Top 10 pieces of career advice parents wish they were given when they were young


More than half of parents feel they would be in their ‘dream job’ now, if they’d had better career guidance during their teenage years.

More than half of parents feel they would be in their ‘dream job’ now, if they’d had better career guidance during their teenage years.

The study of 2,000 parents of children aged 11-18 who go to a non-fee paying school found 69 per cent also think they would have benefited from more regular conversations with their own parents about future job options.

Instead, 37 per cent admitted they ‘fell into’ their career.

The advice they wish they’d been given around their future work life included venturing outside your comfort zone, doing what’s right for you and always asking if you have a problem.

As a result, 84 per cent are now actively looking to guide their children on this, with 32 per cent believing job satisfaction is more important than money.

The survey was commissioned by The Gatsby Foundation as part of its Talking Futures campaign, which aims to help parents talk to children about education and careers options.

Michelle Rea, from the charity, said: “Our careers are heavily influenced by our parents.

“Nowadays, there are so many avenues and options that it can be a minefield for parents as they try to help their child navigate their options.

“Finding your dream job is possible if you have someone to guide you.

“Parents can do this simply by being there for their child and sharing their own career wisdom.

“By exploring options together, and letting your child find out things for themselves, you can help them carve their own path.”

The research also found 64 per cent of parents think it’s difficult for teenagers to know what do for a living, with 75 per cent blaming it on them being too young and not having enough life experience.

While 70 per cent think the job market is changing so fast, it’s hard to know how best to advise their children about career options and further education.

And 41 per cent feel overwhelmed by the number of options that are available to them.

But 59 per cent worry about giving their child the wrong advice, and 42 per cent don’t want their child to follow in their footsteps with the job they go into.

Never too late

When choosing a career path, 56 per cent of parents are worried their child will end up in a job they don’t enjoy and 42 per cent fear they won’t earn enough to be financially independent.

Of those who took part in the study, via OnePoll, 45 per cent believe it is harder for the younger generation when choosing a career path than what it was for their own generation.

While 83 per cent think children should regularly review their career aspirations as they move through school and college, so it reflects their skills, interests and experiences as they develop.

Michelle Rea added: “Choosing a career can be a daunting prospect, especially at a young age and there is constant worry among young people that they might make the wrong decision.

“But people change career paths later on down the line and that is OK. It’s all a learning curve and sometimes things just don’t work out.

“As a parent, gauging your child’s skillset and finding out their strengths and weaknesses can really help to steer them in the right direction.

“Either way, giving your child support and advice when they need it is what is truly important.”

Career advice parents wish they were given when they were young

Venture outside your comfort zoneDo what’s right for you, not what others around you are doingIf you have a problem or need help, askWork to live, don’t live to workAlways ask questionsTake advantage of opportunities that come upLearn and grow from your mistakes, no one is perfectPlay to your strengths and follow your passionsYou’re never too old to change your careerLearn from colleagues, don’t compete


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