Parents: How Do You Prepare Your Student For A Job That Doesn’t Yet Exist?

It’s a scary prospect that after spending possibly 6-figures to send your student to college, that they’ll be part of an age-group that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is experiencing 10.5% unemployment (20 to 24 y/olds). Or, if they are employed, according to the Economic Policy Institute, they might be woefully UNDER-employed (16.8%).

Combine that with the fact that many of the jobs at which they’ll work in their careers DON’T YET EXIST, and it is daunting!

As a mother, I adore my children, but I’m raising them to be strong, kind, contributing global citizens, not live in my basement until they’re 30!

From my perspective, it is my responsibility as a parent to prepare my offspring for a lifetime of sustainable employability.

The fact is, in today’s globally competitive workplace, if we’re not actively managing our own career, no one else is doing it for us.

So, what can you do? Here are 3 things that can make a difference:

1) Be a role model.
That may seem easier said than done, but by actively managing your OWN career, you’re teaching them by example.

Develop your personal brand --demonstrating how to identify where you’re at your best and how you add value in your own professional life. It’s a great gift you’ll give yourself, your career, and them.

2) Create space and support your student’s exploration of a variety of interests. There’s been a lot written about innovation, and how to foster it in ourselves and our children.

Tony Wagner’s work on Creating Innovators is the most compelling I’ve read - as he talks about Play, Passion, and Purpose. Click here to learn more to about “The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World.”

Examine and question your own beliefs. Tony Wagner says, "Too many … reward the 'old school' behaviors of deference to authority and striving for 'success,' conventionally defined -and count on carrots and sticks for motivation.”

What do you use? If you want to learn more about it, here’s a link to a YouTube video of a lecture; it’s worth the watch. The cost is your time, and the chance to stretch your parenting muscles.

3) Read up and understand what skills of the future are in a world’s that only constant is change. Here’s a sampling of skills that make a difference. Read this post from TheAtlantic.com to learn more about them.

Social Intelligence - Ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions

Adaptive Thinking - Proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based

Cognitive Load Management: -Ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, a concept very similar to the Gallup StrengthsFinder® theme called INPUT.

The bottom line is this. As parents, we play a powerful role in impacting our children’s readiness for the future they will create. I’m up to the task, are you?