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Rum_Pirate
01-22-2014, 02:01 PM
The advice I received from my father was along the lines of "I don't care what you do, but suggest that you get a qualification to fall back on when you are bored of being a beach bum with no money".

Anyone got a method, aid, suggestion(s), guide on how to help a teenager in deciding on a career?

The response from the heir apparent to the question 'What would you like to do?'

currently gets "I don't know".


Anyone got a method, aid, suggestion(s), guide on how to help a teenager in deciding on a career?

What help/advice did you get?

TomF
01-22-2014, 02:15 PM
I suggested a few things to my kids.

Think about the type of lifestyle you'd like (small town, city, self-employed or other, international options etc.) first, and then try to see which of your interests could enable it. In my line of work, I can really only work in about 9 cities in Canada ... but I'd have been just as happy and successful working in other fields which could be done pretty much anywhere.
Look at the population demographics of where you want to live, and think about what kind of goods/services the largest bulk of that population will be requiring at their stage of life, when you're going to be finding and working a job. The bigger your market for services, the more likely you'll have a job.
If you're going to need to do a lot of post-secondary to get to your "real job," strongly consider getting a skilled trade ticket first ... in a field that meets criterion #2 above. Fixing plumbing or pulling wire in renovations is a whole lot more lucrative than flipping burgers, so you'll end up with a lot less student debt from the training for your "real job."


Know what? My kids are listening. The Daughter's in a professional program that had 100% of the grads get full time work within 3 months last year - in my region. Son #1 is applying to med school, and is considering specialties like neurology or anaesthesiology. Son #2 doesn't quite know what he wants, so he's planning to do an apprenticeship in welding first ... and figure out what else he might want to do (if anything different) while earning a paycheque.

Rum_Pirate
01-22-2014, 02:26 PM
Thanks Tom. Y>

ahp
01-22-2014, 02:39 PM
Do something he loves, and pays enough to live on.

Ian McColgin
01-22-2014, 02:41 PM
Do what you love. Screw how much money it is. And don't whine about the consequences.

Breakaway
01-22-2014, 02:45 PM
Follow your bliss. Money( enough, anyway) will be there.

Kevin

Ted Hoppe
01-22-2014, 02:54 PM
No need to rush to the end goal of a grand career - spend the time to get the best education possible while fostering fearlessness, curiousity, adventure, and joy. Careers come and evolve, but a bold, joyous person remains happy and interested throughout their lives. They are also the ones who find themselves fortunate in friendships and positions no matter the curcumstances.

Lew Barrett
01-22-2014, 02:55 PM
As much as I'd love to agree with our wise and sensible Tom, I take a somewhat different view.

If kids don't know how to answer "that" question (some already know what they want) there's likely a very sensible reason; they are not prepared to make that sort of decision. One thing most teens really do know (a precious few are lucky, have an abiding interest and are more motivated) is that most work looks boring, especially the toil of their parents :).

And why shouldn't they feel that way? A lot of work, objectively speaking, is boring. Also, all politics aside, the future is bleak for many, and if thought doesn't actually stretch that far, there are those hormones to consider. They may not know what their passion is (beyond the opposite sex or a fast car) and what their future selves might think of the situation they are currently bound for, but they aren't stupid, just inexperienced. They can see what is real and not real in our lives and their lives (the ones we have raised them in), and they have every reason to be uncertain.

The most important thing we give our kids is love, ethics, and cover from the storm. The most important thing we can buy for them (beyond food and shelter) is an education, and a hope that through it they learn to like learning.

I take the view that for most children raised in abundance and privilege, a career choice in their teen years isn't possible because the knowledge and experience to make a choice doesn't exist yet. The analogy would be asking a child eight years of age to make a career choice in a world where most people lived a full life by the time they were thirty five, a reality in place just a few hundred years ago. In our word, a teenager is still a child. Children have difficulty imagining their futures.

Get the kid into school, and help make learning fun. If you haven't done that already, it's probably too late for you personally to positively influence your child's future, and it will be the course of his or her life that may inform those decisions. Being concerned about their career paths if they aren't is pretty fruitless. Teaching them to enjoy learning and personal growth may be less so and is a long process that may yield some fruit.

