A student’s path to finding a career is too often a hazy trail with many switchbacks. Teens are often encouraged to follow their hearts and take interesting classes, which is true in some degree. But they are rarely challenged to look at the long-term costs of their training, their employability upon college graduation, or where they need to live to do the thing they’ve trained to do. A few years of college bliss can lead to a lifetime of frustration and unhappiness.
For this reason, I encourage students to take a long-range view. One question that is rarely answered early enough is the location factor for certain jobs. Let’s face it. A marine biology major probably isn’t going to find work in the desert or on the plains. An aerospace engineer needs to live where rockets are launched, planes are built, satellites are monitored, or missiles are developed. If they have dreams of residing in secluded North Dakota, they probably can’t earn a living. A Petroleum Engineer, on the other hand, will find a hot job market in the wilds of North Dakota, Wyoming, the Midwest states or Alaska. An algorithmist probably won’t be living in small-town America.
There are many jobs that are location dependent and some have an exceedingly small geographical range. Thus, some of the first questions to ask as a student considers a potential career field is:
Where can you work with the college major you are considering?
Will you be happy in that part of the country?
Can you adapt to the loneliness of that region?
Do you want to live and raise a family in a large city?
Will you be able to find meaningful employment if your spouse relocates?
These are just a few of the many considerations that should be happening as our student moves toward maturity. Some time spent in honest evaluation now can save years of job dissatisfaction later.
Interested in reading similar posts?
Once your student starts investigating a potential career, it is time to visit with professionals in the area. Here is a list of questions for that purpose.
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