SO: What advice have you given your kids about picking a career?

ZephyrHawk

Confirmed Disneyphile
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
DD is six, but I've started a little bit with the same schtick my parents gave to me from a young age. "We don't care what you do, and we support you, but make sure whatever you choose is something you can actually support yourself with once you're out of college."

On a personal note, DH and I have added "And don't go to law school."
 

smilie

I've been unwonked!
Joined
Aug 31, 2004
My daughter has absolutely LOVED animals from the second she took her first breath. She's never been the little girl that loved princesses or baby dolls, it was always animals. Especially dogs. She is 10 and has always said she wants to be a Veterinarian. While I love that she wants to be one, I'm so worried about the effect it would have on her. She is pure heart. So emotional and feels EVERYTHING. I'm worried that kind of career would hurt her. Her aunt is an animal rehabber. She's helped her a lot and loves it. I'm hoping that experience will help her to guard herself a little and be able to continue to help animals.
 

Lilacs4Me

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 31, 2015
I am surprised by the replies of the parents on here who state that they either offered no advice, or told their children to find something they loved with little or no guidance. We watched our children at home and at school from an early age, and tried to evaluate what they were interested in doing and learning about and then tried to suggest fields that would integrate with those interests. We encouraged them to make the most of the courses in their areas of interest, but to also take challenging courses in other areas to make them well rounded. We also helped them identify the general field that they wanted to pursue in college, because its too expensive to just go to college without an end goal (although I do think the college experience is a great advantage in the maturation process). However, college is not for everyone and technical trades are great for some.

I would suggest you talk to your child about his interests. Does he do well in STEM courses, the arts, or the softer sciences? Does he want to have a lot of exposure to the public or work in a field with little interaction?What were his interests since childhood, did he build, or paint, or pretend to teach? All these are hints into what area might be a good career fit. Everyone wants to make a decent living or better, but working at a job that is drudgery can be stifling. Thankfully we were able to guide our children to careers that they love.
Same here! I have never met one person who said that they would still get up and go to their job every day if they weren't getting paid.

We also, like you, watched our kids' strengths and weaknesses, and made suggestions - for ex, Nephew12 (we have custody of him) told us when we first got him that he wanted to be a video game designer. He says his (bio) mother said it would be good for him because he likes video games so much. I asked - do you like math? Science? Computer programming? and he said no to all three. But he LOVES to cook, and is actually pretty decent at it. He looks up you-tube videos and follows the recipes, and is excited about it. I talked to him and said - you know, playing video games isn't what you are going to be doing if you are a VG designer. You have to have a solid background in STEM classes in order to do that, and you have zero interest in any of those subjects. But you DO love to cook - and you are good at it. Did you know that in college, you can go to culinary school and learn how to be a chef? You can even specialize in different areas of cooking if you want to.

He was so intrigued. He had never thought about culinary school...didn't even know it existed. It's these kinds of talks that we have with our kids...realistic, based on their strengths and likes. We have never said - do what makes you happy - and just left it at that.
 
  • tcufrog

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 18, 2012
    Same here! I have never met one person who said that they would still get up and go to their job every day if they weren't getting paid.
    Now you have. It's me. I am currently a SAHM but I really miss being a librarian. Right now I'm too busy to work or volunteer but as soon as I'm able I plan to volunteer in libraries until I'm able to go back to work as a librarian.
     

    Lilacs4Me

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 31, 2015
    Now you have. It's me. I am currently a SAHM but I really miss being a librarian. Right now I'm too busy to work or volunteer but as soon as I'm able I plan to volunteer in libraries until I'm able to go back to work as a librarian.
    Well, color me happy - there's a first for everything! :rotfl2:

    So many times when I post stuff on this board, I think to myself - someone is saying "BET" right now, and just itching to take on the challenge lol
     

    jliehr

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 9, 2013
    While the common advice is to find something you love, it's not always that simple. Just because you enjoy something doesn't mean you will enjoy it for a living. Love travelling? Taking a traveling job isn't the same, you likely fly someplace, go to the client site, work all day, head to the hotel to catch up on the other work, catch dinner and then crash to do it all the next day. I have people who joke about how great it is to go the places I go for work, but it's not even remotely the same.
     
  • Luv Bunnies

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 3, 2006
    My DS20 is majoring in musical theater. There was really no other choice of majors for him. It truly is his passion. He works hard at it, and we've been told by several professionals that he has amazing talent. Yes, being an actor/singer is a difficult profession and he's not guaranteed to make a living at it, but we had to let him try. There was no way we could tell him that we wouldn't fully support his pursuing a career in musical theater. We hired a college audition coach and traveled around the country for auditions and to tour schools. We learned that the college audition process is not for the faint of heart, and can be downright brutal! But it was worth it. He ended up with several acceptances and had some great schools to choose from.