Most folks can't pick their child's path, but you can hope to help them learn to follow their own. Facilitate and encourage good choices, let them stumble a bit, and hope that the basics you gave them will allow for growth and good choices when such must be made. Encourage your kids to come to you and the rest will follow. Learn to be open to a teenager's advances and not to be too dismissive of their choices whatever you think of them. Eventually, you will be given an opportunity to advise.

That's always seemed to work for us. It takes patience and faith, and an understanding that the future we wanted for ourselves is not necessarily the one our kids want for themselves.

If a kid is truly an indolent brat, cut them off. If they are just struggling with their choices, support them in the good ones, keep mum as you can about the bad ones (experience is a great teacher) and know that eventually, talent seeks its own level. There are many paths to a happy life, but few that a parent can drive a child to from behind.

Lew Barrett
01-22-2014, 02:58 PM
No need to rush to the end goal of a grand career - spend the time to get the best education possible while fostering fearlessness, curiousity, adventure, and joy. Careers come and evolve, but a bold, joyous person remains happy and interested throughout their lives. They are also the ones who find themselves fortunate in friendships and positions no matter the curcumstances.

This is mostly what I said in longer form. You cannot drive a resolution.

Sorry guys, but it's far too easy to say "encourage them to do what they love and money will follow." Most often, they don't know what they love, or what they love is not what they will love tomorrow.

Acceptance, love and faith in them is key. As is patience.

pcford
01-22-2014, 03:01 PM
"In the midst of life, there is work." someone said that.

Shang
01-22-2014, 03:01 PM
Uncle Jake told us boys, "I'd about as rather that you didn't steal, but if you gotta steal, get enough to make a dignified getaway."

Dan McCosh
01-22-2014, 03:01 PM
I have to say I had little useful advice. My father mainly thought the only useful field of study was engineering. I did that for a while, among a half-dozen other things. I don't think I have ever met a teenager with a sense of direction regarding a future career. Given the cost of higher education today, it's a serious issue.

AnalogKid
01-22-2014, 03:38 PM
I don't know how to advise my boy in this matter, I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up.

Sam is about to start secondary school where he has to take options. I've advised him to keep those options to as broad a spread of subjects as he can until he gets a feel for where he wants to go. He's chosen a good spread of practical and artistic subjects. The only sensible career choice he's put forward so far (let's discount pro-skater and FMX rider for the moment, shall we) is vehicle design. If he's anything like me (which he seems to be so far) then he'll change his mind a good few times before he comes to choose further education or trade training. He's open (at the moment) to the idea of engineering training through the forces, and likes the idea of being paid to learn instead of racking up a huge student loan.

As far as 'doing what you love' goes, I've heard plenty of stories of a great hobby being spoiled by turning it into a poor business - things like boat chartering and catering.

Phil Y
01-22-2014, 03:52 PM
I don't really think there's an answer. I haven't worked it out for myself yet. Some kids have a clear career desire. Some don't. The great thing is you can have lots of careers and can go back to study any time. I think it's good too be clear about how long and to what extent you will support him as he becomes an adult so that he at least has some incentive to move towards an independent life. Beyond that I think you have to trust him to work it out

bogdog
01-22-2014, 04:23 PM
My father's advice to me: "If you don't watch where my ball goes I'll wrap this iron around your neck!"

bogdog
01-22-2014, 04:35 PM
He advised you to be a caddy? Very wise.Nah, he just wanted someone to blame for his lousy golf game.

Todd D
01-22-2014, 04:36 PM
Personally I think a teen ager is just too young and inexperienced to be expected to decide on a career. For kids is going to college, then I would advise NOT declaring a major and just taking a variety of courses for the first couple of years. That way they don't get trapped into something they might not like all that much. The various courses taken can always be used to meet college distribution requirements. The last two years of college are plenty to get ito a major assuming the kid has found something that really grabs his/her interest. If at the end of two years, the kid hasn't found an interest, then it is time to take a break from school to work for a while. In that case I would suggest trying a number of different jobs for a year or so each. Most people will find something they like by their middle twenties or they will decide to go back to school, but with a real focus.

