Fathering | Help your kids grow a ‘career antenna’

For the CDTOctober 19, 2013 

As a college career coach, I ask new freshmen two questions: What career are you considering? And how did you become interested in that career?

Most often, young adults choose a career based on a few options they’re aware of through personal experience. For example, when a student says she’s considering teaching, nine times out of 10 it’s because of a teacher she had in school. Unfortunately, most teens and young adults know only a small percentage of potential jobs and careers, so they choose among the few they do know.

Dads can play a significant role in exposing their kids to a much wider array of careers and jobs simply by encouraging them to grow a “career antenna,” because careers are all around us, everywhere we go.

Action ideas:

• When you’re out with your kids (of any age), point out various careers that you see.

For example, when you’re outside and see a house being built, you could ask your kids to name all of the careers related to houses (e.g., real estate agent, landscaper, mortgage broker, architect, developer, etc.).

• When you see your children do well in a certain subject or show interest in a specific activity, think about the careers that relate and ask if they could see themselves in a relevant career. For example, if your child likes to make creative designs or animations on the computer, ask him if he’s heard of graphic design as a career and if he might see himself doing something like that.

• You and your wife could encourage your teenager to meet with the school counselor to explore career options, or check out websites that do a good job of describing career options, such as www.wetfeet.com, www.careers-internet.org or www.onetonline.org.

The local fathering effort, in cooperation with the National Center for Fathering, provides biweekly Action Ideas to stimulate conversation between fathers and children. For more information, or to join local conversations, contact David Eggebeen at e5x@psu.edu, Mick Trombley at mick@micktrombley.com, Robert Orndorff at rmo104@psu.edu, Chris Dufour at chrisdufour19@gmail.com or Marc McCann at marc.mccann@arrow.com. Visit the Centre County Fathering website for resources and information at www.centrefathering.org.

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