My daughter keeps changing her career dreams. Why can’t she make a choice?
Updated: Apr 28
“Six months back she was talking of becoming an airline pilot, last month she wanted to be a space scientist and now she is taking of becoming a DJ”
“Okay” I replied
“Why can’t she make up her mind about what she wants to do. She is not taking her life seriously”
“How old is she?” I asked gingerly
“She is in the eighth grade. Shouldn’t she decide on her career choice and work towards it? The world is so competitive”
“You are working as a cloud architect, is that correct?”
“When you were in the 8th grade, did you decide to become a cloud architect?”
“We had not heard of cloud computing in that era. Computers were just coming into existence. There was no career like cloud computing”
“What makes you think that the career your daughter will have has been invented?”
Parents become very upset when their children, too young to decide, keep shifting their career choices. It is as if they want the child to decide on one path very early and stick to it. It is vital to understand how a child's mind works at a young age.
Anything that catches their fancy for the moment is the most important thing for them. After seeing a good magic show they want to become a magician, after watching an exciting cricket match they want to be a career cricketer and after reading about a Mars mission, they want to be an astronaut. These are not career choices yet, they are passing fancy. At the same time it is an exploration by the young mind.
For younger children, it is good for us to indulge them in their flights of fancy. Some of them may actually discover their true interest. But if the child is too young, it will be a passing fancy.
Only when children become older coming into their late teens, the idea of a career path may crystallize. When an older child expresses interest in a career it is a good idea ot explore that career along with them. Empower them to find out more about the career. If possible help them meet a person in that career and have a chat with them.
The era of working in one field for life does not appeal to today’s generation. Even as they step into the first career, they are giving themselves five years in that path. They are shocked when their parents tell them that they have been working in the same organization for more than two decades. In their mind that is stagnation.
Multiple careers and many of them short-lived is going to be the future. Freelancing, part-time work, two simultaneous careers are going to be the choice of many. Job security for them means something very different.
Encourage children to explore information on careers, it expands their horizon, it gives them options but we should also realize that perhaps the careers they are going to be in has not yet been invented.