A kid that doesn't want to go to college, should try out a few different types of jobs until she/he finds something likeable. Perhaps after working for a few years, college might be more attractive, perhaps not.

At any rate, I see no need to make a career decision until age 25 or so.

Experience life, then decide how you want to earn the money needed to support the life style you want.

Jim Bow
01-22-2014, 04:43 PM
I recall sitting at a meeting of 6 network administrators. Three of us were english majors in college. One studied architecture. Two had actually studied computer science.

Hugh Conway
01-22-2014, 04:51 PM
At the beginning of "The Cooper and his trade" Kenneth Kilby describes the people advising him "they've always had barrels, they've always needed coopers, and they always will, you can depend on that". He then mentions that within 2 decades almost all of the coopers were gone as were the barrels.

I've no advice. The robots are training themselves now. I'd suggest - unless he's dynamite keen on something, being a generalist. And managing money extremely well for preservation of capital.

TomF
01-22-2014, 05:04 PM
I pissed away a lot of time "following my bliss" in my 20s. Learned a lot, but part of what I learned is that sometimes one's bliss won't pay the rent.

I was a damned good opera singer and cellist, for an amateur. Got some recognition and even made some money at it, but never enough. At the top of any hierarchy with a really narrow top there are actually rather a lot of very good folks competing for the few spots around. It took me a longish while to determine that my bliss included being a Dad more than a professional classical musician.

It is a different world now than when I was in my twenties, to say nothing of when my Dad was. A certain amount of pragmatism needs to accompany bliss-seeking, IMO.

bogdog
01-22-2014, 05:05 PM
Obviously if one goes to college you need to have a career before you graduate just to handle the debt assuming ya didn't get a free ride from some wheres.

CWSmith
01-22-2014, 06:32 PM
Do follow your passion, but PUT YOUR FEET ON THE GROUND.

If your passion is art, remember that art is a form of communication. If no one else gets it, it isn't art.

If you want to do science, climb to the front and do what no one else has done. Take a chance, but be realistic.

If you want to be a car mechanic, remember that people skills will make you the boss. Excel at engines, but learn to communicate.

Take a realistic assessment of what it takes and commit to all that means including ancillary skills. Then have a serious talk with someone doing exactly that.

Lew Barrett
01-22-2014, 07:27 PM
Brew Master. Beer has been part of the program for all of recorded history.

Dan McCosh
01-22-2014, 07:41 PM
"Is there anything you wouldn't do for money?"

"I wouldn't kill for it, and I wouldn't marry for it. Other than that, probably not."

--Jim Rockford

Paul Pless
01-22-2014, 07:47 PM
Personally I think a teen ager is just too young and inexperienced to be expected to decide on a career. I think emphasizing the value of keeping an open mind is a good idea. For someone headed to college, stress that a general studies avenue for a year (or perhaps more) is often a positive course of study. I began in engineering, but didn't realize that it was the wrong program for me until I started in on physics courses. I had a very strong background and excelled in math so switched to mathematics as a major, a semester later I fell in love with economics and never looked back, graduated with dual majors math and econ.

genglandoh
01-22-2014, 07:47 PM
The typical answer is do what you like, follow your dream etc.
But this is terrible advice.
Just look at all the people who try out for American Idol.
Most are terrible singers and would starve if they followed their dream.

I always tell kids (including my own)
1. Do something you are good at.
2. And something that people will pay you to do.
If you are good at something you will get satisfaction from a job well done.

When I travel I spent time in Starbucks and talk to many young people.
It is amazing the number of young people who have no idea what they want to do and are just going to college filling time.

Paul Pless
01-22-2014, 07:58 PM
The typical answer is do what you like, follow your dream etc.
But this is terrible advice.
Just look at all the people who try out for American Idol.
Most are terrible singers and would starve if they followed their dream.basing opinions on reality television seems like a poor idea. . .

