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How Parents Can Encourage Open-Minded Discovery for Recent Grads Pursuing Career Satisfaction

How Parents Can Encourage Open-Minded Discovery for Recent Grads Pursuing Career Satisfaction
As parents helping your child navigate their leap from college to career, it can be difficult to put yourself in their shoes and understand the new level of ambiguity that affects recent grads choosing and managing their career paths. When you were navigating the job market for the first time, there was a focus on stability, supporting family, and following a straight path in lucrative roles like finance, accounting, or medical — industries that were seen as “safe” and providing longevity. Whereas now, every time your recent grad opens their phone they’re exposed to ads or posts encouraging them to live a life guided by passion and fulfillment, starting with their career. In fact, in a recent survey of Columbia University grad students, 90% shared that following their passions was a top priority when searching for a job and career. Due to this shift in mentality, more and more recent grads are playing a game of tug of war in their minds upon graduation. They think their only career choice is to choose between being passionate and happy or financially secure in a career they don’t love. But this isn’t the case, and as parents you can help them navigate that ambiguity to manifest a career that is both fulfilling and lucrative.

Encourage Them to Follow a Winding Path Filled with Self-Discovery

A recent study by Stanford is changing the conversation about “following your passion” when it comes to finding a career. They found that those who decided to follow their greatest passion were actually less successful. Why? Because their interests were singular rather than diverse, and they had adopted a preconceived notion that everything would come easy because they were passionate about it. Well, that isn’t the case. Passion doesn’t always mean fulfillment or ease, although these are qualities millennials are drawn to.

When discussing this passion pursuit mentality, billionaire and business maverick Mark Cuban argued that honing skills and becoming good at things is likely to become a passion as well, and that is how we need to encourage grads to reframe their career path.

Encouraging your child to work on those skills they may not have learned in college to advance and chase fulfillment and joy in their career could be the best thing for them — even if, maybe especially if — it makes them uncomfortable. Suggest that in order to land that dream job, they need to do a couple, let’s say, not-so-dream jobs, to develop those workplace skills that will enable them to be ready for that stage in their career.

Many hold a fear of being labeled a “job hopper” who won’t be hired if they try new things. But as long as they’re changing jobs with intention and the motivation to learn new things, recent grads will not lose opportunities because of it. Studies show today 2/3 of hiring managers really don’t care about job hopping anymore; it’s become the norm. Allowing them to understand this and giving them permission to chase that windy career path that makes them take a few unexpected turns, but ultimately leads them where they want to be down the road, could be everything they need to hear and more.

Assure Them There Are Ways to Pursue Joy and a Career Harmoniously

Additionally, contrary to what society tells you these days, your career doesn’t define you unless you allow it to. Especially in your 20s, which is supposed to be a time of discovery and transition. One thing you as a parent can do is allow them to see that this decision doesn’t have to be paralyzing. There are ways that they can pursue joy and success concurrently, and down the road the two will likely mesh to manifest that fulfilled life they’re aspiring to live.

For example, if they’re working an admin job that isn’t allowing them to exercise their creativity and desire to be a photographer, encourage them to pick photography up as a passion project or side hustle and value the business lessons they’re learning at work. This way, they’ll have the stability and predictability of a full-time role while also chasing those big, bold dreams of fulfillment.

Let Them Know They Don’t Have to Do it Alone

Many recent grads feel that it’s up to them to figure it all out the second that diploma is in their hand, maybe even before. But with help identifying the skills they want to hone in on or discovering how the skills they’ve learned from their passion projects will translate well to the workforce, it will help them navigate the ambiguity more seamlessly and make big decisions more easily. NimblyWise can help with that, let’s talk about how!
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