Planning For A Future Career Can Be Overwhelming, But Several Key Steps Can Help Make It Easier
By Laura Massey, Stride Success Coach
Start talking to grown adults about career planning and you may notice hairs begin to rise on the back of their necks. It makes sense why even uttering the word “career” may evoke similar nerves in you, as a teenager. While these feelings are very normal, there are ways to keep calm and carry on with career planning.
Career Planning Is A Lifelong Process
Have you ever been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s a question that many adults have been asking children for generations. These well-meaning people in your life are simply curious about what your future may look like. However, if you really break down this question, it makes sense why it can stress you out. There is an implication that you are starting to get older and need to narrow down what you want to become. Let’s look at this a little differently to hopefully relieve some of the pressure.
The fact is that your life is in a constant state of evolution, so career planning is not something you can completely figure out in high school. Now is when you start to understand the career planning process and make steps towards a first goal. But, it is important to understand that the goals you set now can evolve over time. It’s really about understanding who you are becoming, and how career planning works as a lifelong process.
Career Planning Is Meant to Help You Think In Broader Terms
When starting out with career planning, many people dive right into looking for a specific job, or occupation, that may be a good fit for them. As a high school student, this can add to the overall stress… since there are millions of jobs out there. Since you are a full-time student, who does not need a full-time job yet, it would benefit you to think broader.
Ask yourself, “What career cluster do I want to explore?”
Career clusters are a way to organize similar jobs and occupations. The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium established a total of 16 career clusters in areas such as agriculture, arts, business, government, health sciences, hospitality and tourism, information technology, law, manufacturing, marketing, science, and more! This gives students a lot of areas to critically consider.
Thinking about setting goals around exploring one or two of these career clusters also gives you an area to research and explore, but still leaves your life free to evolve, before thinking about what specific job you’d like to do within these clusters. Pressure lifted!
You Are Not Alone In The Career Planning Process
No one expects you to go into your room, close the door and, in solitude, figure out your future career. There is a village full of people who want to help you. While you know yourself the best, there are numerous people who can assist you in navigating parts of the career planning process, and they can also help connect you to valuable resources.
It’s up to you to figure out what advice and tips are most beneficial to you, personally, and your process. But, know that reaching out to others is a sign of strength, and it can truly help you feel less overwhelmed.
Stride Student Success Coaches can also be a part of your village. They are highly trained in helping students take the stress out of career planning and working on a process that makes sense for you!
Are you thinking that you might need a little more de-stressing around this topic? Consider attending the webinar “Real Talk: How To Ground Yourself In Stressful Times,” on September 30, 2022. And, if you miss the date, the webinar will be available On-Demand on Stride Insights. You’ll learn how to manage the stress of living life as a teenager in the present day, as well as strategies for thinking about the future.
To learn even more from our Stride Success Coaches, be sure to read the Finding Your Path article, for additional career prep advice.
And, check out the article on How To Make The Most Out Of A Virtual Career Fair, too!
To learn more about Stride Career Prep Success Coaching for teens and how it prepares them for life after high school through career exploration or college readiness, visit this site: https://www.stridelearning.com/career-prep/career-exploration/student-success-coaching.html
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