High school is often the time when students begin to rationalize how their career and life aspirations can be made possible in a complex and unpredictable world. As parents, it’s common to have high expectations and you may even already have a career plan in mind for them, perhaps to take on the highest-paying professions — doctor, lawyer, engineer, pilot, business leaders, etc.
This article is meant to give your teens some advice on how to face the common question, “What do you want to be when you finish school?”
The world is constantly changing
As technology advances, industry and market requirements change. Automation and artificial intelligence has already made a lot of work more efficient, from flying an aircraft to performing surgery. Every day we learn that more and more human tasks can be done by machines, even seemingly complex and technical tasks.
Should you be worried as a parent? We believe that you shouldn’t be. You may already know that there are certain characteristics that only humans have, such as empathy, creativity and resilience.
With that said, it is still important to know that career strategies of the past may not necessarily work now or into the future. For example, having the highest grade in class all the time may have attracted the best universities and jobs in your generation. However, many successful people today have in fact average grades, because they focused more on skills that are exclusively human abilities — creative problem-solving and social skills.
Our advice to teens:
Stick to your career aspirations, but balance your technical skills (related to the field) with skills that are difficult or impossible to automate. Learn business skills, learn to solve new problems and to manage human relationships effectively.
It is okay to diversify skills and switch careers
In our generation, you may admire those who have worked in the same field for many years. At the same time, you may view someone who switches careers as someone who can’t offer the highest possible value. After all, a high-value expert is someone who is dedicated and committed to master their chosen field.
Today, this rule doesn’t necessarily apply. Some people work for years in the same field, but do not grow or acquire new career skills. In other words, they become experts at doing virtually the same thing every day. This kind of job will eventually be replaced by machines. For example, some job slots for credit analysts are disappearing as software is able to analyze data more efficiently than people.
This job used to be lucrative some ten to twenty years ago. So, the argument that someone should stick to only one field or career or job is becoming increasingly outdated. It’s worth noting that most CEOs today got to where they are now because they diversified their skills. Even if they started out from a purely technical background, their careers have become more oriented towards managing and directing people.
Our advice to teens:
Don’t be complacent. Keep learning new skills. Treat your job as if you are the CEO, and you’ll begin to think about how your job fits into the big picture. Our top career advice for students: always consider yourself an entrepreneur; if you are going to be employed, think of your employer as your customer.
Although the career landscape is always changing, there is always work to be done, because people’s wants never end. So dear students, don’t stop learning and always embrace change!
At IPEKA Christian School, we encourage our students to be responsible and take initiative to solve their problems, and have the compassion to help other people solve theirs. If you wish to learn more about our school, please have a look at our introduction.