Top 3 Reasons Parents Can and Should Be More Involved In Their Childs’ Career Choice:

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Congratulations!  You have done an amazing job raising your son or daughter.  Now you’re preparing him or her for college.  For better or worse, they now need your experience and guidance more than ever.  Preparing for college has become much more complicated than a 529 Savings Plan, FAFSA and better than average ACT and Personal Statement.  It has become critical to begin implementing a strategic career-path plan as early as possible.  Failing to do so can cost more than time and money, it could result in a well educated, but underemployed and unfulfilled college graduate.

Not convinced?  Take a look at the top three reasons parents should become increasingly involved in your child’s career choice.        

1.  “Good” jobs are not as plentiful as we are lead to believe.

Recent economic events clearly demonstrate just how interdependent the leading world economies have become.  A change in the valuation of the Chinese currency, the perceived value of a barrel of oil or the willingness of the Euro Zone to bail out one of its’ partners has been shown to have a direct impact on the economy, pocketbooks and job rate here in the USA.1

In addition to worldwide economic fragility, despite what our government officials tell us, the US economy seems less resilient and robust as many report.  This economic sluggishness makes sense when one considers declining manufacturing jobs in the USA.  Remember the days when most cities had enough manufacturing facilities to offer a “living wage” job to anyone who wanted one?  These industries often employed hundreds or thousands of people?  Where have these jobs gone?  Unfortunately, we can’t place all the blame on “outsourcing”.   The reality is this…Technology and Automation advancement means less people are needed to do the work.  Will this trend change?  Probably not.

So, why will this likely be the way of the future?…

For one, the advancement of robotic and computer technology is directly impacting the way in which we do our “work”.   This technology includes everything from smart phones to machines equipped with Artificial Intelligence (AI).  These machines now have the capability to make “decisions” and  take “appropriate” action.  In fact, machines are now performing the delicate and technical task of administering anesthesia to patients undergoing surgical procedures.  (Incidentally, this directly impacts my profession…Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesia.)  Do I feel my career is threatened by the introduction of “smart” anesthesia machines equipped with AI?  Not yet.  Should my children question Anesthesia as a profession?  Perhaps.  This is just one example of how just a decade ago we could not imagine the extent to which technology can remove the “human factor” from work, even highly technical work.

In the BBC World Service report, The Inquiry:  What Will Happen When Robots Take Our Jobs?, Tech journalist, David Baker makes a profound statement….

The advancement of technology could someday cause us to live an amazing Utopia , OR we may exist in an amazing Dystopia (think…The Hunger Games or Divergent).2

The choice is ours, dystopia or utopia.  Regardless of the way our society copes with the advancement in technology, this fact remains…The good ol’ days when most people work a single “9 to 5” job are fading.   The gold watch after forty years of dedicated service will soon be the thing of the past.  Since most of us will eventually be forced to “piecemeal” a career from several sources, it’s now critical we begin to learn to transition to a “freelance” mindset.               

Finally, what about the unemployment or under-employment rates?  If we are to believe our government officials, it’s actually looking quite rosy “out there”.  At the time of this writing, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current unemployment rate is at a seven year low of 5.3%.3  However, these unemployment rates do not seem to reflect what is truly happening “out there”.  We’re ignoring the current under-employment rates.

There is no denying the job climate has become more challenging for recent college grads.  Therefore, recent grads are finding it increasingly difficult to “launch” from the loving arms of their parents.  This is due to a combination of sky-high student loan debt, ultra high living expenses, fewer jobs and relatively low entry-level incomes.  Unfortunately, these hardships are becoming the norm.  In fact, among friends of my college age kids, the delayed-launch or failure-to-launch is becoming the expectation (truth be told…this includes two of my three kids).  It’s a really tough job market “out there”.


What about under-employment? It seems the “cat was let out of the bag” regarding the real effect of under-employment in the USA.  Gallup Poll Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton offered a plausible explanation for why the job market continues to slog along and why under-employment is so pervasive.           


2.  The increasing cost of college tuition does not always allow  sufficient time for “career exploration”.

3.  At ages 17 to 19, most kids are simply not prepared to make a well informed “career choice”…-THE- decision that will impact them for the rest of their life.