Parent-to-Parent: Career Exploration with your Teen

29 March 2018

Have you tried to help your teen with their options for post-secondary education, just to be told “I can’t talk to you about this, you just don’t understand!”? If that sounds familiar, you are not alone. Career exploration and planning can be an overwhelming task. Teens often get stressed and afraid to make a decision.  “What If …  I don’t like it … What If … it ends up not being what I want to do … What If … I can’t find a job afterwards … What if …  they worried for nothing!” 

Education and training is a valuable investment in yourself, as the transferrable skills and experience gained will be useful throughout your life and career journey.

For some teens, an end goal is needed in order to focus and get it done. For others, taking it year-by-year may be a better approach, which keeps them focused in the moment and not getting overwhelmed with what’s next.  It also allows for more achievable goals. This could look like enrolling in a program that offers stages of completion, such as certificate for the first year, diploma for second year, and degree upon completion of the 3rd and 4th years.

The WorkBC Parents’ Guide is a great resource for getting the conversation and journey started. Consider participating in the 3Cs of Career Exploration together with your teen:
  1. Career Compass has  three quizzes which help you  find out which industries and careers are the best fit for your work preferences, abilities and favourite subjects.
  2. Career Trek has videosthat will give you valuable insight into different careers. 
  3. Career Profiles tell you the details of various careers - from job duties and wages to projected job openings in your region.  
You can also review the list of High Opportunity Occupations for career ideas and to get a sense of labour market trends for the 500 occupations throughout B.C.

“Finding your passion” is important.  Build on their interests by exploring all options that could be a fit.  For instance, just because they like animals does not mean they have to be a veterinarian – they can become an advocate or lawyer for animal rights.  

Remember:  Don’t focus on the destination, enjoy the journey. Your career will evolve during your lifetime, and all the education and experience you collect will benefit your end result.