other people.
    • Lacking empathy and disregarding the feelings of others.
    • Viewing criticism as insults.
    • Trouble keeping healthy relationships, especially with parents, spouse, and/or children.
    • Setting unrealistic goals and expecting others to follow them.
    • Becoming easily hurt and rejected.
    • Wanting the best of everything without working for it.
    • Appearing unemotional.
                        (Source: http://www.psychalive.org)


The actual cause of this common disorder is unknown, however, various researchers identified the following factors as possibilities:

    • Excessive admiration during childhood that was not balanced with realistic feedback.
    • Excessive praise or criticism for good and/or bad behaviors (respectively) during childhood
    • Overindulgence by parents, family members, and/or peers
    • Being praised for exceptional looks or abilities
    • Severe emotional abuse during childhood
    • Not enough attention by one or more parent(s)
    • I don’t care attitude by one or more parent(s).
    • Unpredictable or unreliable behavior from parents.
    • Treated by parents as a trophy, not as a child.

Narcissists are not capable of building strong bonding relationships with anyone. This includes their children, friends, and other loved ones. Unfortunately, they are not equipped with nurturing skills. A narcissist will never apologize, take responsibility, forgive, self-reflect, empathize, and express their real feelings. According to them what they feel and what they do is correct. Everybody else is wrong.

Unfortunately, dealing with a narcissist is not easy. Dealing with one usually brings along mental, emotional, and probably physical harm. In such cases, you have no choice but to refuse to engage with them on any level. If you want to avoid getting tangled up with a narcissist—if you see someone exhibiting narcissist behavior—it is best to keep away from them.

Confidentiality in Relationships

 Amit was on the verge of losing his job as a result of cost-cutting at his organization. He shared the information with his good friend Suraj. Suraj shared this information with a few common friends. Suraj’s wife did not agree with this behavior of his—she felt that he should not have passed on this information to common friends. But Suraj confidently felt that it was his duty to do so. According to him, Amit was in a problem, shared the information with him and did not tell him to keep it to himself.

Surj’s wife tried to reason with him that sometimes friends need not specifically tell him to keep some news confidential. He should know what has to be kept confidential and what can be shared.

What Suraj did was gossip. If Amit wanted to share this information with the others, he would have done it himself. Instead, he spoke about it only with Suraj, because he trusted him.

Here, Suraj refused to agree with the fact that he had to keep some information confidential. He gossiped about it to a number of friends which hurt Amit’s sentiments. Unfortunately, in reality, there are people like Suraj. They don’t seem to know or understand what’s right and what’s wrong.

Respecting and Keeping Confidences

The question here is, is it always necessary to share some information with a person and then say, “Pssst. Can you keep this to yourself?” Isn’t it better to keep quiet about it? Some people are strong enough to digest their problems and issues. They don’t share private information with anyone else. But, there are a few others who are not strong enough to face problems on their own. They have to share their problems and talk about their issues with their friend or someone.

Many of my friends share their deepest problems at work and at home with me. But not once do they tell me to keep it a secret. That’s because they know that I will not talk about it to the others or gossip about it. They trust me with the confidential information because they know that I know when to keep my mouth closed.

Many people like Suraj don’t understand the value and importance of keeping private and personal information confidential. This is because they expect people to tell them what is confidential and what is not. They don’t have the maturity to segregate this information themselves.

  1. You are in a party where you also happen to meet a colleague from the workplace. The colleague overindulges his alcohol intake and ends up doing a series of funny antics.Do you share this story back at the office with the rest of the team?

  2. You and your spouse had a quarrel.Do you go out and talk about the details with your friends and relatives about it?

In these examples, no one is explicitly asked to keep the matter a secret, but the right thing to do is to keep these things in confidence. This is called implied confidentiality. There is quite a bit at stake for the person in both the situations. In the first case, career and reputation of the colleague who got drunk are at stake.  In the second case, marital relationship, trust, and respect could be irreparably damaged.

Trust and Confidentiality

Believe it or not, there is a link between confidentiality and trust. Will you trust a person who tells you confidential information about the others? No, you won’t. Similarly, people will not trust you even if you tell them secrets and/or confidential information related to other people. If you can tell them about the others, you can also betray them. Simple as this.

