How to select A Career Path for your child. 7 Effective Steps to a 360 degree Career Selection Approach
Worry about child's future is a natural parental instinct
It is every parent’s dream that his or her child should do better than him or her in life.
Consider the following facts:
- Parents love when their child grows taller than the father or mother.
- Parents are extremely proud when the child overtakes the father / mother in getting better or higher education.
- Parents are overjoyed when their child leaves them far behind with his career achievements.
Knowing a few languages and about some cultures, there is an adage to endorse such an emotion of parents in each one of them. I am sure that there are similar sayings or maxims in each culture, country and language.
This reminds me of an interesting real life incident.
One of my friends is a top ranking bureaucrat. After passing through one of the toughest selection procedures of Indian Administrative Services, he has reached the top level through sheer hard work, patience and perseverance. (Please see my hub Common Habits of Effective CEOs, Winners and Successful People. Emulate them if you too want to be at the top). While he is at an enviable position and he must be a role model to hundreds, he was ecstatic when he learnt about his son getting 3 job offers from top companies in US. I had never seen him happier earlier.
The dilemma about parents’ role
That brings us to once again ask ourselves a few relevant questions.
- Shouldn’t the parent play a role in planning, facilitating a successful journey on the career path of their children?
- Should the parent decide for their child what career path of profession to choose?
- Should it be left to the child to decide as per his or her ambitions; likings or disliking?
- Life should be taken as it comes?
The answer is so simple. As parents, it is a natural their responsibility to ensure that the child is given the right guidance, help and support in the chosen area of career path.
But how to go about in choosing the career path for the child?
Here are a few suggestions based on a 360 degree approach which takes into account the child’s natural liking, aspiration of the parents and the good opportunities expected to be there when the child completes the education.
Step One: Gather the information about various Career Options
Do share your own experiences, study, research about the Career oriented courses, employment opportunities. Also network and expand your circle of friends to get as much first hand information for your child about the opportunities available in various occupations.
Step Two: Show the child the available Career Options
Parents do have a good idea of their child’s likes / dislikes; the natural assets or gifts; the environment around and the facilities available during the schooling days (secondary / senior secondary school) and the financial resources they have to fund.
For example, if the child gets scared at the sight of a drop of blood, it would be foolish to think of medicine as a career.
Step Three: Ask the child about his / her aspirations
If the child has not declared his or her intentions to pursue studies for a particular profession then it is a good idea to have a frank and honest chat with your child. Do not expect your child to give a reply instantaneously. This could be due to many reasons, such as:
The child is shy.
Encourage him/ her to talk and build his/her self confidence. You could also ask about his passion, interests or role models.
S/he does not have enough information.
Thus step one assumes more important. Repeat it if required.
There is a lack of decision making ability.
Help him / her, you could begin by short listing a few career paths or eliminating a few options. Still better is to do both, if possible. This way the line of thinking becomes clearer. For example, there could be a unanimous decision to leave out humanities and commerce streams but there is a dilemma about Engineering or Medicine. This helps to opt for subjects which can permit the child choose out of these two at a later stage, whenever s/he is ready.
There is a dilemma.
This could happen when two opposite forces are operating simultaneously. For example, the child wants to become a photographer but most of his friends are opting for engineering courses. Another situation could be that while the child’s heart is in becoming a surgeon which would take about 8 – 9 years of post school study, he is aware that he is expected to financially support the family within 3 – 4 years.
This is the time when the parents should do their best to provide for the resources if the child is a deserving one and is passionate about a particular career.
Step Four: Do not impose your dreams
Of course, it is natural to see in your child your cherished dreams or your unfulfilled dreams. But try not to limit the options before the child by telling him to pursue “that particular line only”. Once again, the step one is important.
Step Five: Consult an Expert
It is quite possible that nobody in the family or the friends circle has any knowledge about the career path, its requirements and future prospects. Thus you may like to see an established person in that profession.
Also there could be specialized consultants to give you an insight about child’s mind / inclinations / personality traits / future:
- Career Counselor / Education Counselor
- Astrologer ( who is also expert in Career Path Advice)
Also please see:
Step Six: Keep room for changes
Once a decision has been taken and everyone is happy, do not think that the job of the parent is over. There may be a situation where the child does not get admission in the desired stream of education. Or the child may develop a disliking for the subject(s) which he studying to make a career in the chosen line. There is a possibility that the child may decide to go in for an altogether career path itself.
Therefore, keep plan B ready.
Step Seven: Constantly motivate and support your child
A parent’s job is unfinished till the child lands in his first job and settles down. This is the time when you have to keep your protective arms around the child (and adult now). However, this should be in the form of giving tips, motivating and sharing your experience about tackling general office challenges – such as tough boss, competitive environment, long working hours etc.
About the Author
Sundeep Kataria is the founder CEO of a Management Consulting Firm, which was established in 1991 in New Delhi. He professionally started the trend of CV writing in India. Till now he has helped hundreds of professionals in their career advancement with his expert services like CV Writing, Interview Coaching, Career Counseling and Executive Coaching.
His services are sought by professionals from all the fields and from fresher to top management level.
Sundeep Kataria is also a qualified Astrologer and he combines all his skills to provide Wellness Counselling.
The contents of this hub are straight from his years of professional experience.
- Gather the information about various Career Options
- Show the child the available Career Options
- Ask the child about his aspirations
- Do not impose your dreams
- Consult an Expert
- Keep room for changes
- Motivate and support your child
Happy career building for your children.