CWSmith
01-22-2014, 08:04 PM
I think emphasizing the value of keeping an open mind is a good idea. For someone headed to college, stress that a general studies avenue for a year (or perhaps more) is often a positive course of study. I began in engineering, but didn't realize that it was the wrong program for me until I started in on physics courses. I had a very strong background and excelled in math so switched to mathematics as a major, a semester later I fell in love with economics and never looked back, graduated with dual majors math and econ.

I thought there was a mathematician hiding there. Your postings are too logical and orderly not to be. Plus, you never explain the pictures. I went from math to physics and that was my dual.

slug
01-22-2014, 08:06 PM
A career is 20 years of work . Your working life cycle is 60 years . Best to choose max earning potential for the first 20 years , then a personal interest career for the next 40.

for the next 20 years natural resources will be under pressure. A Good 20 year career would be as a geologist.

Willin'
01-22-2014, 08:16 PM
It's never glamorous, rarely even perceived as a public service and completely under-recognized as the ultimate necessity by the average rate payer, but a career in water/ wastewater/ environmental water science has the benefit of (unlike almost any other career path nowadays) sending you home at the end of the day knowing you've accomplished something good for the planet and humanity, provided a necessary service, exploited a varied and extensive skill set, earned a comfortable living and that no matter where you go in the world or chose to settle, there is a desperate need for qualified, dedicated, well paid individuals. Water/wastewater jobs are never exported.

You should have a desire to utilize science, chemistry, math, biology, mechanical, electronic and electrical skills in mixed proportions on a daily basis. Occasionally hard physical work may be required.

Best accidental choice I ever made in my life.

Paul Pless
01-22-2014, 08:22 PM
Best accidental choice I ever made in my life.One of my best friends designs landfills. He loves it. It was kind of accidental for him too, his education background is marine biology . .

Paul Pless
01-22-2014, 08:30 PM
The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics may be useful. It used to be a thick tome published yearly and found in most government and university libraries, but its now available for free online.

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/

paulf
01-22-2014, 09:36 PM
Have them join the Marines and sign up for Grunt. In a few years they will have decided something else is much better, anything else.

Warning! don't do this if there is a war going on!

This may seem smart a$$d , however I would have never been able to attend College with out the GI Bill, a drop out from 8th Grade, Poor home, Steel industry falling apart in Chicago. USMC was the only out available.

Carl Sagan & Jacques Y Cousteau caught my fancy after a while. Best move I could have made.

pumpkin
01-22-2014, 11:30 PM
Iíve got a bunch of daughters. I tell them all the same things.

If you want something, make it happen.
Apply for good jobs. If you apply to a burger joint, the best you can get is a job at a burger joint.
Marry for money the first time. Itís easier to love a poor man if youíre already rich.
Never waste a good hard on, it might be the last you ever see and you donít want to wake up and want the one you let get away.
Never have a bucket list, but always want for one thing because itíll keep you going.

So far they all have done ok.

C. Ross
01-22-2014, 11:45 PM
I'm completely with Lew and Todd D.

Some kids know, and the rest can't. Not won't. Can't. There is no good or bad, it just is. I tried to figure out which type my daughters were, and then leave them alone either way. If they can't envision adult life, then exhorting them either makes them ignore you, or scares the crap out of them.

My approach is to encourage them in everything they are passionate about, even if I think it is stupid or useless. I figure it will help give them a sense of purpose and self-direction. And that's all that matters anyway.

And I regale them with stories of my incompetence and stupidity at their age. If they actually ask me what I did at their age (this has happened exactly once) I tell them.

Then em again, all families are different and YMMV.

Good luck!!!!

Paul Pless
01-23-2014, 05:31 AM
i haven't been killed by a pack of dogs yet

TomZ
01-23-2014, 08:32 AM
I'm completely with Lew and Todd D.

Some kids know, and the rest can't. Not won't. Can't. There is no good or bad, it just is. I tried to figure out which type my daughters were, and then leave them alone either way. If they can't envision adult life, then exhorting them either makes them ignore you, or scares the crap out of them.

My approach is to encourage them in everything they are passionate about, even if I think it is stupid or useless. I figure it will help give them a sense of purpose and self-direction. And that's all that matters anyway.

