Things never go in a straight line.
Today I was talking with my son about his career options. However, he is still unsure what subjects he might want to study further after finishing high school.
He has some interests in specific topics and is exploring them along with his passion for gaming.
Gaming can be a profession as it is a multi-billion dollar market. I am staying open to his ideas here.
That was not my internal reaction. The thoughts in my head were different to what I said. That is because I was playing the mature parent and because I am getting clear that things never go in a straight line when you are looking at the future.
My initial reaction comes from the panicked parent worrying about what their son will do with their lives.
What will they work as?
How successful will they be?
What does he need to do now to have a good life?
But when you stop to think about this, he is only seventeen. He has a year to get an idea of what he might want to do for the rest of his working life.
What in the hell are we doing to our young. He is still growing and exploring at this age. He has been a functioning person for a couple of years… Before that, he was a baby, a toddler, a minor and a gangly clueless teenager.
Now he is getting his bearings, and we are trying to force him and others his age into picking a career for life. A job for their whole life!!
He has to decide now, what he might want to do for the next forty-five years!
F*ck me. That is tough in this day and age. We don’t even know what the workplace will look like in five years, never mind twenty to thirty years from now – when he is in his best earning years.
As my son and I talked, we began to move the conversation towards what skills he could learn to be flexible in his future choices. We talked about what he thought the job market might look like and he was surprisingly very informed. He had been picking up a lot from the media and online conversations about the current covid situation and what it had caused in the current job market and the impact on the workplace/workforce.
He was aware of the need to remain very nimble in what his chosen career was going to be, and he was thinking on generalisations.
I was super proud of his way of thinking and how fresh the conversation became. He relaxed and became much more assertive as we explored the future of his working life.
He was definite on money, spending sensibly, building wealth fast (ish), and he was aware that he has to be agile in the job market.
He was framing out a gig economy even though he didn’t know it. He was also discussing transferable skills and how he has a plan to keep learning new things. He was also clear that the working life could be prolonged if he didn’t get happiness from the job and how he would change that.
He likes the idea of getting freedom when he is working. It is more natural, he suggested.
The conversation was delightful, and I asked him where he was getting some of his views from. I am aware that I would impact him, but like most seventeen-year-olds, they often seek to affirm their own opinions and ideas.
He was being informed by his friends.
Apparently, this is a big focus of all the talk in the youth of today. Today’s youth are worried about their future and are working hard to understand what it will be and how they will fit into it.
They are openly sharing ideas, tips, knowledge, and they are looking for role models to give direction. The role models my son shared with me are well balanced and sensible. They are people who are changing the world for the better and have a broad impact from business to saving the planet.
The youth of today are demonstrating such deep maturity and clarity that we, the grown-ups, could learn a lot from.
I have been so impressed by how they have handled such a challenging time, and I hold no fear of how they will take to the future workplace.
The big questions for me will be whether the workplace will be ready for them and whether the leaders and role models will be as nimble and open-minded as they seem to be.
I am not sure if we will be able to align the old with the new or if there is an unrepairable disconnect, but I hope so.
I hope we get it right for them…
…Because hope is what they need and what we should be providing.