Selecting a career has been a big question, haunting humanity from many generations. So, what has changed from an era where the seniors of the family decided the right career for you, to this era, when a second class student is asked the question, what does he/she wants to be in future?
In the era, when career was merely related to Earning daily bread and family traditions, the freedom of choice for an individual in deciding his own fate was very less. Just a few generations back, the career options were either inherited through hierarchy or were mostly restricted to government jobs. Then, the quotient of liking a job was rather duty bound than a criterion in career selection. This portrays the binding circumstances in earlier centuries, when people were compelled to get into a career just for earning one or two meals a day. Remember our grand-parents telling us tales about their lives now and then, which made us think about the so-called 'reputed careers' which were a taboo for them but a trendy option to us.
A starving man is the most dangerous animal and can go beyond any norms and rules to achieve one morsel of food. They don't have an option of 'what they want to do in life' rather, it is more about 'what they have to do to survive'. Nobody aims to enter into a puddle by choice; situations and circumstances force them to do so. Today we aspire to transform our hobbies into careers, but the earlier generations had to use their talents to earn their daily bread.
A Chinese educationalist quoted, "with every set of new eyes, the view towards the world changes and so emerges new career options". In the last few generations, the perception towards many career options has taken a complete 360 degree turn. From something which was unacceptable, to something desired. To see this interesting change lets discuss few such careers.
Beautified from Barber to Beauty Salons
From necessity to luxury, haircut to hair styling, grass-cut to range of hair styles, barber shops to full-fledged beauty enhancement industry; the barbers and beauticians have come a long way. A common 'Naai' to hair stylist and beautician, nothing is same like before. Grooming yourself according to varied occasions and inventing and re-inventing the artistic visions by trying new styles and twists is the new trend amongst people.
As quoted in Barber College info blog, "The term barber and beautician were confused or misinterpreted until the late 1990's and early 2000's when large beauty corporations, who started haircut franchises and others in the beauty industry took a solid marketing approach at alluring men to their salons in the hope of generating higher revenue". They further explained about a transforming wave in this industry during early 2000's, when not only females but also males were equally involved in grooming themselves and the craze of hair colouring, weaves, braiding and so on were prevalent among both the genders. These transformations eventually lead to a rise in the barbering community and a sense of respect and prestige was inculcated in them. A mere barber shop owner could now aim of running a chain of salon as the renowned Javed Habib.
Ms Swati Khera, owner of Eye Catcher Salon in Dehradun says, "I am delighted to achieve a warm response from customers within few months and my entrepreneurial effort could materialise because of my family support and media coverage, just at a tender age of 20". This signifies the widened horizon of society, where the parents understands and support their teenagers in pursuing their dream professions.
Garnished from Cooking to being Celebrity Chefs
The industry which can never be at loss or out of trend is the food industry. Cooking has, is and will always be associated with the basic need and emotions of mortals. Since early ages, like the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, males were appointed to cook for the army and this further developed into hierarchical structure in professional kitchens. In the society where gender-differentiating careers were prevalent, cooking was a big deal for men and that too due to rising urgency. The movie 'Bawarchi', where Mr. Rajesh Khanna played the lead role of a cook gave a certain level of relief to the real cooks in daily life. Michael Ruhlman expressed in his book 'Food and Society' that, "Television is arguably the most powerful force shaping the culinary landscape today. More people are reached through television - entertained, educated, changed in some little or large food-related way".
In the 1980s and 1990s a surge of successful women chefs began making their name in restaurant kitchens. Women have also increasingly been entering and graduating from culinary schools. In the 70s and 80s, women represented about five to ten percent of those enrolled in culinary schools. So the rising interest in the food industry through television and also the exposure provided by market, led to cooking as a trendy profession among youth.
The idea of being a part of this industry is so fascinating in today's youth that Mr. Johann Raymond Barnes, currently pursuing hotel management degree course and working at The Oberoi Wild flower Hall, says, "Though the industry offers less in the beginning, in return of long hours of service and hard work, yet I am contented and blissed with the exposure. What else do one need apart from the best food and wine?"
Glamorized from Theatres to Star Celebrities
In the early eras, the drama theatres were considered wicked and against the valuable treasure of immortal soul. Today, there has been a complete transformation, yesterday's theatre has become the billion dollars acting industry. Konstantin Sergeievich Stanislavski, a Russian actor and theatre director of 18th century, kept his performances hidden from his family because being a professional actor was a taboo in the society and he was accused of embarrassing his reputed family.
Imagine, if even males had to face embarrassment for acting in plays, how difficult it must have been for females to step into this career option? This was the time when helpless and needy actors became part of theatres and earned their living even by playing female characters. The act of cross-dressings was not only common in West but was also eminent in Parsi, Gujrati and Marathi theatres. "The apparent anomaly of Indian males passing as females at the Parsi stage established a paradigm for female performance even before Indian women themselves had become visible on the screen" wrote Kathryn Hansen in her journal.
Recently in 2013, we witnessed a grand celebration commemorating 100 years of Indian cinema, by acknowledging the resplendent efforts of Dada Saheb Phalke, whose pioneering contribution led to the creation of Hindi film industry. There was a time when Anna Salunke played both the characters of Ram and Sita in Raja Harishchandra; and today multitudes of actors stand in a queue for achieving one single break in this industry. This change is possible only because of the endless efforts of various living legends, who have altered and broken the barriers of our society.
So what has changed in the last era?
Now you are no more known as a 'Naai, Bawarchi or Natak-wala' because the society perceives you through a widened scope. When people with immense passion followed their interest and created new heights for such careers, they widened the horizons of possibilities. This broadening of horizons has benefited both males and females, who are no more bound in the category of gender-specific careers. So, if you have a passion in any of these careers, if you think you have the talent to change a hobby into a profession, you are fortunate to be born in an era where your career is not about being compelled by situations but taken up by Interest and yes of course its trendy.
(Image Courtesy: Google)
By Meenakshi Ahuja
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