It takes a village!

In evaluating my own experience when choosing a career, the highlights are not very encouraging. I was not sure what I wanted to do, and did not have enough understanding of what careers were available, and which ones aligned with my passions, preferences and ambitions.

Although my parents brought to bare all the tools at their disposal at the right time, including having me take an aptitude test and see a counselor, it would not be an understatement to say that I had no clue as to what career I wanted to pursue, or what it meant to choose a career, or what the impact would be in my life to make such choice. So my first attempt at choosing a career followed the family tradition, which happened to also come up in the aptitude test as an option.

Some kids have clear passions that manifest early in their lives, and align with obvious career choices. My middle daughter, for instance, has been drawing since she was able to hold a pen. In her case it was easier to narrow the career options, albeit not to one or two.

Other kids are influenced by their environment, and tend to assume they want to be what is trendy at the time. In the case of my son, before he realized that the chances of actually making it were fairly slim, his mind mind was strongly set on becoming a YouTuber rockstar.

In some cases the environment has a much stronger influence on career choices. Some neighborhoods mostly see athletes break out of school drop-out cycles, which influences the minds of the kids of the neighborhood, who tend to see that as the only viable career choice.

Other neighborhoods associate status and success with more traditional careers in medicine, law, and finance, which also influences the career choice process by greatly narrowing it, and ignoring preferences of work setting, schedule, and other personal preferences that make a career fulfilling, as opposed to only successful.

Kids getting ready to make career choices typically do not have enough information to understand what careers are available to them. They usually do not know what is required to pursue a career, such as degrees and licenses. Also, they only have some limited exposure to the daily activities related to the careers of those close to them, and in most cases they lack information on what the career pays, what is the long term career path, what is the unemployment rate, and what employers in the area hire for such career.

At Genius Careers we are committed to helping kids find fulfilling careers. Our MEET a Champion program (Mentor, Empower, Engage, Teach) offers an opportunity for kids in their classrooms to be exposed to professionals from different careers, working for top companies, who tell their career stories in hopes of inspiring others.

Visit our site (www.geniusplaza.com/careers) for more information on our career exploration tools, and to book a MEET a Champion for your school, and follow us on social media.