Your college-age son or daughter, statistically speaking, is likely clueless about the vast range of careers on offer in the world.
Oh sure, they know what you and the spouse do, we hope, and maybe have in mind a half-dozen occupations they’ve either come into contact with or admired from afar. A survey of 600,000 teens by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found them narrowly focused on a tiny handful of occupations, from the plausible (teacher, doctor, engineer) to significantly more unlikely (designer, actor, professional musician).
If your kid is approaching college age, or already enrolled, you may have wished your heavy lifting — helping with the algebra homework, critiquing the essays — was over. But now, if you value your current or future status as a happy empty-nester (that couch; all that’s in your refrigerator; honestly, your liquor cabinet), your job is to help acquaint your adult child with the working world in all its complex glory.
Yes, it’s quite possible that your offspring isn’t taking your suggestions quite like they did a few years ago, and it might seem more comfortable to let them work all this out on their own. Unless they’re already dialed in to a high-demand, higher-income vocational track — nursing, premed, engineering, computer science — don’t. The country is awash in underemployed liberal arts grads, and you want to help your kid avoid a similar fate.
This list will get you and them started finding a satisfying career.
Get a job now. No matter how demanding the field of study your child is in, they should be working part-time during college. To learn to show up on time. Do what’s asked. Work with others no matter how annoying they are. It matters less what job they do at this point and, in fact, having a crummy job is a great motivator to seek a good one in the future.
Discover occupations. It’s fine to say, “Dear, ask your Uncle Al about his work as a CPA.” But it’s best to be more systematic. Bloomberg, the world’s largest business news organization, and its fabulous weekly magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, feature countless companies you and your child have probably never heard of, and those firms have jobs you’ve likely never imagined. Make it a monthly conversation (you can save up a few articles on interesting employers) to discuss what each of you has read.
Businessweek costs $99 a year, so $198 for the two of you. It’s old-fashioned to subscribe to a print publication, but having the thing land in your or your offspring’s mailbox weekly will prod you to have a look. Sound expensive? Think of the $100,000 to $200,000 you’re likely shelling out for college.
The yearly Bloomberg 50 list (Google it) profiles fast-growing employers whose business is often part of a large economic trend. Learn about legal cannabis, direct to consumer retail, the booming world of batteries and more.
And about that liberal arts major. It’s OK — even tech companies hire