While in Navi Mumbai and certain outskirts of Mumbai, we often see the orange auto rickshaws gliding past us. The orange buggies are a new career; a career that has opened new vistas for women who now drive past us, just like men. Unconventional, isn’t it? That is the way it is for new age careers. Breaking stereotypes and gender barriers, is the new norm.

Let us explore a few non-conventional careers by name. 

Travel blogger, search engine strategist, social media manager, party planner, food stylist, fund-raising manager for startups and NGOs, crowd-funding campaigner, UI specialist, social advocate, environmentalist, animal rights activist, social media marketer, statistician, data scientist, app designer, blogger, social media influencer, medical sales representative, digital marketer, dental chair assistant, food technologist, technical writer, dietitian, hydrologist, orthodontist, art therapist, Douala, geriatric care givers, hippo-therapist, hydro-therapist, master distiller, wine taster, bike courier, private cab driver, ethical hacker, video game tester, cell phone bug fixer, robotics engineer, film set designer, film producer, women as combat aircraft pilot, to name a few unconventional career options these days.

Parents today need to keep in mind that no matter what their children pursue it should lead to a sense of fulfillment. It is not surprising to encounter countless graduates and post-graduates these days working as food delivery boys for the aggregates. Earlier, restaurants had their own delivery boys, but not anymore. Cab aggregates have shown the door to entrepreneurship for many a middle-class family man and we have seen people leaving their regular jobs and driving their own cars as a business. The earnings have diminished over time though although the lustful hunt for big money is still there. It is good in a way to drive a car and earn money rather than being jobless and unemployed falling a prey to waywardness.

While non-conventional careers often cause surprise and distress to parents whose generation never knew about such career tracks, they must remember that the world is progressing and today’s generation, and the ones that are to come, are not only progressive but well-informed. It might appear that they do not know much, but they will dig out the information from the internet when they need to. The older generation just needs to be supportive and encouraging. 

In earlier days, graduation was the norm. Today we have under-graduates and school drop-out’s working in MNC in respectable positions. It does not matter even if they are tele-callers, but what is important is the fact that they are working in a safe environment, with a respectable brand, earning their own livelihood. Caution has to be exercised by parents and well-wishers that such quick money does not lead the young adults astray towards alcoholism and drugs. 

Talking of unconventional careers, an enterprising jobless young man or a woman can often become and entrepreneur. Each state government in India has a department in place for supporting entrepreneurship and there are officers to guide such enterprising people to setting up units in a variety of small and medium enterprises, along with possible sources of funding. In Maharashtra, we have the Maharashtra Center for Entrepreneurship Development somewhere in Belapur, Navi Mumbai which can guide an entrepreneur towards the right path. 

Financial institutions too have loans through micro finance schemes which can help men and women at grass root levels set up small businesses and there are plenty of such success stories both at rural and urban pockets across the country. Yes there have been instances of such loans being NPAs but at the same time people have built steady businesses as well. Fiscal discipline is the key. Having a strong desire to do something is the key. To be gainfully employed and be independent should be our motto.

The author is the Dean – IIPC and Head of Training & Placements at Terna Engineering College, Nerul. He is also the Co-Founder and Trustee of MyRetiredLife Foundation, apart from being a startup mentor to a recruitment firm and a career advisor to an online learning portal. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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