In conversation with my son, 16, on the way home from 6th form today,we got to talking about ‘the real world’ and his career prospects. Now my boy has wanted to be a police officer for as long as I can remember, and only now is he spreading his attentions to other avenues.
He is tempted by the very modern concept of PR and Marketing and is drawn to the glamour of Big Brands, especially in fashion but is also fascinated by Law and Politics!
What a conundrum!
So we have encouraged him to ‘take every opportunity’ and to his credit he bagged himself a clutch of very respectable GCSE’s (including English even with the change of horses in mid-study, thanks Mr Gove!) and is now studying Business Studies, Law, IT and Sociology at AS level. We are in two minds about Uni but keeping all options open, and the most vital message I have been trying to impart, and the real reason for this post is that fact that he must find out what he really enjoys.
Now in the past this was a luxury unheard of in the working world, my own father once told me that ‘You go to work to pay the bills, not enjoy I could feel the surge of rebellion rumbling deep inside me.
My core belief (long before such things were actually invented) has always been that ‘Life and Work’ were undeniably linked and should not necessarily be separated.That is to say, if you don’t want to commute for hours to a desk in a box you shouldn’t have to.
I followed my ignorant heart to a certain extent and did lots of jobs that allowed me to live and work in the same place, however in my ignorance I failed to determine exactly what I wanted out of those jobs, and quickly found myself frustrated and seeking yet another ‘opportunity’
I do not want this for my kids as it meant I never really ‘found my niche’ and really failed to make the money I deserved. So in my role as parent (one job I have stuck to) I feel it is my duty to enlighten my kids as to the TRUTH of the world of work and also to learn as much as I can about the new economies.
Luckily the world is now falling into line with my beliefs and I am not looked at strangely for encouraging my children to pursue ‘jobs they love’, to develop ‘residual income’ and to have ‘more than one income stream’. I also advocate ‘Be Loyal to Yourself not your Job’. Now this may seem counter intuitive but I lived and worked for too long in a world where employees were expected to be loyal to the job, but the job had no such loyalties to its workforce; so I advocate loyalty to your own values, and rigorous interviewing of your potential employer as to how your values compare to theirs. Sounds obvious right? Yet how many of us would have ever DARED be so demanding in an interview – and in the current climate of 800 applications for 30 positions can you afford to be so ballsy? I believe you can, and should be, and by being politely firm about what you will and won’t do, accepting the need to be flexible without becoming the office doormat is a vital if you are to be a happy, healthy, profitable employee.