We Are Failing Our Children With Poor Career Advice

So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. My father could’ve been a great comedian but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. So he made a conservative choice. He got a safe job as an accountant, and when I was 12 years old he was let go from that safe job and we had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance at doing something you love. – Jim Carrey

How many of you out there working crappy jobs that you hate resonate with the above quote? According to the latest statistics, 75% of people in the US hate their jobs. Not mildly dislike, not going through the motions, they literally hate their jobs. The results from Australia (where I live) aren’t much better. This all starts with the lack of help given to children at the end of school when they begin to make decisions about their career. We live in a world where there are generally only two pieces of advice one can receive as career advice, depending on what sort of family you grow up in and the school you go to. One camp will tell their kids to “follow your passion”. Unfortunately much of the time this is where the advice begins and ends – an entire career reduced to a short sound bite that actually gives very little information. The other camp are the pragmatists, people who guide their children or students based on the belief that the only reason to work is to make money, regardless of whether or not you actually like your job.

We fail our children when we give them career advice most of the time. We tell them when they’re young that they can do anything they set their mind to, but when they express the desire to be an actor (for example), the advice changes to “there’s no money in that, you need to go into finance or engineering”. It’s always assumed that the child can’t succeed and make it to the top, so there’s no point in trying. No wonder so many people are so pissed off about life. They are told to have dreams when they are a kid, and then those dreams are brutally cut down in the name of fear and pragmatism from their parents and teachers. There is no doubt that some people wind up in a job they don’t like for reasons that are entirely their own doing, but the reality is that they have also been left behind in some capacity. Maybe they never knew what their options were because the school had no guidance counsellor. Maybe the family history was to simply get a job, any job, and raise a family. Regardless, they are now one of the majority of people that hates going to work.

A huge part of the problem is the responsibility placed on children. At 16-18 years old, a person has no idea what the real world is like outside of school. Yet they are expected to work out something they want to do that not only pays well but makes the family look good too. Keeping up with the Joneses is alive and well when it comes to your child’s career. We certainly can’t have Billy being a mechanic, even if it’s what he wants to do. So they will also be pressured into college, because of course you have to go to college! This leaves many with a useless degree, average grades (because they aren’t really interested in the first place) and crippling debt before they even start work. They then need to go out and get a job, any job, so they can start to pay off that debt. And just like that, with that one decision their life has gone down the road which leads to them being one of the 75%.

It’s time we stopped just leaving our children to figure it all out on their own. It’s time to stop giving toxic advice based on our assumptions of the career they want or what we think they should do. It’s great to see organisations like YouSchool now getting traction and helping kids to achieve a career that they actually want. The word “dream” also needs to stop being seen as something stupid and not pragmatic. When someone dreams of a career doing something that they love, that’s not a far out concept and it shouldn’t be ridiculed or thought of as unrealistic. Every single pursuit in this world has someone doing it, so why shouldn’t your child be one of them?

When our children express interest in careers we may think are risky or don’t align with our values, we need to stop immediately blurting out that there aren’t job prospects. We need to stop judging. Parents seem to forget when offering their children advice that they haven’t been in that position for 20 years – considering how massively industries can change in 5 years, a parent really isn’t in a position to be offering advice about job prospects and what is or isn’t possible. Instead of immediately trying to guide our children into what we want and think is best (based on our own faulty assumptions), perhaps we should ask them to tell us about what they want to do? How about we ask them why they want to do that before we try and close the door on what is completely their choice. We need to be helping our children either find what they want to do or achieve it. We need to be helping them meet people, getting their foot in the door and giving them every chance of success in what they choose.

Where Career Advice Might Live in Our Life

Most of us have tripped into our careers. Even those who went into professions like law and accountancy tell of taking up the training as nothing else had happened for them.

Why is it that most of us have not experienced career advice? In schools it is usual that the careers teacher is doing that job as one part of a wider portfolio. And that role is often administrative as the expectation is that there is a library of information that students can access. In universities it is not much better. One of the UK’s top universities requires students to pre-book a session where the student then has 15 minutes help with their cv. It is probably useful advice. How useful is it in the context of career advising as we might want it?

In business schools the students invest significantly for their programmes. The full-time MBA is paid for by the student who has also the opportunity cost of not working. The benefit and risk issues is significant to them. The part-time MBAs at business schools are over 2 years and are usually sponsored by the employer of the student. There is less risk to the student; they continue to be paid and their job continues after their MBA has been completed.

In these business schools, careers advice and support is critical to the full-time student. The student needs to understand fully the level of support that they will get throughout their course as the course budget gets squeezed by the costs of all the other components of the programmes. On the part-time MBA, the employers are skeptical (scared?) of any career advice lest the students walk away after the MBA is completed.

