• Choosing a Career—Mighty Parenting 217 with Emma B Perez

  • choosing a career

    There’s nothing quite so intimidating for teens as putting themselves out there and interviewing for their first job, whether it’s waiting tables or fixing computers. Choosing a career can be a complicated process with a number of factors from personal skills to college class choices. Career and life design coach Emma B Perez knows this and is here to help us, parents and teens alike. Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler interviews Emma about changing freelance job market trends, varied options for education after high school, and how our teens need to look at choosing a career path for their futures.

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    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    The job market is changing fast. By 2027 more than 50% of the workforce will be freelance.

    High Points From Our Conversation on Choosing a Career:

    Quote about choosing a career

    Emma worked her ideal job for a decade, then decided it was no longer right for her. She then went on a journey, working with coaches and therapists while figuring out what she wanted to do next. A placeholder college admissions job ended up launching her into career and life coaching for teens.

    At 18 you don’t have to decide on the job you want to for the rest of your life. It’s normal to change jobs and careers, and to do it more than once.

    Choosing a career goes beyond choosing a college. Many teens feel lost once they enter college, because all the focus of their help was getting them into college, not what to do at college or after college.

    There are seven options for educating yourself after high school—college is only one of them. If you find jobs that suit you, look at the logical educational paths for them, and adjust your plans and expectations accordingly.

    Choosing a career based on a subject you like in school or a hobby isn’t always the best choice. Just because you’re proficient in that subject doesn’t mean you’ll like the work that uses it.

    When thinking about choosing a career, here’s some relevant questions for your teen to consider:
    • Who am I?
    • What can I do in this world?
    • What can I offer the world (and the people in it?)
    • What are my transferable skills?

    What’s a good fit for your personality, interests, and skills?

    There are many aspects to think about when considering your future, expectations for your life as an adult included: Who are you? How do you want to spend your time? How much time do you want to use on your job vs. your home life?

    Get to know occupations beyond which school subjects they involve. Are they salaried, or freelance with a contract? What are the day-to-day expectations? Is it 9-to-5, or odd hours? What’s travel time? Average pay? Insurance? What kinds of people will be your coworkers?

    So you found occupations that suit your skills. But do they also suit your core values, your priorities, and how you want to spend your time?

    The paradigm of go to college, you’ll get a good job and be financially secure for life may have been true years ago, before the job market started changing, and pensions became 410k’s, and the healthcare market became different.

    According to various studies and projections, by the year 2027 more than 50% of the workforce will be freelance. Even Google is shifting from salaried to contract jobs. It’s requiring young people to be more entrepreneurial.

    The job market is changing fast. If teens go to college, by the time they join the workforce, there will be jobs existing that didn’t when they entered college; that’s how quickly the job market is shifting. Our teens have to be ready to shift with it.

    It’s not necessarily about training for a specific job or a certain hard skill set. There are soft skills (also called power skills) that our teens can develop to keep them flexible as job type and availability changes. They have to be able to learn and grow to step into new positions and new jobs.

    It’s important to keep examining yourself as you change and as your career and career expectations change:

    • Who are you?
    • What do you care about?
    • How can you serve?

    The intersection between who you are and how you serve is where you can find your unique value.

    Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life.

    Not everyone wants to have work that is the main focus of their life. It’s okay to be satisfied with a job that supports the rest of your life, and you fulfill your desires for making a difference elsewhere.

    When they’re working on choosing a career, stop asking your teen what they want. Instead, ask them:
    • What type of job are they looking for?
    • Where would they like to live?
    • What kind of people do they want to work with/live around?
    • What are their priorities?
    • What are their core values?
    • How do they want to spend their time?

    What do you want your life to look like?

    Money does play an important role in an adult’s life. What will your teen’s desired life cost? How much do they need to make it happen?

    The next step in choosing a career after the self-examination and future planning is career exploration. Make sure to help them explore multiple jobs!

    It’s often hard for parents when their teens reach this stage of their lives and start seriously looking into choosing a career, because their kids are separating from them. If you’re finding it difficult to help your teen with this process, bringing in another experienced adult (e.g. a family member or close friend) may be beneficial to both of you.


    If your teen is exploring college or career options, doesn’t know what they want to do, are interested in an area that isn’t typically lucrative, or you just want to be able to support them in their educational and career choice, watch Emma’s free webinar How Your Teen Can Go From Undecided to Excited (affiliate link because I love Emma’s work 😉 http://www.emmabperez.com/undecided2excitedmightyparenting.html

    Parenting Teenagers through High School and Through College Admissions | Cindy Muchnick and Jenn Curtis | Episode 178

    What Teens Need to Choose a Career | Devon Turcotte | Episode 191

    Why a Gap Year Might Be Essential | Emma B Perez | Episode 194

    Our Guest Emma B Perez:

    Founder of Be On Purpose, LLC, Emma is a mentor who specializes in helping teens and young adults craft who they want to be and how they will impact the world. She began this path a decade ago working in admissions at a University. Before long she was visiting hundreds of high schools all over the Metro of Atlanta to conduct college and career workshops for tens of thousands of students. Now she works directly with families. With her program Life Quest, she guides students through self-discovery, career exploration, and vision creating. This ​leads young people to a future that allows them to live thriving and fulfilling lives. 

    To learn more or connect with our guest visit emmabperez.com.

    From Sandy:

    It’s easier to listen and connect with your teenager when you are calm. Grab Sandy’s complimentary lesson on finding calm at https://sandyfowler.com