You can’t avoid career uncertainty

Several times this year, I’ve seen a thing going around social media. I don’t want to call it a meme, because I associate memes with sarcasm and puns, but it’s that flavour of social media post. It’s an image that says something in the vein of, we’re not all in the same boat. We’re in the same storm. Some people have a yacht, some people have a rowboat and some people are drowning. You don’t know who is where, so be kind.

The reference is to the COVID-19 pandemic, of course. But as professional hazard would have it, it makes me think of teenagers and their parents and the giant storm that is career decision making when you’re young.

Many kids and many parents are confused and overwhelmed about career decision making, and in my experience this comes from a place of fear. Kids fear getting it wrong, their parents fear they’ve failed as parents and everybody assumes junior is never going to move out if they don’t get it right. And that means get it right today. Right now.

You can’t know everything

So often in the career world, you just don’t know until you try. As much as you can ask questions and read articles and watch videos, each individual’s experience will vary – sometimes slightly, sometimes drastically. There’s a little leap of faith in each career decision we make, whether it is choosing a post-secondary program, or taking a new job.

So as 2020 comes to a close, I want to offer up some practical wisdom in the face of uncertainty: you will never be certain.

We joke about there being only two guarantees in life: death and taxes. What if that is actually true? If we can accept that we can guarantee nothing else, then maybe what that does is give us (and our kids) a little bit of freedom to play. They key is to choose something that sounds interesting and then to stay curious, ask questions and connect with others who care about the same things you do along the way. I know how difficult this is to do, but if you can accept that some uncertainty is inevitable, you can focus your energy on what you are certain or comfortable with.

Bring on 2021!

This will be my last blog post for 2020! If you know a teen who is struggling with figuring out life after high school, I’m offering workshops over the holiday break to help ease the stress. Use promo code holiday2020 to get 25% off the workshop price until noon (EST) December 24, 2020. I will also be repeating these workshops throughout early 2021, so if December is too stressful already, keep an eye out for those new dates in the new year.

I want to wish everyone a safe and joyful holiday season. It’s been a rough year on everyone, so be as kind as you can to yourself and others. I’ll be back with new posts in January 2021.

If 2020 has made you SO over your employer, check out my other career workshops happening in January and February. They’ll get you ready for the career change you’re seeking in 2021!

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