The stages above are just 3 examples of where career advice is useful. Some people are fortunate that they have access to good advice. They may have a parent or parents who take an interest and who are able to encourage their offspring down an appropriate channel. Sometimes there is a teacher or a mentor who has specific experience that is helpful. For most, though, the career issue is not prevalent until it lurches into view at key moments – when one leaves school or university or when when has finished that Masters.

These examples are obvious as they are at “rite of passage” points in our lives or where we may have taken a key decision to invest in our career. What would happen if careers were more central to our learning experiences at these key stages?

The best careers advice is achieved by understanding the capabilities of an individual. In a school context this is often well understood by the teaching community as they are working with the students regularly in an academic, pastoral and ex curricula way. They are also measuring regularly to feedback to students and parents and also to relevant external bodies. The wherewithal to undertake good career advice is there. Most schools are not resourced to provide it.

The main issue seems to be that, as a society, we do not value careers as an important subject. Whether it is in schools or with people in work who are careering (rather than controlling) in their careers, the lack of value pertains. Some people do take proactive action and they broadly fall into 2 camps – they are in pain and distress because they have lost their jobs or they are bored and frustrated and know that they have to move out of what they are doing.

Taking care of your career is a lifelong responsibility. The earlier that we can value that notion and learn how to take care of it, the better it will be for the whole of one’s working life.

Simon North is the founder of Position Ignition – a modern day, very personal careers advisory service for professionals. Simon is a career and transition expert with over 25 years experience in helping individuals with their careers. He uses his unique approach to help individuals with their personal and professional development.

Should You Be Taking Career Advice From Career Counselors?

What Do You Do When You Are Confused About Something?

Let’s say you are facing a career related confusion; say perhaps you are not sure which career you should get into, or perhaps you are unclear of what course you should take up in college, or for that matter, what subjects you should study in school or college; what would you do if stuck in this kind of situation?

More often than not, people take career advice from either their friends, or family or teachers. They feel that the family and teachers have best knowledge about the courses and the subjects and job market and therefore, they would be able to easily give them the best guidance when it comes to career decisions. And sometimes, people think that the emotional connect they have with their friends is what is needed to really understand their dilemma and confusion and guide them out of their career confusion.

Finding The Right Approach Towards Making Career Decisions

However, this is where people mostly make mistakes when it comes to career decisions. No doubt that friends have an emotional understanding of the personality that one has, and that family and teachers have good knowledge of what is happening in the market and what is an upcoming career and which is high paying job, but, what we tend to forget is that career decisions should not be based on just an emotional understanding of one’s personality or just on the knowledge of our senior about the industry and the market. It is high time that people awaken to the reality that career decisions should be based on what matches one’s aptitude, personality and or interests, or, in simple terms, one’s inherent strengths or talents.

There are many who feel that they do not have any talent or that if they choose a career based on their passion and interests then it won’t pay too well. What one must understand and always remember that each person is born with a unique talent. Each person’s talent is made up of their own personality, aptitude and interests. A combination of these 3 can only be unique in each individual.

Another factor that one must understand is that if one chooses a career based on just interests, then the chances of not performing well in that career are high. This is because interests are fleeting in nature. What one has an interest in today, might not have the same interest in tomorrow. A classic example for this is how when a child is growing up, his/her desire for an ideal career keeps on changing every year – from being a doctor to a pilot to the prime minister to teacher and so many other careers.

That is precisely why; every individual must make the conscious effort of understanding their own aptitude, personality and interests. Once one knows what they are and who they are and what comprises them, then they’d be able to better identify the career that they should get into. And precisely because this course or this career decision is based on ones on inherent strengths, that is why, the chances of performing well and succeeding in that career are high.

How To Identify What Is Your Aptitude, Personality And Interest?

Now the question arises that how does one identify what is ones aptitude, personality and interests? This is where the role of a career counselor comes in. They measures the aptitude, personality and interests of the individual through scientific methods and psychometric tools, the results of which are then carefully analyzed. After that, a detailed report about the inherent strengths of the person is shared. Careful and appropriate advice is given to the individual on what will be the best suited career for them, what course they must take up, what subjects they should study, and if there is a certain gap between the best suited career and the personality of the individual, then advice is given on what corrective measure can be taken to overcome that gap.

Role Of A Career Counselor

This is why the role of a career counselor is beneficial in making career decisions over the role of friends, family and teachers. A career counselor offers advice not on emotional grounds or based on industry norms, or what is the general trend of the time, rather, a career counselor offers advice based on what is the best option for the person, depending on their own unique talent and inherent strengths.

So next time you are confused about making a career decision, do yourself a favor and gift yourself the expert advice of a career counselor.