And I regale them with stories of my incompetence and stupidity at their age. If they actually ask me what I did at their age (this has happened exactly once) I tell them.

Then em again, all families are different and YMMV.

Good luck!!!!

C.Ross, Thanks for this post. I have 4 daughters and have taken a similar approach. So far it's worked - verdict on the twins is still out.

Ted Hoppe
01-23-2014, 08:54 AM
There is many ways to look at this...

For some people their life is their good career and for others a career is only what pays for a good life. In the end, you will never say i was glad i worked so hard and sacrified so much for my career. You are going to think about the things that made and make you happy. We do not have a determined length of time on this planet or with the ones we love. A life well loved is a life well spent.

One more thing. A career most of the time is not a social or economic postion. Learning, getting and mantaining the tools and skills to get and keep one into a lifelong comfortable and flexable social-economic position is what consitutes a successful person.

CWSmith
01-23-2014, 12:02 PM
Marry for money the first time. It’s easier to love a poor man if you’re already rich.

My friend's father used to tell us kids "Boys, it's just as easy to fall in love with a rich girl."

He was wrong.

Paul Pless
01-23-2014, 12:10 PM
a nice cushy ;) federal government civil service career is worth looking into:
monday through friday
9-5
no weekends
federal holidays
good healthcare
quality pension

Ted Hoppe
01-23-2014, 12:25 PM
a nice cushy ;) federal government civil service career is worth looking into:
monday through friday
9-5
no weekends
federal holidays
good healthcare
quality pension

I think sending a child to the Kennedy School of government at Harvard then paying for law school at same. All in about 500,000. They are able to get a Federal job making 125k out of school, no overtime, pay off remaining debts, good vacations and get a early retirement. sound likes the making of a good, comfortable life almost as good as hitting the lotto.

Katherine
01-23-2014, 12:29 PM
I remember my parents advice when it came time to choose college and a career path. They said I could study whatever I wanted but they did recommend that I choose a career where I could feed myself.

Hugh Conway
01-23-2014, 12:29 PM
I think sending a child to the Kennedy School.of government at Harvard then paying for law school at same. All in about 500,000. They are able to get a Federal job making 125k out of school, pay off remaining debts and get a early retirement. sound likes the making of a good, comfortable life almost as good as hitting the lotto.

If they are that smart, qualified and motivated they could make several multiples in the private sector.

IME working for the feds paid much less than comparable work (60-70%) had benefits that were no better and required more education for a comparable position and coupled it with a stifling bureaucracy and being stuck in a workplace with a bunch of overpaid lazy service staff who just punched in their hours. It was a generally horrible work environment - which is why the group had 90% turnover in one year. For someone later in life a great deal, for youth a stultifying prison.

Dan McCosh
01-23-2014, 12:31 PM
a nice cushy ;) federal government civil service career is worth looking into:
monday through friday
9-5
no weekends
federal holidays
good healthcare
quality pensionMy daughter has a nice, cushy federal government civil service career. Works irregular hours; lots of weekends. Good healthcare. Pensions were more or less ended 20 years ago--all 401K now. Treated for hypothermia twice on the job. Once sent to Alaska to replace a co-worker killed on the job. Also speeds weeks at a time away from home.

Robbie 2
01-24-2014, 02:11 AM
Two boys....we have never told them what they should do......their lives their decisions.
Daniel is doing his last year of full time study for Two Degree's (Law & Business) then just a 6 month practical experience before graduating early 2015.
Benjie has always said he wanted to do an Engineering Degree and he starts on this in March 2014.

Our only advise to them was that whatever degree they studied for should if possible lead to a professional degree that led to a variety of career paths...ie don't retrict your career options before you even start.

Waddie
01-24-2014, 02:27 AM
Prepare them for change. Don't be afraid of change. Sometimes you have to discover what you're good at.

How they handle disappointment is much more important than how they handle success. "mistakes" become "experience" as you age.