Sometimes I see people always talk ill about their spouses to the others in anticipation of gaining sympathy, attention, and/or insulting their spouse. What they understand is that the others think of them to be untrustworthy.

In short, you trust a person you can confide in. You trust a person even more if you do not have to tell him/her what is confidential and what is not.  When you earn the reputation of someone who can be relied on, you command the respect and trust of people around you and build deeper friendships.

Confidentiality Tips

Are you someone who can be trusted with confidential information?  Here are a few tips when it comes to keeping confidences:

    • If you have been asked to keep something confidential, keep it to yourself. Don’t ever share this information with anyone else.
    • Use your judgment when it comes to matters of implied confidentiality.
    • There are times when relationships fail. Even in such a case, you should abide by confidentiality. You may be tempted to speak out of such information. But as a ground rule, information that was intended to be confidential should be kept confidential even if the relationship breaks down.
    • Do not speak about your marital/relationship issues with your friends. This is a personal matter. Your spouse will lose trust in you and your friends who agree with you when you tell them about the issue will see you as an irresponsible person. They will also see you as a person who does not value relationships.
    • When someone says, “I was asked to keep this in confidence, but I can share it with you,” let them know that you rather not be involved.

Your decision to share or not to share will affect how others view you. The next time you are tempted to share some information insult someone or to be the center of attraction in the group, ask yourself if you would like if others share similar information about you with the others.

When you keep things confidential that should be confidential, you will gain the reputation as a person who can be trusted, and you will grow strong in character and value.

I Believe…

I Believe That….

  • There is a little bit of nice in everyone (and probably a bit of evil in everyone too)
  • There is a God (I am not very religious nor do I visit the temples regularly, but I believe in GOD).
  • Miracles happen at times!
  • Rainy days are romantic 😉
  • Everyone needs somebody who loves them (difficult to survive without love).
  • One is never too old for soft toys and ice creams. I still love them.
  • Just because I believe something, doesn’t mean everyone has to.
  • You shouldn’t let others tell you what to do with your life.
  • I am a hypocrite at times!!
  • You don’t have to drink (read alcohol) to have a good time.
  • You don’t have to smoke if you are tensed or worried.
  • The smell of the earth, when it drizzles for a while, is fabulous.
  • I sometimes talk too much, but still, there is always more to be said.
  • I am here to make a difference 🙂

Career Myths: Part 4 (16-20)

Myth 16: IT Is an Ideal Field

We all are different individuals with different tastes, perspectives, values, personalities, and ideas. So, we perceive things differently—what may be fun to you may be boring to me. Many come into IT industry because of the stimulating opportunities and monitory rewards. Considering the different kinds of opportunities in the IT field, there is certainly

room for everyone with some interest or the other. Some areas will obviously appear more challenging and exciting to you than others. This again reinforces the view that knowing what the job entails is key to making wise career moves. What makes IT interesting to different people may be one or more of the following reasons:

  • It pays well.
  • It provides an opportunity to visit many countries without spending money yourself.
  • Make a niche for yourself in a short time.
  • Allow you to work on the cutting edge technology with the latest products and programs.
  • For individuals who are fascinated by certain technologies and like being a part of the organization, spending the whole day in front of a computer and working with such intellectual technology, isn’t work but play.
  • Constant change and the unpredictability of IT is major attraction. People with this frame of mind see life-long learning as life long excitement.

But are the first three reasons compelling enough to take up a career in IT? A career in the IT field gives you various opportunities, but it also brings in a lot of stress and pressure in your life. Now-a-days we hear about young IT professionals committing suicide because they are not able to perform well at work or because of stress at work. Is it worthwhile? You work to live, not live to work. So, why take away your life for work?

Myth 17: Change Jobs Often to Increase Your Value

Gone are the days when people entered an organization and took pride in retiring from there after 30-35 years of service. Now, it is the era of job-hoppers, those who hop, skip, and jump from one job to another. It is common to find candidates who had multiple jobs with short stays one year or even less.

Ever since the invasion of multinational companies started in India, employees feel that there is no logical progression within any one company anymore. To get ahead in the rat race, gain newer skill sets, and get a better compensation, people often make multiple moves in jobs or careers.

