Careers

Be your child’s first career guide

Illustration: K.B. Jawaharr  

“It’s up to my children what they want to do.”

Doesn’t this sound dull, on account of overuse.

You have probably heard it said many a time. At some point of your parenting journey, you probably said it yourself, haven’t you?

On the face of it, this position looks lofty. A non-interfering parent standing on the sidelines and watching the children stride down a career path they hewed out themselves.

But often, it’s a thin line that divides non-interference and irresponsibility.

Shoving career opinions down one’s children throats and guiding them to form opinions about career options are two things.

Parents have to play a guiding role, and not doing so is abdication of responsibility.

Careers make a life

Choosing a career path has implications for one’s entire life. An interplay between the professional and the personal cannot be avoided. Can waves be separated from the sea? To a considerable degree, our careers define where we live, how healthy we are and they also largely define the contours of our social life. It’s for this reason that when we meet someone for the first time, we are asked first up, what we do. Given this, shouldn’t parents keep themselves abreast of the latest and emerging career options and share these with their children, and how each of these choices will impact their lives.

“Parents should place a palette of career options before the children, but have to be open to their suggestions being rejected. When this happens, they have to accept their child’s choice, even if they are aware that it’s likely to lead down a cul-de-sac.

Why should we fear failure? Isn’t failure a part of life too? Some people change four to five careers before finding their true calling. Going through the struggle of making different careers work and then finding what suits them absolutely can provide rich learning,” says Kesang Menezes, certified parent educator, Parenting Matters.

Being purpose-driven

Parents want their children to find that dream profession, but a more sensible approach would be wanting and enabling them to find a larger purpose, which will define the course their careers would take. Career choices were fewer in the past. Professions came clearly etched, and could be easily differentiated from one another.

Not any more. A raft of new specialisations have entered the job market, and newer ones are muscling their way in every year. At the same time, what was new only yesterday is becoming redundant.

The lines between existing specialisations have blurred too. While this may appear to be a stumbling block, it is actually a liberating situation. It’s an invitation for youngsters, especially millennials, to place purpose ahead of profession.

If they find a worthy purpose to work for, they can find the skills and acquire the specialisations that are necessary to drive this purpose.

They are not focussed on specialisations, but on the purpose, and this will spare them the frustration of seeing some of their acquired skills becoming redundant and also provide them with the motivation to keep updating their skill sets. Parents have to help their children find that larger purpose.

People’s skills

It’s being increasingly recognised that some workplace problems may have their roots at home. These problems have to do with people’s skills — the lack of them, actually.

Though technology is redefining most functions in the corporate world, making it necessary for employees to acquire new skill sets many a time during the course of their careers, the emphasis on people’s skills has never been so pronounced.

The foundation for developing people’s skills for the workplace should be laid at home.

“Emotional intelligence and communication are critical for whatever one does in life. Parents have to provide an atmosphere at home that develops both. Polite speech and a respectful attitude that enables someone to listen to other viewpoints with an open mind, are best learnt at home,” says Kesang.


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Printable version | Nov 21, 2021 5:25:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/careers/Be-your-child%E2%80%99s-first-career-guide/article17178603.ece

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