What Career Advice Will You Give Your Children?
Photo Credit: Katie Morton
When I was a young woman seeking my first job and a fulfilling career path, my parents and I were at odds. That's a nice way of saying that we were on the verge of throwing furniture at each others' heads.
To them, financial security and stability were everything, while I wanted a job that would be fun and exciting. I was carefully cherry picking my way through the listings, while my parents wanted me to drive to the local bank and just GET A G**D*** JOB ALREADY.
Obviously, times are different now than when I was first looking for work. For example, I would feel safer working as a tightrope walker than as a banker, as the health of our nation's banking institutions clearly demonstrates that banks don't offer the staid, stable careers once thought. There are no more gold watches and pensions being handed out willy-nilly for a bajillion years of service to the same company.
The landscape is much trickier to navigate these days, and there are far fewer clear-cut paths to stability. Besides, now that stability is so fleeting, can it still be considered the end-all-be-all when making career decisions?
As a wizened adult, I appreciate the idea that there are certain basics that lay the foundation for happiness. If I don't have enough money for food and clothing and shelter, I'm probably not going to be prancing through the tulips. If I don't have my health, and therefore I'm not free to do what I want, when I want, because I'm laid up and feeling like garbage, then again, no tulip prancing.
Keeping these basics in mind, I wouldn't want my child to choose a career path that would force her to live hand to mouth. I want her to amass savings for emergencies and retirement, I want her to live within her means and have zero credit card debt, and I want her to have health insurance. That's about as far as I've gotten in terms of cooking up advice. And that's not even career advice. It's more like money management advice.
Since being laid off from my job, I have toyed with the idea of taking a lower profile position until the ankle biters are no longer biting ankles. It was a huge realization to me that career paths don't always go in a straight line. I might have to do some bobbing and weaving, ducking, sliding, waltzing... where was I? Yes, my career path. It's become more of a career meadow except instead of flowers in this field, there are coffee pots and bosses.
What career advice will you give to your kids?
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