The million dollar question is, does it help increase your worth and/or value? No! It does not. Try to avoid short stints under 3 years. The reason is, by the time you settle yourself, get the required skills, and make a name for yourself, you decide to move on. So, you do not add much value to the team and to the organization. With down-sizing in the parent companies, increasing costs in India, the parent companies are more concerned about aittration. They have begin to wonder if it is really worth hiring candidates in India to spend time and money on their training, only to be geared to recruit a replacement.

Myth 18: Women Cannot Balance Career and Family

Wrong! Women can find time for both a great career and maintain a happy family. Balancing a career and a family is difficult and is a never-ending process, but it is not impossible. Women can carve out more family time by balancing time, being organized, and streamlining the household tasks. In short, planning and organizing helps.

Prioritization, organization, and delegation are key to achieving the balance that allows a woman to enjoy a rich family life while also gaining fulfillment from her career.

—Laura Betterly, CEO of In Touch Media Group, Inc.

    • As far as the women balance both perfectly, people at work and at home are happy, with her respective roles. Problem arises when
    • Women decide to run away from the household duties because they feel they are a class apart by being working women.
    • The husbands refuse to help and support them stating that house hold work is not for the men—it’s a woman’s job
    • Women find that they are not getting any help and support and try to do lesser activities (specially at home) to make their life easier.
    • They start carrying their problems to work and don’t focus on their roles and responsibilities.

If the husbands want a working wife, they have to lend a helping hand. They have to be considerate of the fact that their wives also have work pressures and work related tensions. Childcare centers, tele-commuting, and flexible work hours help, but most women depend on some creative mechanism for organizing and planning their time that works for them. You just need to know how to do the balancing act. Do not give undue importance to one over the other. In any case a balancing act requires careful planning, setting priorities, time management, and fiexibility.

Myth 19: Accomplishments Speak for Themselves

The saying that your accomplishments speak for themselves and that you will be rewarded accordingly is almost a myth. You need to work hard to accomplish something and stand out from the others. But don’t depend on just your work to speak out your accomplishments. You have to communicate and make sure your boss knows what you have accomplished. They should be aware of the problems you faced and how you overcame them to contribute towards the project and the team. Only then will you be rewarded for your true worth. Else you will be taken for granted.

Self promotion is actually the art of branding and bragging. This is how you stand out from the crowd and keep your accomplishments in your boss’s mind when it comes to raises, promotions, and succession planning, or when your company is trying to decide who stays and who goes during mergers, management shifts, and down-sizing.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re seeking advancement in your current position, ready to change an established career, or just starting out—you have to be ever mindful of cultivating your own personal brand and promoting it. If your boss does not take the effort to motivate your or appreciate your performance in public, you have to speak out and blow your own trumpet. Only take care not to blow it very hard.

Myth 20: It is Difficult to Get a Job If You Are Overage

It is and it is not! When hiring experienced candidates, age is definitely not considered. When hiring someone without relevant experience, age sometimes becomes a selection criteria. The reasons are:

    • After other experience, the expectations of the candidate is much more than a person who is relatively younger and inexperienced. Most of the times, organizations are ready to take in people with no related experience in junior positions and might offer a salary relative to their relevant experience and skills. Those seeking a job may not be able to accept the fact that after being experienced, they are considered to be on the same level as the trainees.

 In such a situation, ask yourself if you possess the skills required for this job? Do you have the relevant experience? Why should the organization pay you for the skills and the experience you don’t possess? This will give you an answer why you are recruited at an entry level.

    •  Most of the time candidates beyond 45-50 years of age find it difficult to get a change in career because they probably lack the skills, education, and experience that the employer seek. If you are looking for employment in an industry or an area that focuses more on youth, then will surely be difficult for you to find a new job.

 You need to be flexible and mature in terms of understanding and accepting your limitations. If you are comfortable working with youngsters, in a junior position, for a lesser salary (probably), and if you are confident of using the skills of your prior working experience to your advantage, age doesn’t really matter. On a personal perspective, age limit is more of a mental state than physical. If you are eager to learn and grow in the team starting from the basics, age is not a constraint. For that matter, age is not a barrier in any field if you are mentally and physically fit for the job/work.

