When you’re deciding what would be the perfect career for you. Who do you turn to? There’s so many options available to us now that it seems so easy to hunt down what interests you and how you might go around turning that into a career.
While the options available to us all to find that perfect job are more than ever, new research by the OECD International economics think tank could show that we’re starting to already limit ourselves by the age of seven.
The factors that contribute to this are the ingrained stereotyping regarding social background, race and gender. When deciding on our careers growing up, we are most likely to turn to the people around us. So during our childhood it’s most likely that the careers we see our parents and their friends doing are the ones that begin to interest us. This makes complete sense. You aren’t thinking about these things at seven years old (This is primary school age remember, you’re most likely thinking about the next time you’re going to the park) so you aren’t likely to be looking beyond what you can see in front of you.
So how would we go about changing that and how might this affect you?
One way the OECD is planning to help move this in a better direction is by improving the amount people who come into schools to discuss their careers and the paths they took to get there. The network is looking to reach 100,000 people in total from its current network of 50,000 volunteers which already range from jobs such as app designers to zoologists (Handy A-Z example).
The hope is by seeing people from careers that aren’t instantly obvious to young people it might create a moment where they’re able to realise their potential isn’t limited to what their family do or what people from their gender or background ‘traditionally’ are expected to do.
At Push we believe the only career you should do is the one that’s right for you. It should be one that makes you want to get up in the morning, you should find it fulfilling and interesting. It shouldn’t just be something you do because your parents told you that’s what your career is. That decision is down to you and nobody else.
It’s a positive step that there’s acknowledgement that students are starting to decide their career paths subconsciously from an early age and that they’ll be shown a diverse group of workers to try and see paths not immediately apparent to them.
Regardless of your age, it’s good to research career paths that you’re not familiar with right now. Work out what it is you enjoy and how that might become a career. A good way is to pick what is important to you in a job. Is it how much money you can make? is it helping others? Is it being able to be creative? Is it being able to have a good work/life balance?
These are all things that you should consider when choosing a career. Maybe the jobs that you’re familiar with don’t have these set of rewards. That’s fine, just think that maybe it isn’t the route for you. Remember that rewards are different for everyone. What might be important to your friend won't necessarily be as important for you.
Choose what rewards you want from a job and then consider what you’re good at. What skills do you already have? How does this overlap to the rewards you’re wanting from a career?
Don’t limit yourself is the main point to take away. If the job that your parents do or what is ‘expected’ of people from your gender or background isn’t something that would make you happy. Then don’t do it.
Choose what rewards you want from your career and how you can achieve those. Think outside the box and research those careers online, speak with a career advisors to get some ideas about what might be the right career for you, check the UCAS site and speak with people who are already working in the industry by email or social media. Make sure it's right for you.
Just make sure it’s something that will make you happy to go to work and feels important to you. In the words of musician Frank Turner ‘Nobody’s yet explained to me exactly what’s so great, about slaving 50 years away on something that you hate’.
ARON TENNANT is the Talks and Editorial manager for Push. He is originally from South Yorkshire and has a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Sheffield. He also has an MA in Creative Play and Screenwriting from City, University of London and came runner up in Nickelodeon's international screenwriting competition in 2018. Alongside Push he does screenplay work for independent production companies and is working on his own independent film projects.
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