Top Career Advice – More Choices and A Better Way of Life

Why Career Advice Is So Important

Choosing a career presents a nerve-racking decision, as it can have a life-long impact on you. Do not fret, as you can gain a clearer outlook into your future by thorough career planning.

Having a clear vision of the future can guide you by helping you set career goals and helping you on your way towards attaining them. Whether you are starting out on a new career or looking to change your current career, you will benefit enormously from taking sound advice.

Don’t Spend Most of Your Life Doing …

Chances are that you will be spending a great deal of time at your job, about 40 hours a week. Career advice and career profiling can guide you to a job that is enjoyable for you and matches your interests.

There are many reasons people change their careers and career advice can help them along the way. Some frequently cited reasons are:

· Stuck in a dead end job.

· Lost interest in current line of work.

· Gained a new interest in a different career option.

A Job For Life … Not Anymore

In today’s world, there is increased job rotation … also with the down turns in the economy, many people can be laid-off.
Good career advice for unemployed persons would be to consider a career change. Some of the fastest growing occupations are Medical Assistant, Network Systems Analyst, Physician Assistant, etc. Occupations that are struggling to gain workers can be a suitable option for currently unemployed individuals.

People often back off from changing careers if they are unsure of the effort it might take to start a new career and learn a new trade. If you are one of these people, career advice from professionals can help you make a knowledgeable decision.

How To Identify Your Career Choices

When choosing a new career field, career advice and career planning can help you figure out your career choices. When embarking on a new career, you need to take into account your previous education and work experience.

You should start thinking about the skills you currently possess and how they can be beneficial in each of the new career options available to you.

Have You Considered a Career Test?

Valuable career advice can come from career tests as they can help in identifying suitable job options. Career tests include tests such as personality profiling, leadership skills, motivation, management style, etc.

The results of such tests can give you the career advice that can direct you to a suitable career, by matching your interests with career options.

Many career tests are offered online. They may be free or available for a small fee. Many experts provide the career advice to employment seekers to take some time to plan their career and set their goals. Knowing your career goals can provide you with valuable guidance.

Remember that career planning and goal setting is an on-going process, changing as you continue on your career.

The web can be a great source to find valuable career advice. It can provide you with many resources to research new career choices and find out information on a particular career field such as average salary, work environment, job responsibilities, etc.

Use Resumes That Give You an Advantage

Whether you are starting a career, changing careers or looking for a different job in your present career, the best career advice is to have a great, eye-catching resume.

You may be thinking about using your old resume, maybe the one you made after graduating from college. However, you will have to make changes to that resume to make it relevant to your present situation.

Upgrade your resume with the additional skills and experiences you have acquired. People going through a career change, need to present the skills they have acquired through the years in a way that makes it relevant to the new career jobs for which they are applying.

You may not have all the standard education for that career, so you need to convince potential employers that your previous education and work experience have given you the skills that make you a suitable candidate to transition into that job.

Career planning involves gaining information that can ease your transition to a new career. This information can help get you out of your current dreary jobs and into a dynamic and interesting career.

Act Now… and Take Control of Your Career

It’s never too late to think of making a career change… seek professional career advice and give yourself the best chance of achieving your career goals.

Career Advice Vs Career Development – Can You Spot the Difference?

Career advice these days comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s easy to get “lost in the lingo” but understanding some basic definitions can help ensure you get the right support for your needs. To put it simply, whether you need career advice or career development depends on where you are on your career journey.

Webster’s online dictionary defines career as, “a profession for which one trains and which is undertaken as a permanent calling,” and advice as, “a recommendation regarding a decision or course of conduct.” Put the two together and you can see that career advice is usually something specific, a tangible piece of information given to meet an immediate need. It can answer questions such as, “How can I choose the right part-time job for me?” “What are the right clothes to wear to an interview?” or, “What professions utilise both art and technology?” There can be a sense of urgency when seeking career advice, as the answers that are sought are usually ones that require a timely response.

Career development, on the other hand, is often seen as more of a big picture view. While advice may be something you seek to meet an immediate need, career development is something that unfolds with time. The dictionary definition of development, as noted by Webster is, “the act, process, or result of developing.” It can be thought of as an evolution of one’s career path, and can occur both consciously and unconsciously (have any of you woken up and thought, “just how did I get to this place in my career?” It’s more common than you think!) Having a career development discussion usually means you are thinking about things that have a wider scope. You may be wondering about future decisions, you may be thinking about how you can develop your skills to ensure continued growth in your field, or thinking about upcoming changes in your life and the role your personal values have on your career. Answers to these sorts of questions are usually ones that take time to unfold.

Both career advice and career development are important components in your own personal career exploration. Understanding these foundational terms will ensure you get what you need, and at the right time. If you are confused or have any doubts as to what you want to discuss, meeting with a qualified careers adviser can help steer you in the right direction.