Career Myths: Part 3 (11-15)

Myth 11: Changing Careers is Nearly Impossible

Gone are the good old days when people entered one company and then retired from there probably after 30-35 years. Now a days it is taken for granted that change is inevitable. If anything is constant, it is change. While you can never know 100% that you are making the right choice at any given point, your goal should be to make the best choice. Then, continue to evaluate and re-evaluate your choice. Your first choice of career may not be your final decision or your final choice. If you are unsatisfied with your job or the specific career field for any reason, you can always change it. Career planning is an ongoing and never-ending process.

People continue to change throughout this life. So, priorities, values, and interests also change with time. In the recent years, so does the job market. Hence, as you evaluate your career plans and priorities, it is natural to change careers to take care of your priorities. In recent years, experts predict people will make an average of 4 career changes. That is, people will work for atleast 5-6 different companies by the time they retire. Many graduates work for two to three years and then pursue management courses as a way to enhance their skills and change careers.

You may currently be working in one particular field, wanting to change your career. If you have decided to make a switch only because of some minor problems you are facing in your current job, you have made a wrong decision. You should invest your time trying to look for the solutions to the problems you are facing. Else, you may have time only to run away from problems. Change careers only if you feel that you are not happy with your career choice and you don’t want to continue with it.

Changing careers is not easy, but it is not difficult either. As the workplace continues to change and evolve, more and more people have started changing careers. In most of the cases, the people realize that they don’t like what they are doing only after getting into the job. If they get a chance, they move on to the careers of their choice. Nothing wrong in doing that. As long as you have a plan and do your best to stick with it, you should try and switch careers.

You can compare career to marriage. Earlier people were tolerant and patient. They made efforts to save their marriage by trying to make adjustments and changing priorities and their way of life. Now, they say that they are incompatible and are not made for each other. So they get separated and move on. The luckier ones find better life partners. Similarly, people change jobs without trying to find the root cause of the problems or trying to solve problems. The luckier ones find a good work place.

It takes much effort to switch careers and you may need to get related certification or training, get relevant experience in the new career field, and focus on how the skills you currently possess transfer to the new career field.

Myth 12: If You Change Careers, Your Skills Go Waste

You may be concerned about changing careers after 4-5 years (or more) of work experience in a particular field because of many reasons; your skills go wasted, or not wanting to join in a junior position, or because of the fear of loosing your seniority. If these are the reasons that is stopping you from making a change, don’t change careers. As simple as that.

But remember that these days the age old concept of equating the number of years of experience to seniority is no longer valid.

    • Your skills and experience will be wasted.

The fact is, your skills are yours to keep. Though you may not use them in the exact same way, they won’t go to waste. You can take them from one job to another. Any previous experience will be valid in terms of the soft skills (communication, team spirit, leadership qualities, maturity in making decisions, etc.) which will help you to get faster promotions if you are good at work. You don’t have to be close to the top of the ladder when you enter the profession. It is up to you to positively use the non-related work experience to quickly climb up the professional ladder.

    • You don’t want to join as a trainee or at a junior position.

Most of the time you have to, for the very simple reason that you will be learning the basics of the job just as the others. The same amount of time and effort will have to be dedicated to you for training (the concepts, process, procedures, tools, etc.). This is even more evident if the work experience you have is in no way related to the job you have applied for.

    • You feel that you will lose your seniority at work.

In a senior position, you are expected to make important decisions about the project, which can make or break a project.

      • Making wrong decisions, when you consciously think that you are right may cause a critical situation. Relevant experience, having the skills required for the job, and the work related knowledge helps in making the right decision at critical stages of the project
      • These days, seniority is decided based on the knowledge, relevant experience, and skills you have.
      • Seniority also depends on other personal skills like being a team player, mentor, leader, and a good performer to name a few.

Myth 13: Others are Happy, You Will Also Be

Everyone is different—they have different tastes, likings, d dislikes, attitude, and personalities, among other things. What works for one person will not necessarily work for another, even if that other person is someone with whom you have a lot in common. If someone you know has a career that seems interesting to you, first understand it, read about it, research it, and analyze it. Then, check if it suits your interests. You may like it, but there are chances that it may not necessarily be a good fit for you.

