If you had asked me 23 years ago if my eldest child would be paid to call video game matches, I would have looked at you like this.
That really shows my age doesn’t it?
It was a whole new world to me.
It is a world that I am happy about, and a world that I embrace. Because it is a world where people are allowed to be creative, and use all those out of the box type skills that people have been telling us for years are unnecessary for life. Too me it is a more holistic view of society. We need everybody.
The career landscape is changing. Jobs aren’t always the same as they were even 10 or 20 years ago. Every day people are finding new ways to provide for themselves and their families.
My son paid his way through college with his YouTube money, he earned enough from his channel to support himself the 3 years he was at college. Seeing this happen right before our eyes, started to prepare us as parents for how culture was changing. It started to challenge our world view and think about how we were expecting life to happen. It certainly made us question our own traditional ideas, and we had to open our eyes to seeing things in a very different way.
When my kids started getting to the age where they were making decisions about college etc I gave them three pieces of advice.
Do something you love
There is nothing worse than doing a job that makes you miserable, let alone making a career out of it. So many young people today are making career choices based on what earns them the most money, rather than what ignites them, what makes them happy or allows them to feel fulfilled.
Don’t get me wrong, we’ve all had to do jobs we hate from time to time to pay the bills, and there is a place for that as well. I have worked stacking shelves, on a factory line sorting fish fingers and telemarketing, NONE of those jobs I liked at all. But they put food on the table.
So when advising my kids on what to do, it was an easy piece of advice to give. As you are starting out, think about what makes you happy, what lights up your soul and what brings you satisfaction. Now couple that with, can you make money doing it? Let’s be practical here, I hear plenty of parents tell me their kids have done such and such a course at university, but haven’t been able to turn that degree into a job and so are doing a job, that they could have done anyway, without a student loan hanging over their heads.
This seems like a colossal waste of time and money.
Do something that doesn’t make you feel like you’ve sold your soul. But that feeds it.
Do something you can work for yourself doing.
This piece of advice was born out of going through the two recessions this country saw starting in 2008. My husband is a risk manager, and often they are the first to go when things get tough. He has contracted for himself for at least 10 years which makes him all the more vulnerable. It is feast or famine work.
I saw during those times that when things get tough it can be really hard to be in industries that take a hit every time the economy crashes. And while he still works in that industry, he is also the type of guy that would take a job doing anything to pay the bills. He isn’t adverse to trying new things or ‘settling’ to put food on the table. He used to work for himself until his mid twenties before he decided to go to university. He is the kind of guy that gets stuff done. The skills he learnt by working for himself have stood him in good stead.
Reflecting back on that, when it came time for my own kids to do some soul-searching, our own experiences were very much in my mind.
Try more than one thing as well, while studying get a job doing something else, so that you are developing skills in another area, so that you will always have something to fall back on or supplement your income.
Do something that you can be entrepreneurial with if needs be. Do something that makes you employable in more than one area.
Do something you’re good at.
Gone are the days of careers being set in stone for everyone. These days you can get to the end of your life, and not have worked in the same job for 40 years like other generations may have. There are of course people who still do that and this is not a criticism, but my observations are that these days careers/jobs are more fluid. People are more adventurous when it comes to trying new things and having a go at something.
When our kids started to talk about spreading their wings, and trying something new at either college or school, they didn’t always know where to start. They knew they wanted to move away from home educating, but they weren’t always sure into what.
I would sit down with them, and have a chat about the things they liked to do. For my YouTubing son, who’d spent the time from about 12 dabbling in various channels, editing and what we sometimes saw as messing around, media seemed a great choice for him to try his hand at. For my daughter whose room was awash with various pieces of fabric, ribbon, and art/craft supplies that would rival a scrap store, we thought art might be worth trying. And for my daughter who had spent her whole childhood and teen years talking about, learning about and trying to be near animals, that seemed like a good thing to explore.
I encouraged each of them to look at their strengths and weaknesses and to ‘have a go at’ something they were naturally good at and enjoyed doing.
So far these initial steps dipping their toe in their chosen field, has led them onto further study in those areas.
I don’t expect that they will stay in those fields forever, because I expect, knowing their personalities, they will have all kinds of things that they will want to try, but it was a great place to start.