    We toured each school and met with each program director. One said something that I found particularly interesting. I asked what he saw in DS's audition that made him think he could be successful in the program. The director said, "I look at each kid when they walk into the audition and I decide if this is something they want to do, or if this is something they HAVE to do. I can tell before they even start their monologue or song. I want kids in my program who HAVE to study musical theater because, for them, there is no other choice." He proceeded to tell me that my son has Drama Geek stamped on his forehead. He said he could tell that theater isn't just something my son wanted to try. It's who he is. DS ended up choosing that school. He's in his sophomore year and he absolutely loves it. He is doing very well in his classes, and is even enjoying the general ed requirements (well, maybe except for the math, but he's loving the poly sci). I love hearing the excitement in his voice when he calls to tell me something he's done in class. Strangely enough, I'm not really concerned about his being able to make a living as an actor. I think he'll be fine.
     

    moon

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 28, 2007
    It didn't matter. Both of my grown children did not see where they would be right now when they started college or even after their freshman year,
    DD became a single mom at 25, was never able to find a job in her field. As one of her old teachers stated( not intentionally, but still sad) "her college degree means pretty much nothing now." and my DS is halfway around the world teaching English for the 2 nd schoolyear in CHINA. Neither of these did anyone ever, ever think my kids would do...…………………...
    May I ask what was your daughter's field?
     

    Hikergirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2016
    I am surprised by the replies of the parents on here who state that they either offered no advice, or told their children to find something they loved with little or no guidance. We watched our children at home and at school from an early age, and tried to evaluate what they were interested in doing and learning about and then tried to suggest fields that would integrate with those interests. We encouraged them to make the most of the courses in their areas of interest, but to also take challenging courses in other areas to make them well rounded. We also helped them identify the general field that they wanted to pursue in college, because its too expensive to just go to college without an end goal (although I do think the college experience is a great advantage in the maturation process). However, college is not for everyone and technical trades are great for some.

    I would suggest you talk to your child about his interests. Does he do well in STEM courses, the arts, or the softer sciences? Does he want to have a lot of exposure to the public or work in a field with little interaction?What were his interests since childhood, did he build, or paint, or pretend to teach? All these are hints into what area might be a good career fit. Everyone wants to make a decent living or better, but working at a job that is drudgery can be stifling. Thankfully we were able to guide our children to careers that they love.
    I have always encouraged my kids to pursue their interests. If they wanted to try X, Y and Z we always supported them and did what we could to get them involved in whatever it was they had chosen.
    In HS we supported their choices for what classes they wanted to take as far as electives were concerned. I've given my share of advice, some asked for and some not. We always left what they wanted to do up to them, we guided them by supporting their decisions about their life.
    The bolded comes across more like you "picked" something for them and they loved it.
    For us, never did we feel we should steer them in to a certain direction when it came to their career and future.
     

    PlutoFan10

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 8, 2013
    Find out what you are good at and like. Then, look at careers that use those talents and pay well enough to live comfortably on your own. Take the training/courses to get you there. Along the way, you may fine tune what you like to head in one particular direction over another. Make yourself into the person everyone wants on their team.
     
  • sk!mom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 30, 2000
    I posted earlier but have another one I forgot to add: Consider where you want to live when picking a college major. A co-worker's daughter got a degree in that really requires a large city to be profitable. They live in a tiny rural town, she went home after graduation and never had any intention of relocating. Her degree is useless where they live.
    Very good advice and this factored into the advice given to my children. DD22 left our small city to move to a large metro for college and never planned to move back to the small city. She and her fiancé pursued studies that necessitated a major city for opportunities. They both got jobs immediately, both worked the job that got them to the big city for about 6 months, and have both now switched to jobs that are exactly what they wanted. Had she not had a job lined up to start immediately after graduation, she was still going to that major city. They found a house last Spring Break. Two months before college graduation. She had spent her last year of college saving all dollars from her internship and we would have continued to support her as necessary until she had a job. There was nothing for her here so we would have never advised coming back.

    By contrast, I ran into an old friend at lunch today and her DD who graduated college in 2017 spent a year and a half looking for a job in our small city that even remotely utilizes her degree. If I had a child who really wanted to stay here, I’d Advise something in the medical field. It’s your best bet for a decent job out of the gate.

    My DS20 is majoring in musical theater. There was really no other choice of majors for him. It truly is his passion. He works hard at it, and we've been told by several professionals that he has amazing talent.
    @jaybirdsmommy ‘s above advice is VERY applicable to your son. Our small city has a vibrant active theater community which DD participated in as a child and teen. She has many friends who did as well and some pursued it in college. One did the audition process and chose a great college program BUT she took on a great deal of student loan debt and then just came back here. She floundered for a couple of years and is now working at a theater in a larger area but still close and still struggling due to low pay and high student debt.

    By contrast, another young man got into the theater program at NYU. He started going on auditions and is graduating this year and already making a living and never plans to come back.

    One more example, of a young man who couldn’t afford the high cost college so he went through the theater program at our small local University but the minute he graduated he headed to NYC. He’s now in his 30’s and has been in the touring company of many shows. Not on Broadway but definitely making a living.

    Best wishes to your son!
     

    VandVsmama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2011
    I don't have kids, but after changing industries in the last year I thought to myself, if I had a daughter I would tell her to work in male-dominated workplaces (mining, utilities, trades, etc.). I'm basically doing the same work as I did before, being treated much better and getting paid twice as much.

    Best career outlook and pay with little schooling IMO . . . Electronics Tech. 2 years of school and you'll be making $80k plus inside a few years.
    I have DDs ages 10 & 12 and this is the advice that DH & I have been telling our kids!
     



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