Pick A Path: Smart Career Steps For Smart Young People Part 1


Pick A Path: Smart Career Steps For Smart Young People Part 1

By Donovan Grant

One of the worst things for a young person right now is to work in a field where they do not enjoy the work and they feel their skills are underutilised on a massive scale.

I can remember starting my career as a young 18 year old. I'd been studying maths, computer science and economics and the exams were finally over. The school careers adviser had told us how easy it would be for us to get a job and sure enough, it took one interview and an aptitude test and the job was mine. I began my career as a computer programmer.

That was in the 1980's. It was much easier for a young person to get a job the loved back then!

Now we are in a leaner, meaner and tougher time.

My own daughter turned 18 this year and to be honest… she’s no idea what career path she wants to pick. She’s had meetings with the school career adviser; however she is still at a loss. From what she says, careers advice basically amounts to “create yourself a resume”, “register with career agencies” and “start looking for roles you are interested in.”

That’s it!

No wonder that a survey conducted for the BBC showed that two thirds of students wished they had received better advice at school on choosing careers and degree courses. Many undergraduates in the UK think the careers advice they received at school was poor. I’ve got to be honest, it doesn’t sound much different to the type of careers advice we received way back in the 1980’s.

Young people deserve to get the best start on their career paths. Just think about the roles a parent plays in the nurturing a child through life: We feed them, clothe them, teach them, keep them safe and ultimately we set them up to have a future of their dreams. This includes helping them to get on the right career path when they are ready to join the world of work.

Did you know that millions of working years are being wasted because so many people are in the wrong career?

A survey conducted online suggests people spend an average of four years and 10 months in jobs that do not make the best use of their skills. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been there at stages in my career too and I know plenty of friends that have been on the same journey. Have you ever been in a job and felt that it really was not for you?

It doesn’t have to be that way for your child. They can make better choices.

The thing is- quality careers advice is so important for young people. And rather than just starting with their careers resume, it begins with an inventory of who they really are and what they really desire to do.

My daughter is going on a journey of discovery over the next year. It’s a kind of a gap year. She’ll be studying at art college and sample many fields of interest and ultimately she’ll be narrowing in on a target path to follow.

The cool thing is that, it doesn’t matter if she doesn’t choose the perfect path. She has time and so does your child too. We have to tell them that it’s okay to get it wrong.

Here’s a few first steps that my daughter will be taking to start her career journey. This will be useful for your child to do too.

1. Write a mini autobiography of the peak up and down moments in your life. This will help identify skills, traits and passions.

2. Write a list of 20 things that are most important in life and work. Then narrow the list down to a top five by using “I couldn’t with without….”

3. Pretend it’s your 95th birthday and you are looking back and talking about what you achieved in your career and life. Think achievements, contributions, people, etc;

It’s never too early to start looking at career paths for our children. So let’s be the catalyst to help people realise their aspirations, widen opportunities as well as boosting the economy.

Let’s raise the next generation for success.

I believe in you.



Donovan Grant is a coach, mentor, blogger, speaker and IT professional who brings his wisdom of parenting for the last 21 years and coaching clients through the stages of raising youth and empowering leaders with life lessons that are changing generations.  He is a passionate and committed leader who believes that we all have the ability to help to change someone else’s life. Actively doing so as a catalyst for many years he teaches how to live a life of success, balance, integrity and fun, whether at work or at play. www.donovangrant.com 

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