Helping our children to make career choices
With the higher secondary and senior secondary board examination and the results season approaching, ‘Career’ is one word which creates anxiety and curiosity not only among the students but equally among the parents. I am sure, in the urge of helping your child choose the best career option available, most of you might have read all the career related options and articles, might have reached out to at least a few career experts and would have consulted all your friends and relatives. In this whole process of seeking advice and asking for consultation, hopefully you did not miss talking to the most important person in this network where you can find all answers to your curiosity, where all your anxieties can calm down, that is your own child. Today’s article is an effort to throw some light on the evolving career perceptions among children and how parents can support their children in choosing one or multiple careers of their interest eventually helping them to lead a life of their choice.
As a result of galloping science and technology, emergence of diverse faces of information technology and the trends of globalization, many attractive new careers are coming up and some of the conventional ones are disappearing. I think as parents we should not only be aware of the emerging trends but also should be able to accept the change. Gone are the days where working would mean a nine to five job, on job training, 30-40 years in one job, Paid overtimes, Job Security, government employment etc. We are in an era of globalization and privatization where we see flexible working hours, not more than four years in one job, people opting for not one but multiple careers, demand for trained freshers or rather employable candidates, both technical and soft skills equally mandatory. I would suggest we should be able to show our children the reality. Neither should we force them to choose a career of our choice nor should we encourage them to completely fantasize about a career of their dreams. They should know it is truly challenging to choose career path that matches up with their personal passions and still puts food on the table.
Here are few suggestions on how parents can support their children:
- Talk to them from time to time about possible careers they might be interested in and why they appeal. Don’t make a big deal out of it. There will be plenty of opportunities for such an exchange of ideas that crop up naturally while you are doing something else. This way it won't seem forced or patronizing to your child.
- Encourage them to take an interest in the occupations or past careers of grown up family members and other adults whom they meet.
- Ask them about the help available in their school. Is there a careers library? Are there careers programs they can access on the school’s computers? Are there careers lessons or special sessions related to the world of work, job applications etc?
- Some schools arrange for their students to complete a career interests questionnaire. Check whether this will happen with your child. If so, it is an excellent opportunity to start a natural, unforced conversation about their future options.
- Help them to explore the possible employers, apprenticeship providers and further education courses available in your local area. You should be able to find lots of useful information on these things on the web site of your local council. Keep an eye out for things like open days (at colleges and training organizations) and careers fairs held locally.
- Encourage them to participate in out of school activities. These are valuable in themselves and will help greatly later on in giving a good impression to people like employers or course tutors.
- Encourage your child to seek advice when necessary from a careers adviser or anyone whom you feel has better experience and make sure you prepare your child for this discussion.
Above all these, a very important factor is to make your children understand that irrespective of the career they chose, they should try to achieve excellence through tireless efforts. No discipline is good or bad. Success depends on their attitude, approach and self-confidence. If all these are shaped well and efforts put in the right direction, triumph is certain.