I get incredibly annoyed when people moan about their work, but won’t even consider the idea of looking into changing something about it, because “it’s always going to be work”.
It seems they can’t even imagine that work can actually be fun and a positive part of life. And of course, I completely disagree… So I thought with Valentine’s Day approaching, the theme of love, and loving our career, was appropriate for this blog.
I believe in love…
I absolutely believe that our work can, and should be, a positive part of our lives. In the western world, at least most of us have a lot of flexibility with how we choose to make our living. Yes, some more so than others, but often more than we might think.
I do genuinely love my work. That’s not to say I love everything about it every single minute, but the challenging things are more than worth it for the enjoyment I get from it. Oh, and of course, it’s great getting paid for something I find fun.
Two things make a big difference to the chance of finding career love
I think there are two things that can make a big difference to us actually building a career we enjoy.
Believing it’s possible
The first one is actually believing that it is a possibility. Otherwise why even bother trying? We behave differently when we believe something is actually possible. We look for opportunities, try harder, reflect on experiences, and think about what we might want to change, what we want to keep, and how we might go about getting to where we want to be.
So think about what your child is learning about work through watching you, family members, or other adults around them. Do they see people who genuinely enjoy their work and that could inspire them to create this for themselves? Or do they only hear the adults around them moan about how stressful and/or boring work is, but that this is “just what work is like”?
Maybe watch out that they don’t just hear you moan about a stressful day, but also hear you talk about a project you are excited about. Or some exciting plans you are making to eventually change your career because you believe that it can be a positive part of your life and about more than the money.
Accepting even true love can have its challenges
The second thing is the mindset that a career they love can still have its challenges. Like in human relationships, they will sometimes need some work. Even the best ones. And believing that if he or she was “the one” there would never be any disagreements or tricky times usually leads to disappointment in a relationship.
It’s similar with a career. The question is usually not so much if there are downsides, but more if the downsides or challenges are worth it for the positive elements. Are the problems the sort of thing they want to try and solve, or would they be bored or stressed beyond belief? We are all different in our preferences, skills and what motivates us. It’s about finding out what is the right fit for us.
And this can take time and effort to explore and reflect. Their first job might not be the dream role yet, but with some preparation, there is a good chance it will at least have some positive elements and then they can learn and work out what might be next.
They might date a few careers
And again, like with relationships, they might “date” a few careers before learning what they really need and want and finding “the one” or they might have several “serious long-term” ones but split up amicably when their life and preferences change.
Help them to reflect on their thoughts and feelings
Encouraging your child to make their own choices and reflect on them from a young age can really help with future career choices. The seemingly simple question of “Why?” goes a long way here. As in “why do you like this subject?” “Why would you like to choose this GCSE option over that one?” “What makes you feel more comfortable at that college rather than this one?” and so on. And encouraging the belief that education can be fun (and in my view should be) can also help encourage more motivation to try and find those subjects that spark their interests, which might very well be the first little steps to working out what they might love in a future career.
It’s so much easier if they believe it’s possible
But as I said, more important than even the research, is the belief that it is possible to find a career they love, because that is the thing that will actually give them the motivation to put in the effort to find it.
If you want to help your teen explore all the great options out there and find some inspiration for possible future options, including possible careers, make sure you join my free Facebook group for parents here
And if you are looking for some inspiration for careers your teen might love, have a look at my digital career inspiration booklet here. It has 24 pages of career suggestions by subject/area of interest. So whatever subject your teen loves in school or college, you should find some suggestions to explore in it. Each section also includes a number of websites to help you and your teen research further.