Example: Ravi’s close friends work in IT field—software development, software testing, usability testing, and web development. They all enjoy their work. Ravi has done his graduation in commerce and has always wanted to become a charted accountant.

After hearing the various things his friends had to say about their work, seeing the kind of salary they get, noticing that they did not mind working late hours, and the frequent over seas trips they made, Ravi decided to try his hand in the IT industry. He enrolled himself for a course in software testing. After completing the course, he spend about a year looking for suitable jobs. Finally he got a job in a well-known organization.

Now, it has been more than a year, but Ravi is not at all happy with his work, the job profile, the work culture, and the work pressure. He now hates all that he earlier liked about the IT profession. He feels that he took the wrong decision and worse still, he feels that his friends did not give him the right picture about the work and the job profile.

Though they all were good friends, it was not necessary that Ravi would like what the others liked doing. This is a universal problem. There are many rewarding and satisfying careers. Evaluating potential careers can be an exciting process. Try to fully explore all the possibilities and make a decision based on what would offer you the most satisfaction.

Myth 14: You Should Choose the Occupation That Is In Demand

Occupations are in demand because of the market requirement at a given point of time. You should not blindly follow the occupation that is in demand if you don’t enjoy doing it. What you enjoy and what is important to you about life and work should also be taken into consideration. Remember the dot.com boom in the late 90’s that led to a bust just a few years later, leaving thousands of people jobless? Predictions about jobs are usually made regarding the most wanted jobs based on the information collected form various dependable resources but then, things can change. There is a time lag between the demand for certain kinds of occupations and the response to this demand.

Example: These days, there is a need for nurses in the US and in UK. The demand outstrips the supply with a resulting increase in salary, fringe benefits, and opportunity as employers compete for the limited supply of trained nurses. The students feel that there is an increased opportunity for them to go abroad and make money in this field and hence opt for nursing.

By the time they graduate, the job market may become flooded, and the supply may exceed the demand. So, the bubble will burst and many will become disappointed because they will be competing with thousands of nurses who came into the field with the same idea as they did. Those who opted for nursing because of interest will be happy working in the local hospitals.

This kind of changing demand and supply situation can happen with any occupation. Remember the kind of frenzy created by medical transcription about a decade back? Nonetheless, job outlook trends can be useful information if used cautiously and not as the only factor in your career choice. The job market fluctuates constantly and employment opportunities can change dramatically as a function of economic conditions, advances in technology, and the labor supply changes. Most often what is in demand now may not be 5 years from now or the vice-versa.

Myth 15: Money and Status Reflects Success

Money and status are very appealing and there is nothing wrong in wanting to achieve these goals. However, be careful not to compromise your values as you consider potential careers. While salary is important, it is not the only factor you should take into account when choosing a career. Surveys have shown that money does not necessarily lead to job satisfaction. For some people making a contribution to society is more attractive than earning a large income.

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.

—Albert Schweitzer

    • Contrary to what you may think, high salary doesn’t necessarily equate to a high level of job satisfaction and personal happiness
    • There are people who get a low salary in comparison to their friends or peers in the same field, but have highly satisfying job. For such people enjoying what they do at work is much more important. So, they opt for a better job profile that gives them responsibility and flexibility at work. Not commanding a high salary does not mean that they are not successful.
    • Try to balance your salary requirements with a career that you feel confident will utilize your skills and abilities. As you evaluate career choices, think carefully about what success means to you.

Career Myths: Part 2 (6-10)

Myth 6: Most Students Know Their Career Goals

Being undecided is normal. Most of the college students do not to have a clear idea of what to major in or do for a career. Studies indicate that 30 % of the students are unsure about their intended major and 65-70% will change their major at least once during their college career.


Some students know what they getting into (engineering, medicine, etc.) and so they have a reasonably clear career goal in front of them.

    • Those who take engineering will become engineers and those who take medicine will become doctors. But they will probably make up their mind about specialization only after a couple years in the college
    • A few students may actually stick with their original goals they had before entering the college
    • Majority of college students change their minds about their main subjects and careers several times before they graduate.
    • As you study the subject and gain more knowledge about the careers and the subject you have taken, you may feel there is a mismatch between your aspiration and your educational background.