Happiness often depends on how you handle "Plan B".

regards,
Waddie

Michael D. Storey
01-24-2014, 07:49 AM
I spent several years speaking in public schools on a wide range of subjects. The career speech was second only to the proper way to treat women speech. I have changed careers radically about every seven years since I was 23, and the groups were fascinated with the fact that i seemed to look successful. No net, ever. The most popular question, actually, I doubt that it was a popular question at all, but it was the most often asked, was 'how did you know what you wanted to do?' Especially for the young, this can be difficult. I have always advised people to not worry about it, but get out there and do something. And to that thing until you are good at it, and then change if you want. You will never know what you want to do if you haven't done anything.
Success, moreso than education, is related to experience.

Rum_Pirate
01-24-2014, 11:03 AM
Lots a info.

Michael D. Storey (http://forum.woodenboat.com/member.php?26188-Michael-D-Storey) : do you have a script/draft of any of the careers speeches you did?

Michael D. Storey
01-24-2014, 01:45 PM
Lots a info.

Michael D. Storey (http://forum.woodenboat.com/member.php?26188-Michael-D-Storey) : do you have a script/draft of any of the careers speeches you did?

It was an interactive conversation, about 30-45 minutes in total. I worked from an outline that I can forward to you. I reckon your interest is in the career speech.

Rum_Pirate
01-24-2014, 01:51 PM
It was an interactive conversation, about 30-45 minutes in total. I worked from an outline that I can forward to you. I reckon your interest is in the career speech.

I would appreciate that. Y>

Paul Pless
01-24-2014, 02:08 PM
The advice I received from my father was along the lines of "I don't care what you do, but suggest that you get a qualification to fall back on when you are bored of being a beach bum with no money".

Anyone got a method, aid, suggestion(s), guide on how to help a teenager in deciding on a career?

The response from the heir apparent to the question 'What would you like to do?'

currently gets "I don't know".


Anyone got a method, aid, suggestion(s), guide on how to help a teenager in deciding on a career?

What help/advice did you get?

so what brought this on now Doug? does your teenager seem listless and without direction? :D ;)

Michael D. Storey
01-24-2014, 02:11 PM
so what brought this on now Doug? does your teenager seem listless and without direction? :D ;)

qualities that rarely kick in before 65

Rum_Pirate
01-24-2014, 02:59 PM
so what brought this on now Doug? does your teenager seem listless and without direction? :D ;)

Well coming up for college/uni stage. It seems a good idea to have some direction.

If I can help (with others) him make a decision towards some general target, than becoming - say - a wastrel - that would be to his long term benefit.

David Tabor (sailordave)
01-24-2014, 05:15 PM
a nice cushy ;) federal government civil service career is worth looking into:
monday through friday
9-5
no weekends
federal holidays
good healthcare
quality pension

Mon-Fri? HAH! You funny man.
9-5? Surely you jest.
No weekends? I worked for 20 years before I could bid even PART of the weekend off.
Holidays... Hmmmm. Have worked the past few Christmases b/c they didn't fall on my Days Off. Some trivial holidays I can get off. Christmas, Thanksgiving, 4th of July? Forget it.

All that said, I have enjoyed it for the most part. Except putting up w/ Mgmt.


For those that go to college I HIGHLY recommend taking a year or so to just go do fun stuff. B/c you'll never get the chance again. Mortgages, spouses, kids, etc come along.
I worked in a boatyard for a year and loved it. Of course I knew I didn't want to be poor so I moved on!

LongIslandBoy
01-24-2014, 06:00 PM
This thread brings back to mind a poster from the late '60's/ early '70's, an advertisement, actually, for the School of Visual Arts, in New York City.
It depicted multiple images, in a row, of a seated Abraham Lincoln, but each image was wearing a different hat, i.e., a chef's toque, then a construction hard hat, then a scholar's mortarboard, then a fisherman's sou'wester, etc.
The legend at the bottom said "We live in times that call for multiple careers".
Probably true then, definitely true now.
On the rare occasions when I had the opportunity to talk to young people about serious matters, the subject of jobs/careers has come up. I've always advised them to figure out what they LOVE to do, and then GET REAL GOOD AT IT. SOMEBODY will pay you to do it.
It seems that now, however, my advice needs to be modified somewhat: Figure out several things that you love to do, and get real good at them.
That poster from SVA is even more appropriate today.