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Kamis, 26 Agustus 2010

Guiding Your Teen Towards Career Happiness And Fulfillment

What do our children want to be when they grow up? Is it still the same as it was for us which was for many to go to college and get a degree? Are all of our children going to be doctors and lawyers? One of the most important things to keep in mind is with the amazing technological advances many of the jobs our children will have do not even exist yet. So one thing is for sure we must teach our teens to think out of the box.

In order to think out of the box we must, as parents, first be able to identify our own strengths and weakness. As Goethe said, "We learn best from those we love." Are we happy in our professional pursuits? Live and teach professional passion! I left a very stable job making good money in order to start my own business which is that of a divorce and parenting coach. Was is scary? The answer is a resounding yes but it is what I am good at, my purpose if you will. We must help our children find theirs. How do we do this? First help them identify their strengths. If your child fails math but gets an A in English do you hire a math tutor?

Research by the psychologist Martin Seligman says no. He recommends you put your child in a creative writing class instead. You foster your child's unique strengths. Research in education is coming to the same conclusions focus on children's relative strengths rather than investing in their weaknesses.

What are your child's strengths. Having three children really opened my eyes to how different humans are from birth. I have an advanced degree in psychology, so I really felt as parents we had the ability to shape and mold our children. This is true to a degree but all of my children are very different people with different strengths. Have your teen create career collage which can include thoughts, pictures, words of things they enjoy doing. Then look for a career which capitalizes on this. The young woman who cuts my hair is amazing. She is twenty-one and truly gifted with the ability to cut and style hair.

Her father and mother both have advanced degrees. And their daughter never did well in school and she never liked it. At twenty one she is making sixty dollars an hour. She has flexible hours and uses her innate creativity. She has found her professional passion and is both successful and happy. But it took her parents to be flexible also and to support her dreams rather than insisting she follow theirs.

What if your teen does not know what they want to be when they grow up? Help them learn and explore. There many online tests that help people identify their personality styles and what careers correspond to these styles. One of my favorites is the Myers Briggs Interest Inventory. Have your teen interview people about what they do. Have them visit a local community college career center and explore. Have them do a variety of experiences so they begin to know their likes and dislikes. John Holland a career counselor created what is called The Holland Code. This is used by schools and career counselors throughout the country. His theory is most people can be loosely placed into six categories.

The first is Realistic. These people like the outdoors and to work with mechanical, athletic and manual skills. They are the doers. The second is the investigative types. They can work alone and like to analyze ideas and issues. They may have strengths in math science and analytical abilities. Investigative like to think rather than do. Thirdly, we have the artistic types. These people, like my hair stylist, are creative, unstructured, and imaginative. They prefer to let their emotions guide them. Artistics like to create. Then there is the social type. They prefer to be around other people and actively help others and contribute to the good of society. They tend to be strong communicators and ten to be very empathic. Socials like to help. We then come to the Enterprisers. They thrive on positions involving leadership, management and persuasion. They tend to be competitive, self-confident and like to be decision makers. Finally, the Holland Code says there is the conventional style of person. They prefer structured and organized activities. They like to have a clear understanding of expectations and to follow established procedures. They may have strong verbal and numerical abilities. They are the organizers.

We have to help our teens recognize who they are and see their unique personalities so they can begin to explore their career desires. Most importantly, we have to let go of what we think they should do based on outdated expectations and embrace their professional passions so they can not only succeed but also find their professional joy.

Danah Hilden 


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