For a young adult, the prospect of choosing a life career can be daunting and confusing. Despite the challenges associated with this decision, it is still usually expected by parents, college counselors, and even by the students themselves. After all, it could be the subjects they choose to study, the school they go to, or extra circular activities they involve themselves in that make the difference for the future. Though this might be true, I believe it’s more important for the students to know themselves and make quality decisions based on what genuinely makes them happy. Here are a few things to help children navigate career planning.
Help Them Identify Their Strengths
Have an open discussion with your young adult children about the things that they naturally excel at and that make them happy. I recommend keeping this talk positive and upbeat but allow them to speak freely about fears and concerns. Let them know that choosing a career path that includes using their gifts, talents, and interests could be much more fulfilling. Perhaps they have shown an aptitude for coding or IT. In this case, pursuing a career path that involves computers would be a strong candidate. And if they love art, creativity, and making things beautiful, a career as a graphic designer would help them include multiple interests.
Equally, if your child has areas that are more challenging, it might be best to approach career options that don’t require using that skillset. He/she might long to be a physician, but if they do not have the aptitude and talent for science, math, and memorizing a lot of information, that might not be a pleasant experience. Let them know that choosing a career for its prestige or paycheck will likely only cause stress and resentment. Let them be the judge of what makes them happy and fits their personality and passions.
Help Them Align Strengths with Passion
Do the child’s strengths line up with their passions and genuine interests? Commonly this is the case because what we love often gets the most attention. However, occasionally this is not the case. College counselors should be able to your child do research on various careers/jobs in a particular sect. It is likely that your child already has an idea of what makes them happy, even if it doesn’t seem like a good career choice. The key is to help them see they have options in each field that will best match who they are and bring enjoyment.
Help Them Think Outside the Box
The working world is constantly changing and career paths that were strong ten years ago may not be relevant now. When helping them consider a career, look at modern options that make sense for the current world we live in. Do also help them consider the future and how the world might change in the future. For example, working in fields that are cutting edge now will likely flourish in ten to fifteen years.
Let’s use the example from above. If the interest and aptitude are there, thinking about the future is a good way to create long-term career success. Your child could consider preparing to work in IT for a company like Securelogic if that is a passion and strength.
Additionally, roles that could be replaced by computers, AI, or even customers themselves are unlikely to remain lucrative or even viable career options in decades to come. Jobs such as travel agents, manufacturing, or even publishing are likely to see a decline as technology continues to develop.
Be a support to your young adult children as they approach these life choices. Be a good listener and always let them share their feelings, fears, doubts, and vision for their future. It is their life, and they need to feel like they have made choices that will help them be the best they can be.