Tena koutou katoa. Nga mihi nui atawhai.
‘What are you going to be when you grow up?’ Sorting through some paperwork of my mother-in-law, we came across the answer to that question – in a card that my husband, at the grand old age of six, had written to his mother.
There, in not quite straight-on-the-lines handwriting, printed with the rock solid certainty that only a six year old can have, was the declaration that, when he grew up, he was going to be a truck driver. Well, as it happened, it took him quite a few years and several career changes but, that’s what he does today.
During the next few weeks, you’re going to be discussing with your daughters about what they are currently planning on doing when they ‘grow up’. You’re going to be guiding them as to which are the best subject options to choose to ensure that they can achieve their first choice (or current choice) career option. And, despite some potential eye rolling when you talk about ‘in my day’, take heart that the research states that parents are the most influential factor in helping young people decide on their careers and subject choices.
As parents, we might not always get it right. My mother convinced me that a career as an accountant was a good, solid job, with excellent, ongoing employment options and good income potential. After 6 months of struggling with these Commerce subjects at Auckland Uni, I thought back to what I had enjoyed at school. While I had been OK at Maths, I revelled in reading and writing so I changed my next year of study to an English major and the Social Sciences and onto a successful career in education (with a couple of years in IT – so my Maths was useful after all).
So, ask your daughters what they enjoy studying. Try to keep their subject options as broad as possible so you don’t cut off future career choices. Risk the eye rolls and talk to them about your own learning and career journeys.
My advice to all our students: choose something you are passionate about so that you can get some enjoyment out of your next 50 years of learning and working.
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” (Confucius) because then you just have to “Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.” (Katherine Whitehorn).