Friday, September 3, 2010

Preparing my children for the world of tomorrow, and wondering how many careers they will have in a lifetime

As I am preparing my oldest for 1st grade and my youngest for preschool, I am embarking on the need to always keep them occupied. Lately, we have been assigning them to do tasks, and sometimes they want to do things on their own (good sign of a future entrepreneur). But, they are also thinking about the money that they can earn in these tasks so they can get the things that they want, like Barbie dolls or Pillow Pets.

While this is their world of worry now, only saving enough money for a toy, I keep wondering what their future has in store. The career choices they have are limitless, and yet their list of "What I want to be when I grow up" is growing too. Unfortunately, we can't cut that list down for them because though my daughter wants to be a vet, a nurse, a massage therapist and an artist when she grows up, she might have to do all of them to earn a living, putting a house over her head.

Long gone are the days when our parents only chose one career and stuck with it for over 50 years. What a blessing if it were true today. Now is the new age of our evolving world where you have to learn more than one career skill in order to make your self marketable and more versatile in today's job market. Career changing is the norm, community colleges are increasing enrollments of non-traditional students (probably why the TV show "Community" is such a big hit) and having one degree with one skill is not enough.

Some sources say it is hard to determine what the average number of careers a person will have in a lifetime, but I can assume that the average is not one. Switching careers is not the same as changing jobs, like a promotion or just moving over from one department of a company to another. This is a totally new concept of actually learning something new in order to do a new job. So with the wide variety of jobs my child wants to do (a vet, a nurse, a massage therapist and an artist) there are different schools that apply to each, and getting one college degree, one certification and one masters may not be enough. I am not looking forward to her education bill in the future, especially if she has to change with the times.

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