Exploring options will help you make an informed decision. Hence it is very necessary to have career counsellors in school level so that the children are aware of the various career options they have instead of thinking only in terms becoming a doctor, engineer, scientist, lecturer, or a pilot. Early counselling will also help the students (and even the parents) in taking a proper decision and a focused direction to work towards.

 Myth 7: Wait For The Right Career

If you wait, you will probably find yourself waiting. You need to put in effort and try to get into a job. You will benefit from a career plan—it is a careful and well thought about process after thorough consideration of different occupations. It is unlikely that you will just come across the occupation that will perfectly match your skills and interests. The more information you gather about the occupations you are considering, the more likely it is you will make a wise career decision.

Though some things beyond your control will influence your life, you must take an active role to determine your own fate. If you look around you and check those people who are unhappy in their careers, you will find that most of them just fell into something without careful planning. Many occupations have the potential to satisfy your career goals. Once you clearly define what you are looking for in a career, you will find a number of areas that match these criteria. After selecting the field of your choice, you have to select a suitable job.

Example: You may narrow down your search to IT sector or software field and then you can choose among dozens of occupations in this field—software developer, system analyst, user interface expert, quality testing, usability testing, database controller, data warehousing, network administration, etc.

As you explore each option further, you can compare what they offer in terms of advantages and disadvantages. For instance, of you choose to be a software developer, you should choose and area of specific interest—embedded software engineering, C++ programming, etc.

Myth 8: Assessments Will Tell You What Career Is Right For You

Assessments take a sample of certain kinds of attitudes and draw conclusions based on the sample. Test results can be confounded by many things; cultural differences, unrepresentative samples, and unintentionally biased items, to name a few. The truth is, no career assessment can tell you what careers are best for you.

    • They can give you an insight about how the interests and values that you already have are related to different types of careers, and where people with similar likes and dislikes can work
    • Assessment can provide you with additional information that may help you in the career planning process. Then, it is up you to explore careers further and decide if they are a good match for you.
    • No counsellor can tell you tell you what career is best for you or what to do with your life.
    • They can only help you identify your interests, skills, personality, work values, and show you the possible paths you can choose from. Then, they provide you with guidance and assist you in deciding your career direction and help facilitate your decision.

You know yourself the best. Use assessments with caution and get the test results examined by a career counsellor, keeping in mind your experience, skills, interests, and knowledge.

Myth 9: Recruiters Have Your Best Interests at Heart

Head-hunters and recruiters get paid by the companies that hire them to fill their open positions. So, recruiters are not interested in getting you a job.

    • They are only interested in getting the money from the organization. So, they will not market you to companies (for their open positions)
    • They only try to fit someone into a position with the companies that employ their services.
    • They are not really concerned if you will get a good job in the given organization.

It is also not necessary that their loyalties are with their client companies or that the organizations they deal with should get good employees.

Myth 10: Accept the First Job Offer You Get

Most of the time, job hunting is not very easy. You just can’t predict what is going to happen.

    • You may get a job at the very first attempt
    • You may not get an interview even after sending out numerous resumes
    • You may have to attend a number of interviews for one job
    • Sometimes you may be so sure that you will get the job but don’t
    • You may interview for positions and you are sure you will get an offer and no offer ever comes
    • There will be times when you get multiple interviews and get multiple offers as well.
    • There are times when you may be in dire need of a job. Under such circumstances, the tendency is to take up the first offer you get even if that is not what you want to do.

However stupid it may sound to be, if you are strong enough to wait for the right job, wait and do not grab the very first offer that comes through. As long as you are not going to lose your house or suffer other financial or emotional consequences, wait for the job offer that best  fits the direction you want to move in. Take up the job offer only if you are sure that the job profile and job choice is right for you. Don’t base your decision on compensation as it may not always be the right criteria. Chances are you may regret such decisions.

Career Myths: Part 1 (1-5)

Myth 1: Choosing a Career is A Simple Task

Choosing a career is a great start, but there is a lot more to do after that. You need to take into account your interests, values, and skills when choosing a career. Just because the feedback of an occupation is good, it doesn’t mean that occupation is right for you. You need to be focused and have a career action plan in place.


