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Kids and Career Choices

Posted Sep 14 2010 1:06pm

Boy looking at computer

One of my sons, at age 11, has settled on a career path: He’s joining the Coast Guard . He’s doing so in part because the Coast Guard is a cool organization, but also because he knows that I, a Coast Guard retiree, get a guaranteed monthly retirement check . He’s very aware that many of his friends’ parents, since the recession started, have lost jobs or taken pay cuts.

He thought about becoming a photojournalist, like my husband, but we told him that photojournalism is a highly competitive field that doesn’t pay much. As a pragmatic child who likes his creature comforts, he’s opted (for now) for the more financially secure choice.

The recession, I believe, has made kids think about career choices in a more practical way. I don’t think kids should limit themselves, but the bottom line is important for everyone to consider. The  Bureau of Labor Statistics has a lot of good information on that aspect, for career-changers as well as for those just starting out.

There’s a great site for kids that answers these questions on 60 different occupations:
• What is this job like?
• How do you get ready?
• How much does this job pay?
• How many jobs are there?
• What about the future?

The BLS’s Occupational Outlook Handbook provides information on hundreds of jobs, with answers to questions such as:
•  What are the highest paying jobs?
•  What are the fastest growing jobs?

Two more helpful Department of Labor -sponsored web sites are:
• , which delves into jobs from educational requirements to going on job interviews.
• , which tells about this free education and training program for youth 16 and up.

I’m sure my son’s career aspirations will change many times as he grows up, and I’m not too worried about it. Right now I just want him to stay healthy and focused and do well in school .

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