There's great advice in this article by Chris Oldenburg published in Better Parenting. The article is about the dilemma facing all kids as they approach the end of their school years. They need to make important decisions about their future and find careers that will delight and reward them over time.
Most kids of this age don't have a burning passion for a particular career path. They may have an idea based on childhood fantasy but soon realize most of these ideas are impractical. They also don't know all the options available to them or understand the important implications of the choices they make at this point in their lives.
As adults we have a greater life experience and have lived through the implications of our own career choices. Often these were not what we anticipated when we chose those careers. Many of us looking back regret the choices we made at the same point in our lives.
So don't let your own kids make the same mistakes. Help them find a career based on their passions.
Chris Oldenburg says this...
"We don’t want our kids to pursue paths that lead to 40 hours of boredom, where every day of the week seems like Monday. But are we really preparing them for life living out their passions? Are we living out our passions and excited to be doing whatever it is we are doing every day?"
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that not even 30% of people between the ages of 31 and 61 rate their feelings toward their jobs as “very satisfied”, and the rest of respondents reported being somewhat satisfied or not satisfied at all. Other reports indicate similar dismal findings. Salary.com shows an even lower overall satisfaction level among the workforce with only 15% of people being extremely satisfied with their jobs.
There are other big implications for choosing the wrong career path. Health is one of the biggest. Poor or unsuitable career choice can lead to -
- higher risks for anxiety
- higher risk for depression
- greater likelihood of high blood pressure, even outside of work
So what are the major factors and reasons why people end up not liking their jobs?
According to Dr. Katharine Brooks, author of You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career, there are several different kinds of reasons why people don’t like their jobs.
- The position is either too demanding or not demanding enough.
- There has been a lack of training for the position.
- There is not enough job security.
- The relationships with co-workers are negative components of the job.
- The job doesn’t pay well enough.
- There isn’t an opportunity to advance.
- There isn’t the opportunity for flexibility that allows for balancing work and personal time.
- The working conditions are poor, or even dangerous.
- The employee is simply burned out.
So how do we go about helping our kids find the right career for them? How do we help them make the right life choices? Many of us made poor career choices when we were just out of school. Many of us know we did but are still not sure what we should have chosen at the time. So how are we qualified to help our own kids make the right choices?
Here are some guidelines to start the process.
"According to groups such as the Search Institute, we need to be help our kids ignite their sparks – those things in their lives that make their hearts skip a beat, get them energized, and are the “essence of who they are and what they offer to the world.”
In the Search Institute’s research, it was found that only approximately 65% of kids in grades 5 through 12 could identify at least one “spark” in their own lives, and 55% of students reported that someone (such as a teacher or parent) helped them to find their sparks and support them.
Maggie Mistal, a career consultant, agrees with this idea. She says that:
“[People] haven’t clarified their values and thought about how they’d like to use their abilities to make a difference and align their work with their purpose. Too often people assume work is supposed to be a chore so they don’t even look for anything other than that when embarking on a career.”
So if you’re like me and many other parents out there – you want to find a way to help your children be some of those extremely satisfied adults, who have a spark for their day jobs, who have learned to pursue their passions."
Chris Oldenberg also asks whether a good education will ensure job satisfaction for our children. Will great grades at school and college ensure job satisfaction in our children's careers? Too many parents think their work is done when their child leaves school or college with great grades. Most often that's not the case.
You have to step in at this point and actively help your children find a a career path which will reward and fulfill them over time.
Here's what Oldenberg says...
"It used to be the sentiment that those students who worked hard in school, got amazing grades, passed tests with flying colors, and attended a four-year college, would be guaranteed success. Now, however, a college degree guarantees a large loan more than anything else, and too many students are graduating with degrees that don’t necessarily align with their passions.
Before you make the assumption for your child that his spark will turn into a full-fledged flame of career enthusiasm because he attends college, spend some time getting to know what those sparks even are. Maybe your child doesn’t even know yet because he has been too busy putting in time in education and not enough time putting in effort and enthusiasm for learning".
Chris Oldenberg concludes with a slice of her own families history. Her relatives ventured to this country as early settlers. Their experience is exactly what Oldenberg is talking about in this article. It's a great lesson in how far we have come and how far we still have to go. We have a great education system in place but thats just one piece of the puzzle. We must raise balanced and happy children that grow up into balanced and happy adults. Don't tread the same old path of thinking that if you give your kids a great education it will set them up for life. It's a good start but there's a whole lot more you need to do.
Mature thought and guidance must come from you as a parent if your children are to make good career choices and lead happy fulfilled lives. Don't panic if you feel you don't know how provide this guidance. There's a lot in this article to help you help your kids find a career.
First find your child's spark. Find what ignites their passions, protect it and allow it to burst into bright flame.