Career planning process has six stages and eventually ends in retirement. Choosing a career usually happens once in our lifetimes. Priorities and interests may change over the period of time—so it can also happen several times as you redefine yourself and your career goals. Career planning is a process, which requires a lot of involvement from your side. You should give it the time it deserves.

Planning your career will help you in the following ways:

  • It is a process that involves understanding more about yourself and the occupations which you are considering.
  • It will help you make a well-thought about and well-informed decision.
  • It will help you in achieving your long term career goals.

Myth 2: Experience Will Give You an Idea about the Occupation

Gathering career related information is an important part of the career planning process. This information includes educational background, training, job profile, salary, and career prospects, etc. While first-hand experience is great, it is definitely not necessary to have hands-on experience to form an idea about an occupation. There are other ways to explore an occupation.

    • You can read about the job. You may read about it on the Internet or buy some good books on the subject.
    • You can talk to people who work in that field.
    • You may join an online forum where you can post your concerns and queries if any. 
    • You will get suitable answers. You can also read the already existing information.

Myth 3: There Is Only One Right Career for You

Most people are capable of performing well in at least two to three different professional fields. The trick is to develop a good understanding of your values, skills, interests and personality. Then, explore those careers to find that one which best fits in your profile and interests. Career satisfaction can be found in many different careers. There are a number of options based on your interests, personality type and abilities.

Example: In general, if you are artistic and creative, you may enjoy being an art teacher, or a writer, or a painter, or an actor, or a dancer. Being specific, you may be artistic and creative. You may love painting and dress designing, but you may just hate dancing and writing. As you acquire more experience, your values, interests, and ideas about career may change. A career doesn’t always follow a logical progression so avoid thinking that the road you choose to take at this point in your life will remain life long.

Myth 4 You Cannot Mix Hobby and Career

Hobby is supposed to be some activities that you enjoy doing in your spare time. Webster’s Dictionary defines a hobby as a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation. The definition suggests that hobby and occupation are two separate entities. When choosing a career, choose one that is related to what you enjoy doing, even in your spare time.



Even though most of the hobby skills are gained informally, without formal education or training, you naturally become skilled in your hobbies. Then why do people not even think about their hobbies or interests when taking a decision about their career. Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you could spend more time on your hobby (like gardening, dancing, writing, acting, painting, or pottery) and get paid for it?

People are usually interested and very skilled at their hobbies. The combination of interests and skills are very compelling reasons to choose a career. These days, many people are innovative and experimental. They believe in mixing pleasure with business. They try to make their hobbies their career and are doing well in it. Many a times what you think you enjoy doing may not translate to a career. There may be some aspects of it that is not for you. In such cases, do your job and save your hobby for your free time.

Example: Even if you may have enjoyed training your dog a few tricks and to obey commands, doesn’t mean you can become an animal trainer or a veterinary doctor. Have you ever thought why the tailor who stitches well fitting clothes for you does not open a boutique?

That is because he probably sees it as his job not as his passion. It is also possible that he lacks the passion and the drive to do something more. When you attempt to turn your hobby into a career, you should have passion, patience, motivation, drive, and preserverance to follow up with your interests. You should also do your home work and research your career choice thoroughly.

Myth 5: Your Main Subject Determines Your Career Choices

Many employers look for qualities and skills that are not directly related to your main subject. Interpersonal skills, motivation, planning skills, critical thinking, organization skills, problem solving skills, positive attitude and the ability to work in groups are a few examples of what employers value. Most people find themselves working in fields that are only remotely related to their main subject.

    • Unless you are planning to enter an area that requires specific technical skills, such as engineering, architecture, medicine, or nursing, to name a few, your major subject does not determine your career. These subjects are more career focused whereas the other majors prepare you for a number of career options.
      Example: Many computer specialist positions are filled by candidates who do not have degree in computer engineering. They have chosen subjects in graduation (B.Com, B.A, B.Sc, etc.) that is not related to computers.
    • One major subject can lead to many different careers.


    • One career can be reached through having a major in many different subjects.


Even after getting a degree in a particular subject, students opt for business management in the areas that do not necessarily correlate with their major subject in graduation.

