Get them involved in the decision-making process
I like this tip a lot. As a person who has run the gamut of careers and post-secondary institutes – one of my biggest regrets is not taking the time to recide what I wanted to do with my life. In grade 9 we had a career planning assignment. I had just gone to physio for a hockey injury and he fixed my leg after a misdiagnosis from a doctor. I thought that was amazing and so I chose physiotherapist for my assignment and it stuck.
I did not enjoy the schooling. I didn’t realize the education path it would take and I was not prepared for it. Physiotherapy is a fine career but it wasn’t for me. If I had taken that time I would have had a chance to realize that.
I’ve also been to a trade school and worked as an apprentice electrician. I delivered uniforms and cleaned a city pool and now I estimate in construction.
I wish I had slowed down and looked at my options. I wish somebody had helped me through what things are important to consider with a career and schooling.
- What is the work environment like?
- What are your career options after graduating?
- What is the average salary like?
- Are jobs only available in major cities?
- What are the hours of that career like?
- Are there remote opportunities?
- How long does the schooling take?
- How much does the school cost?
I have nothing against university. For some, it is the right decision. For others like me, it’s the wrong one. University – even in Canada – is expensive over a 4-year degree. Even more so for Americans.
The diploma I graduated with has as many career options as most 4-year university degrees. The salary is good as well. The diploma took only two years to complete – and in Vancouver it has a great reputation.
Like university, I also have nothing against trades. Like anything, there are pros and cons. Lay-offs are more common and there are fewer branching career paths. It’s also hard physical work. But the pay for electricians and plumbers is excellent. Lineman make in the 6 figures thanks to storms and overtime. The job can also be incredibly rewarding. Trades are one of the few careers where you get to see the work you’ve completed when you’re done. And in the trades, there is far less schooling – cheaper too – and you get paid as an apprentice.
There is no one best solution. University is not the best. Trades are not the best. Tech schools are not the best. Bootcamps are not the best.
They all come with pros and cons and getting your kids exposed to as many careers as possible – as early as possible – will help them to know what their options truly are. Schools do not do a good enough job of preparing kids for the reality of choosing a career and education path. We as parents have the responsibility to help guide our kids toward the right decision for them.