A career isn’t really about an end destination. The joy, and the gains, are in the journey.
Talking about careers with your child is an extension of showing an interest in their lives – helping them to move in a positive direction, towards a fulfilling future.
Bringing curiosity and an open mind to the conversation will help your child think in an unrestricted way about their options. But don’t be afraid to be realistic either, as locations and qualifications will play a massive part in what they’ll be able to do.
You could start by asking these questions:
- What’s their favourite thing they’ve done so far?
- What do they want to try?
- What do they enjoy?
Let’s face it, location plays a massive part in any job hunt. What’s around them will dictate what they do – and if they move abroad, could be a decisive factor in where they go.
Facts and figures on local labour markets will help you pinpoint the roles that are set to grow in the future and where the opportunities are likely to be.
In the future, what do they see themselves doing? Will they stay at home, move to the city or travel abroad? Imagining themselves in ten or fifteen years time what are they doing? And if they already have an idea of what they want to be, have they done any research on the ways they can enter the industry?
Where they fit in
Think about your child. Who are they and what are they good at?
It’s key that they have a level of self-understanding and self-reflection, to enable them to understand where they fit into the whole process.
You could try to:
- Encourage your child to explore opportunities that they’re interested in
- Share your own experiences of job hunting and education to help build trust
- Research together – it’s important for the two of you to talk everything through.
And remember, although you might be keen to get involved, it’s important that you don’t burn yourself out with research. Try using My World of Work with them, to help them explore their options and identify routes to success.
The new way of working
Once, security was assured in certain careers, but things are changing.
Young people should be prepared for a life that might include several jobs, across a spread of industries. Short-term contracts are now commonplace. And they’ll be working till they’re older.
It’s far more common that people find themselves self-employed, or in workplaces that encourage virtual or flexible working practices.
Consider self-employment, and how these types of careers work. Could you see your child running their own business? What opportunities could they create for themselves?
Technology is also having a serious impact on the jobs that we do now, and those we’ll do in the future. Now, it’s about being flexible, nimble and adapting the skills that we have to fit the changing environment.
Where you fit in
It’s their life - not yours.
Don’t push them too hard or you could drive them into something they don’t want to do. Remember to forgive yourself. Trust yourself, and remember you’re doing your best. The fact you’re even reading this speaks volumes about the fact that you care.
- Stay curious – the only way to understand the future jobs market is by looking at it
- Think about your own personal and professional networks. Who could you introduce them to that could help them in their career?
- Be supportive. This will build trust, meaning that they will be more likely to share experiences and thoughts with you
- Find a moment to talk it over. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the ‘right’ moment – it’s about checking in regularly, staying observant, keeping them motivated and moving forward
Ultimately, they’ll make their own decisions.
And if you feel that they’re heading down the ‘wrong’ route, don’t panic. Sometimes we need to create our own roads.
Their response to challenges and setbacks creates resilience, which they’ll need in the modern workplace.Go back to careers discussions