Author Muhammad Shakil Naz
Pakistan appeared on the world’s map as an independent sovereign state on 14 August 1947 as a result of the partitioning of the subcontinent. Till to date, the country has not seen political stability due to the ping pong game of power played between the Military and the Civilians. This phenomenon has affected the thought process of the society in almost every segment of life including the selection of career; military or civil, for mainly the male youngsters who have just completed their high school education and are about to start their undergraduate studies.
Due to the nature of the topic, this article focuses more towards the career selection for male youngsters of Pakistan. Choosing a career for a youngster in Pakistan at a tender age of 17 to 19 years involves more of emotions than wisdom. It is primarily the responsibility of parents, secondly the teachers and thirdly the friends and other family members to help him take the most important decision of his life. After listening to everybody and considering his own thought process and career ambitions, he should priorities the available options.
Considerations to Choose a Military Career:
Following are the most common attractions in front of Pakistani youngsters as well as their parents while choosing a military career:
- To be a part of the power center in the country.
- To be a member of the elite class of the society while belonging to the middle, lower middle or poor social class.
- Social uplift of the image of self and family.
- No education expenses.
- Free clothing, food and accommodation during basic education and training.
- Handsome pocket money right from the first day after joining the military service.
- Personal freedom at an early age.
- Adventure and opportunities to travel inland and abroad at service expense.
- Better prospects of finding an ideal spouse.
Considerations to Choose a Civil Career:
In the case of majority in Pakistan, first and foremost consideration while choosing a civil career is that the decision for not going for a military career is finalized. There are some exceptions where the individual has clearly defined nonmilitary career ambitions. The decision for not going for military career is usually based upon one or more of the following factors:
- Not interested to a military career.
- Interested in a military career but lacks physical conditions to meet the requirement.
- Not successful in the recruitment process of a military service.
- Lack of awareness and access to right opportunities to join military.
- Non availability of authentic guidance.
After the decision to pursue a civil career is taken then there is a big decision making situation in front of the young soul and his parents. The youngster if not confused what career to pursue would most probably have a dream of his own to be fulfilled. At this stage he will not have all the contours of his dreams clearly defined to convince his friends and family to let him do what he wants to do. The parents would usually push him to take a tested and tried career option such as engineer, doctor, accountant, banker etc.
In Pakistan, formal career counselling almost does not exist or not available to almost 99% of the students. At the early age, the young people are usually attracted to professions linked with the hobbies and other things they feel good at. It is important that they must understand the difference between a career and a hobby. It is a rare coincident that one can successfully develop his hobby into a career. The parents and teachers are the most appropriate people who can help the young soul in differentiating between a career and a hobby and making the most realistic choice to choose a career.
The career should be chosen based upon more realistic factors to achieve social and financial goals. The realistic factors are different for every individual, however, following are considered to be a non exhaustive list of universally acceptable factors to be considered while choosing a civil career:
- Liking for a particular profession.
- Own aptitude, capacity and capability.
- Clarity of career path.
- Opportunities in the job market.
- Opportunities of getting education abroad.
- Financial affordability to undertake the chosen study programs.
- Selection of university/college of good repute.
Pros and Cons of Military Career
- Free education.
- Personality grooming.
- No worry to struggle for getting a job after graduation.
- Handsome stipend (pocket money) from the very first day after joining military service.
- Free uniform, boarding, and lodging.
- Complete medical facility free for self, parents, wife and children.
- Concession in air and train tickets.
- Better social image.
- Rigorous physical training during early years not manageable for some.
- Very high standards of obedience even against personal will.
- Promotions are competitive and performance based unlike in Government jobs in civil departments where seniority cum fitness is the only criteria to rise in grades. However, in private sectors, career progression is also performance based.
- Like any Government job in civil, in military job as well the financial benefits and entitlements are same for all persons in same ranks. One does not get more for doing better except securing a better probability to get promoted to the next rank.
- Joining a military service is a long term commitment.
- Most of the military personnel leave their service at around the age of 40 due to reasons such as not being promoted, or not being satisfied. At this age and with their set of skills, they do not find good opportunities to start another career.
Pros and Cons of a Civil Career Compared to Military Career
There are three main dimensions of one’s career as a civilian i.e. public sector, private sector, own business. Listing pros and cons separately for all three dimensions may lead to lose focus on the subject. Therefore, following list of pros and cons is generic:
- Have wide spectrum of options to chose a career.
- Have flexibility to switch professions during studies as well as at any stage during pursuing a particular profession.
- Have flexibility to simultaneously undertake multiple money making activities. It may be combination of a formal career and some informal activity on the sideline.
- Intellectually gifted persons will be free to follow their own intuition if they so desire.
- In case of own business and in private sector, the amount of money to be earned will depend upon the amount of efforts by the individual, his capacity to work and his capability to manage well whatever he is doing.
- Promotions in civil Government departments are less competitive as compared to military service. Seniority cum fitness is the only criteria to be promoted to next grade.
- Fast track career progression in private sector and fast growth of own business is possible due to competitive environment.
- No free education.
- Jobs after studies are not guaranteed.
- Poor job security in private sector.
- No formal training for character building and personality grooming.
- Longer time to get settled in life.
To summarize, the focus in selection a study program after intermediate (equivalent A Level) education should be linked with clearly and well deliberated plans to pursue a particular career. Military profession should be chosen only when there is a passion for it or when all other options have been exhausted. Government jobs should be focused if you do not understand the dynamics of private sector and entrepreneurship. Jobs in private sector should be focused if you are highly motivated, creative, tactful and lot more other personality factor fit to face very competitive environment. Lastly, the entrepreneurship is not everybody’s game. very few are naturally blessed for kind of career and some have the capacity and capabilities to learn the skill required to be a successful entrepreneur.
My recommendation is that as a first step in choosing a career path one should get guidance and learn in depth about entrepreneurship and identify what can be done in this this direction. Parents and teachers help is extremely important in this regard.
To read more Blogs from the same Author, visit Blogs Section of Pakistan’s Largest Business Directory.