"What do you want to be when you grow up?" The pressure children and young adults may feel to provide the “right answer” to this question can be overwhelming particularly when they are just beginning to learn about who they are and what it is they might like to do with their lives. The fact is, they will experience multiple careers throughout their lives with no one career defining who they are. Realistically, the career(s) they may end up pursuing may not yet even exist.
It is also important to remember that their career is what they will do (hopefully something they will enjoy doing) and is just one of many goals they will set for themselves. Other goals that will evolve along with their careers include lifestyle, family, where they live, etc. As influencers in their lives, consider how you can reframe this question to become less definitive and more open as you support today’s children and young adults in exploring career options and what they need to do to pursue and achieve their goals. And just as important, you will need to help them understand the importance of being agile and resilient so they are prepared to handle consequences of their decisions.
TIPS for supporting children in exploring careers:
Strategies to help students learn about careers and develop skills:
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