You might think that your kids are getting good guidance and exposure to career choices in school. After all, isn’t that part of what the school years are all about? But the fact is, kids may be getting a very limited exposure to what is actually out there in terms of job and career choices, and a parent can be a big help in opening up the big wide world of jobs and careers as kids are growing up.
Not every child is cut out to be a doctor, lawyer, teacher or nurse. Kids may see the high profile and easily-identified jobs and careers, but there are so many lesser-known ones that children often don’t know all their options. Not to mention, there is so much stigma around certain jobs and academic careers are really pushed in schools now–teens may get a very limited education about job and career possibilities.
After all, we do know our children pretty well and may have some ideas about what sort of work they might be suited for. This doesn’t mean we get to choose for them, but, for instance, I have one daughter who is not at all academically motivated. Of course, she could change, but as she is approaching the end of her high school career, she definitely needs some guidance and direction as to what sort of jobs and careers might be interesting to her and that she might be willing and able to prepare for. All she knows is that she wants to “get a good job.” What that is going to look like has yet to be determined. I have been working to help her see all the different possibilities and routes to a career that are actually out there. At school, she gets “graduate, go to college” as the mantra for choosing a career. That isn’t much help for her since she’s not sure what is out there or what she wants to do.
It helps if parents can think out of the box too. Get to know people from various industries, jobs, backgrounds, education, etc. and ask them about their work. I find that I am constantly discovering careers and jobs that I didn’t even know existed. The more we know and educate ourselves, the more we can help our kids discover what they might find interesting and rewarding work.