Talks about career guidance should begin as early as possible, or as soon as possible, students begin showing interest. I think of my daughter, who is in fourth grade. I cannot even begin to tell you how many discussions we have already had about the implications of careers that may be of interest to her. For example, she has expressed wanting to be a baker. My wife and I tried to talk about the early hours she would have to produce bakery items for customers. She expresses interest in being a party planner. As such, we mentioned that she could plan parties and offer as part of that package the ability to make cakes and pastries. Our goal is to get her to think about how she could combine her interests in a potential career.
Career guidance should routinely occur in secondary schools. The goal is to help them discover what things they like as well as those things that are of no interest. All too often, students proceed to attend college with little to no direction. Having no awareness of a pathway can be a costly endeavor as they attempt to navigate the waters. If students can make a career choice before attending school, they will be able to save money associated with education while also entering the work world at a faster rate as students move into the workforce sooner they earn income sooner.
Moreover, this would also help business leaders as they attempt to address their ongoing employment needs. I recall that when I entered college and took entry-level courses, all of them are made to sound and seem interesting. As such, I was flooded with career avenues.
Career Guidance and Subject Areas
While not all teachers at my school provide career guidance relating to their subjects a significant portion of their class, I always try to sprinkle in topics surrounding careers in my business courses. Last year I had guest speakers, resume writing, and mock interviews, to name a few. I look forward to bringing speakers into the room as it breaks up the monotony of class, and speakers can echo the message I am trying to share. Students have always found these sessions beneficial.
I have also tried to move away from explicitly asking students what career is of interest. Career decision making can be a daunting question to answer. I have moved to ask what problems are of interest to them? Part of the reason I ask this question is that careers are always changing. Many future careers have yet to be created. I think this also shows the fluidity of moving from one thing to another, and demand is placed on stackable skills.
I think it is essential that students identify their own goals so that they feel empowered. They need to identify what solutions are best for them. I believe our role as WBL coordinators is to follow the Socratic method. We are acting as life coaches. If we can get students to do critical reflection and arrive at their destination, students will gain self-confidence that will allow them to be optimistic about their potential and have a level of self-actualization. To be successful students need career guidance.