Teenagers looking at the tail end of their school life can be inundated with all sorts of well-meaning but terrible career advice from their parents, teachers, and peers. Teenagers will often receive career advice like:
- Put security above everything
- Choose the career that pays the most
- Don’t settle for anything less than a prestigious job title
Many people will be happy to tell a teen that a job is a job, work is for paying bills, and it’s not meant to be fun.
Considering that we spend a significant portion of our lives working, it’s highly likely that the above advice could be a real downer for a teen who is excited about their after-school options.
Fortunately, your child does not have to settle for a life of meaningless toil just because it pays the bills and maybe a holiday every year. With some planning, they can forge a career path that is fulfilling and secure. Here are few tips on how you can help your teen plan their career path after leaving school.
1. Don’t Live Vicariously Through Your Child
Your child is not you. They grew up in a different era and have developed different values about what makes life worth living. You may have forged a fantastic and successful career for yourself, but that does not mean your child has to tread the same path.
Employment is an entirely different landscape from what it was 20 or 30 years ago. Many careers that may have worked back then probably won’t make as much sense these days. In short, don’t discourage a career choice your teen is thinking about just because it wouldn’t have suited you.
2. Help Your Child Discover Their Passions
A session with a career counselor can be enlightening because a teen may discover career options they had never considered before or didn’t know existed.
Many career counselors will issue an aptitude test designed to highlight a teen’s strengths and list a corresponding set of careers that changes according to the results.
Once a teen has some idea about their strengths and natural abilities, you can then sit down and brainstorm careers to create a shortlist of ones that appeal the most. The test results are a guideline only, so it’s critical not to get bogged down with their recommendations but encourage thinking outside the box.
3. Encourage Your Child to Explore a Variety of Activities
This tip is all about trying as many new things as possible to see what sticks. A diverse range of activities will help your teen learn more about themselves, what they are good at, and what they love the most. When they find activities they love, they can start exploring the career options available in those fields.
4. Get Your Child Involved in Social Activities
Get your child interested in joining a club, playing a team sport, or doing voluntary work. Who we choose to hang out with plays a significant role in the type and scope of goals we set, which applies just as well to your teen. Encouraging your child to surround themselves with amazing people will brighten their outlook and inspire them to seek out worthwhile opportunities.
5. Be a Great Role Model
Children study those around them to know how they should behave. It’s a massive responsibility for a parent to be the best role model for their children. If a teen lives with parents passionate about their careers, they are more likely to grow up believing they can also enjoy a fulfilling career.
6. Be Encouraging and Teach Them Patience
A rewarding, satisfying career is a worthy goal, but teens still need to know that they will have a lot of work to do before they get there. There may be a lot of back and forth as your teen considers the next phase of their life, so be patient and encourage them to keep exploring and learning more about themselves.
7. Find a Mentor
Mentors can be a fantastic resource for your child. If you notice your child leaning heavily towards a career choice, try to find a mentor in that field who will be a source of inspiration and can show them how fulfilling and rewarding the role is for them.