Parental Support for Career Clarification
This week I had another opportunity to engage with a subject that I am passionate and also troubled about. If you think of it, we adults are constantly bending over and peering into the eyes of little kids asking “So what do you want to be when you grow up?”
Then next they are in high school, and towards the end of their high school years, they are required to select subjects which force them towards a set suite of careers.
Then after high school graduation, it is either find a job or go on to college…and declare a major.
The thing is, many if not most children select a career on their own. There is mild to no parental involvement.
This is troubling. Why? Up there with selecting our love-life partner…selection of a career is a chief determinant of our standard of living and by extension our quality of life.
Yet society requires citizens to make this ALL IMPORTANT life altering choice, at an early life stage. A life stage at which children and teens are woefully short on context and experiences to make wise long-term choices.
Many parents and guardians believe they can breathe a sigh of relief when their child chooses a career that is known to provide employment stability (if there is still such a thing) and a good income. Yet they overlook the need to explore with their child the rationale which has led to this decision. Thus they miss a teachable moment with their child on decision making skills. A skill they will need to navigate the increasing uncertainty and turbulence of the labour market and troubled economies.
Let’s face it, enough of us know…unhappy professionals who are in stable jobs which provide a good income.
A parent approached me to explore a career consultation with their teenager. I jumped at the opportunity to suggest that we have a separate parental session, to empower the parent to be a confident and strategic guide on the side to their child, in this ALL IMPORTANT matter of choosing a career.
In our session we discussed >> Normalizing the challenge of choosing a career, Researching labour market trends, Financial Literacy, & Professional Networking, to support their child in shortlisting at least 3 career options.
My Goal: To provide parents with a framework to have a focused conversation with their children about how salary, standard of living, quality of life, and financial independence are related to this one activity of…choosing a career.
I joked with my client “You don’t want your child to still be with you at age 40 years!”
Given the disruptive realities, these days that-is-a-thing, and not a mere joke.
Colleagues, please don’t allow the children in your life to select their careers on their own. Be strategic, help them fill in gaps in their understanding of the ‘Birds and bees of career selection.’
Career selection is a family affair.
Life & Career Coach
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