Example: John has done his graduation in physics, but chose to do MBA in business communication. Similarly, Mary, chose to do MBA in human resources after completing her graduation in engineering (computer).

So, in reality, it is possible to work in almost any career after graduating from a particular area. Most employers care more about your work-related experience and the skills that you have obtained than they do about your main subject at college.

Career Myths

Some people instinctively know which career they want to go into. For many, the decision is not always so simple. Choosing a right career is not an easy job as many of you may think it to be. Many people think they know the right way to go about selecting an occupation, but they often wind choosing a career that is unsatisfying.

When deciding which career you want to take up, it is important to take the time to think about what appeals to you and decide which jobs fall in the realm of your talents and strengths. Since you will be spending a major portion of you day at work, try to choose a career that will keep you stimulated and interested in the long term. 

Job security is gone. It is now a myth. The driving force of a career must come from the individual.
—- Home Bahrami

Some of the myths associated with career are:

For more information, read the book “Choosing the right Career”. For details, see  https://sajithajayaprakash.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/book7-choosing-right-career/


Want to Become a Technical Writer? Read This First.

One of the reasons for becoming a technical writer is because you like writing and, of course, you are good at it. You understand technology and want to combine both technology and writing. Unfortunately, many people come into this field, not because they are interested in technology or in writing, but because:

  • They hear it pays reasonably well.
  • They have heard about the demand for this special breed of people.
  • They are ready to take up any job. When they don’t get their dream job, they just want to settle in for any job for the time being.
  • They probably want to work for a year or two before going for higher studies.
  • Some ladies want to take up a job after a break and think this to be a good option.

Unfortunately, these are not the reasons to become a technical writer. First and foremost try to identify if this is the right profession for you. Money is important, but in this field, interest in the job profile and writing abilities are extremely crucial. This can make or break your career. Darwin’s Theory of the survival of the fittest applies to this scenario as well. Among all the others, only the good writers, with a genuine interest in the field will survive and progress further. The others will get stagnated, bored, and will be disillusioned by their choice! 

Having said this, I would also like to add that not many of the existing writers have come into this profession out of choice. I personally know some writers who wanted to make a career in software development, design, or testing. They did not get an appropriate opportunity and hence, they joined my team as technical writers, have discovered what it is, and have decided that they are content and happy with this profession. But this is a very rare situation and depends on the personal attitude and the basic interest (like reading and writing) of the person. So before you make a rushed decision, sit back and think.

A good technical writer plays a significant and important role in the organization just as a good developer does. Just as an engineer is hired to design graphics, create/develop the product, perform quality assurance, etc., you are hired to create documentation. So you have a specific duty to perform. Whether you believe it or not, agree or not, technical writing is a rewarding career.

My sincere advice is as follows:

  • Technical writing will NOT satisfy your creative carving. It requires you to write to in a restricted manner. You also have to follow styles and formats. It will not satisfy your creative appetite.
  • Do not be lured by the money. There are only a handful of writers who see this as a dream job! The rest see it as an optional job that pays well enough when they are not able to get their dreams jobs. But do not opt for technical writing just for this reason because when reality sinks in, you will become disillusioned.
  • Do not focus only on documentation tools. Many wanna-be writers believe that knowing the publishing tools will get them a job. Instead, focus on:
    • Language, writing, and presentation of information.
    • Subject and technologies (for example, electronics, if you want to document electronics consumer items or finance/commerce if you want to document banking software).
  • Read, read, and read. Try to read about various aspects of technical writing and understand the profile well. Apart from this, also take up reading as a hobby to improve your language. Learn to read for pleasure.
  • Practice. Practice writing in a restricted manner, using the generic rules and guidelines. Refer to books and the style guides (for instance, Microsoft Manual of Style). The more you practice, the more perfect you become.
  • Come out of the comfort of the cocoon. If you are basically a loner, try to become communicative and expressive with your thoughts and ideas. Strange as it may sound, this will help you a lot in your career as technical writing/communication is about communicating. You just can’t avoid it!

Here is a paragraph of the well-known poem “The Road Not Taken”, by Robert Frost.

I shall be telling this with a sigh,
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

More than two decades back, I chose the lesser known career options of that time and it has definitely made all the difference!