Career Advice for your Children
Parents have to be more pragmatic in how they advise their offspring, so students gain the skills needed by business, according to Mark Venning, Chairman of the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling, as quoted by the Globe and Mail in Toronto today. Globe Article
If there is a group that is consistently pragmatic in their advice to the next generation, it’s the parents. If I was looking for a group that needs to be more pragmatic, I would pick the universities, who constantly preach the message of learning for learning’s sake and distance themselves from the job market.
Be A Consultant
Being a parent of an older child is like being a consultant. As a consultant, I have responsibility, but no authority. I can’t actually tell anyone to do anything. The best I can do is point out the consequences of not doing what I advise. To help my clients, I have to be a good listener and a diplomatic advisor. It’s not enough to be right. I have to be practical and understand my client’s situation in order to be effective.
A Scary Future
The future is scary for many young people. The more aware of the world they are, the scarier it can be. Many don’t see themselves as having the power to change things. They are already cynical and they haven’t even started! My wife tells the story of a student asking, “Why would I want to be on the relentless treadmill of life?” Why indeed?
Follow Your Passion – Hunh?
Many children are told to follow their dream. What exactly does that mean when you’re not sure you know what your passion is? My advice to my children was to pick something and experiment. More importantly, I gave them permission to back out and try something different. You learn so much more about yourself by putting energy into something than by sitting on the sidelines, even if you decide it’s not for you.
When I was twenty, I had no idea what my passion was. From an early age, my mother took me along when she volunteered, but I didn’t know how much a difference the charitable sector would make in my life. Did you know what you wanted to do with your life at that age? Did your university courses train you for your current career? Remember the person you were when you talk to people in that position today.
So, don’t take the advice of the pundits quoted in the paper. Get to know the challenges your child faces from their point of view and be their consultant as they make the choices that will shape their future.