“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This question pops up almost as soon as children enter school. They’re automatically supposed to know what they want to study and what career they want to pursue for the rest of their lives. The issue is that they do not know what they want to do.
As a teacher, you may have students trying to figure out which colleges to apply to and what to major in, and for that, they need to know what career they’re interested in pursuing. How can they do this when they don’t understand the real world? What advice can you give them?
Consider the following with them:
1. What they are interested in. What subjects in school do they like most and are good at? Based on high school classes, they can get a general idea of whether they are more inclined toward science, business, the humanities, or something else.
* If students are still unsure of their interests, they may want to view online courses to see what they are interested in. They can also examine their hobbies and what they prefer to do during their spare time.
* What they enjoy can point them toward the industry they would enjoy working in.
2. Help them research. Encourage them to get internships, volunteer, or reach out to people in different fields to learn more about their career options. It can help them learn more about their possible career than any college info session.
* Through hands-on research, they can get to know what a person in the career they’re interested in does on a day-to-day basis. It helps because often, their impression of what a job is like may be completely off. Help them research what the job and the work environment are like.
* Will they work in a team or alone? Is the job repetitive? How do they climb the job ladder on that career path? Help them consider job stability, salary, and work/life balance when researching careers.
3. How they would like to earn money. Would they prefer the traditional or non-traditional way?
* The conventional way is to earn a monthly salary or have an hourly rate, whereas the non-traditional way could be like that of artists – working on a project, selling that for a certain amount, and having to live on that until they complete and sell their next project.
* Would they like to work a regular 9 to 5 ? Do they like to interact with people, or would they prefer something a little more behind the scenes? Do they like working with their hands or behind a computer? Go through all these questions with them.
4. Encourage them to develop valuable skills. To get a good job that is flexible, well-paying, and satisfying, students need to understand that they need to have rare and valuable skills to offer. Having a skill will give them access to more opportunities.
* Many jobs require specific skills. Some of these skills are more analytical, while others are more reliant on creativity. Some jobs require a blend of the two. Even though passion is essential in choosing a career, skills can open doors that passion alone will never open.
* Encourage your students to prioritize building skills; they will have more control over their careers and how much they earn.
In the end, no one ever truly knows how their future will turn out. Many times, people tell you they never thought they’d end up in a certain career, but they’re thriving nonetheless.
Help your students understand they become different people as they age. What they thought was their passion today may not be their passion tomorrow. It is possible to change careers later if they hate what they pick.
Statistics show people change jobs multiple times throughout their lifetimes, so they shouldn’t fear being locked into any one thing. They can always make a different choice.