When I was at high school, I was advised that my only options for a ‘professional’ role after leaving high school was to be a teacher or nurse.
I was NOT interested in either and I didn’t see why I had to be pigeonholed into a few options when the boys weren’t getting the same message!
Many parents today are still giving the same message to their daughters.
But the one thing I know for sure is that the world of work has changed!
The science of how we select our careers has changed significantly…in the past, we thought about what we are good at, then just found a career doing that.
But now, there are 2 key elements we consider in the career exploration process:
1. Interests – we pick our career based on our INTERESTS. Why? Because when we are interested in something, we want to do well in it, learn more, perform at a higher level, dive deep into the science of it. You can be GOOD at something but not actually interested in it! (Yes parents, that will blow your mind and change your thinking!)
2. We want to work with people like us. Why? Because when we find our people, we feel valued, listened to and accepted. They get you and you can be you! How many times have you heard people say, “I love my work but don’t like the organisation/people I work with”? That means they haven’t found their people and that isn’t sustainable.
In my work, I’m constantly challenging and disrupting the old paradigms that parents are still using, because they don’t have any better information. They are doing the best they can, with the limited and outdated information they have.
Here’s some of the myths I'm trying to bust in my career coaching work:
Every student has to do Maths, Science and English in Year 13.
For some students, depending on their best-fit career path, taking maths, science or English to Year 12 might be sufficient. There are still maths and literacy credits to be obtained from other subjects at Year 13 level, but when you’ve only got 5 or 6 subjects available to take in Year 13, let’s get clear about which subjects are best aligned with YOUR interests! We discuss your subject choices for Year 12 or 13, or for University, during the career coaching session.
Ability defines your career options.
As I explained above, we pick our career based on our INTERESTS, not our ability. It’s important to get clear about what interests YOU, and we deep dive into this using the data from the results of your career search questionnaire. From this, you can clearly tell which interests are MOST interesting to you!
You have to be an extrovert to succeed in the workplace.
It’s amazing how many people misunderstand extroversion and introversion, make apologies for being an introvert and think we ALL have to be extroverts to succeed. 50% of the world are introverts – I’m an introvert, and discovering this has literally changed my life (not an exaggeration!).
A recent survey of top leaders showed that 96% of them thought they were extroverts, yet only 60% were – this suggests that they believed that it is wrong or sub-optimal to confess to being an introvert. In our career coaching session, I help students and their parents better understand the magic of being an introvert!
Money should be a key driver in selecting a career. Sure, we all want a good salary, but picking a job based on pay is a recipe for unhappiness! Is the starting salary the same salary you will be at in 10 years’ time? What do you have to be willing to do to achieve that salary? If pay is your only career decider, how long do you think your motivation for that career will last? When you find a career that you love and fulfils you, and aligns with your purpose, the money will follow!
Management is the pinnacle everyone should be aiming for.
This is such as flawed concept – managing others is not the ultimate career. Being fulfilled and working in a career where you are being valued and working with purpose is the ultimate career for everyone (and no, these aren’t ‘woke’ millennial ideas – they are fundamental principles for how we want to live our lives.) You just have to pick something - anything - and get started.
This is what our parents did to get by and bring in a pay packet, as a response to the uncertainty following their childhoods in the war and depression eras. But it’s not what we want for our children now. We WANT them to be fulfilled, happy and spending their 80,000 career hours doing a job that they love. When they are doing work with purpose that is aligned with their true self, they are happy, their family is happy, their community and organisation benefits – we ALL benefit!
Apparently, we have 5 or 6 careers in our life, so it doesn't matter what you do.
This is not true at all! We have a career FIELD that best suits us, and within that career field we might have a number of roles. For example, you might train as an engineer, then later go onto teaching other engineers, then perhaps have your own engineering consulting business and manage other engineers.
You are not going to be an engineer, then a hairdresser, then a supermarket deli manager and then a builder – it’s just not viable or recommended, so let’s not encourage this kind of thinking for our young adults. I help them identify their best fit career field, and we can also identify roles WITHIN that field that aligns with their interests. It’s as simple as that.
So, here’s a question for you – how many of those myths above are you still using?
It’s OK if you are – I held onto a few before I became a career coach, expert and advocate for young adults.
But now we know better, we can do better, right?