Career Advice for a Teen – Crowd Source Edition

Last weekend my wife and I had the privilege and pleasure of dining with our 14 year old son. Just with him. His brother and sister had previous engagements so we had him all to ourselves (apart from the occasional check of his mobile phone).

We talked about sports – his passions are baseball, football and lately skateboarding. We talked about what he might want to do for a career and what he would like to study.

It was great to get the solo time with just him.

Crowdsourcing the Conversationimage After we arrived home I sent out this tweet. I am curious to hear your thoughts on Advice for Teens and what you recommend they study.

imageI was impressed by the rapid response from so many people. Thank You!

I appreciate everyone for taking the time to respond. I have captured a few of them here.

As a point of reference - I’m an engineer and would like to see at least one of my kids continue the family tradition (My grandfather and my father also studied engineering). However, I want them to make their own decisions and as mentioned in the tweet … to Follow their Passion.

Here are a few more that I liked and that resonated with me.image







Any others? 
What would you suggest to a teenager?

Thanks to everyone who has already commented and to those that will comment here. I hope to see some great comments, ideas and suggestions. Perhaps turn this into a series of blog posts with credit given to those that helped to Give a Teen Advice.

Please share your comments here or drop me a line at any of my contact points below.

Thanks to Rod Brooks, Betsy Aoki, Rand Lutomski,Greg Bonnette and Ed Healy for their insightful comments. Click on their names and follow them on Twitter.

clip_image002About The Author:
I have spent the last 20 years working in various aspects of the ECM industry. I am currently with
Kodak as a Director of Business Development. In my past I have spent time at Kofax, Microsoft, FileNet, K2, and at Captaris (which was acquired by Open Text). Prior to that I was a Unix VAR running my own company. Follow me on Twitter, check my blog, send email or find me on Facebook or LinkedIn.


Pam Hoelzle said…
I'd tell him what I am currently telling my clients, people who come to me because they've invested a life time in making a living and now want a life. Their own life.

I'd tell him that he can do whatever he sets his mind to, is willing to develop a team and community around and cares deeply enough to invest himself in. That being said. Making a life he believes in, doing things he is curious about, aligning with values and activities that make him feel alive, in the zone, the best representation of himself he can be. Those are the things he should pursue. He should not worry so much about what he does as who he becomes; the values and operating beliefs and priorities that will be his guiding life filter. And with that filter he should point in the direction that most interests him that he is most curious about and he should set sail. Commit himself to making the only life he can, his own and being the man he was created to be. Make a life, not merely a living young son!
DotC said…
Passion is great. I wanted to be a designer since I was 14 and here I am at 41 and I still am a designer.

However, American kids are not the hard workers our grandparents were. They get out of high school and they do not want to work for minimum wage or sweat through college or do free internships while they go through college. They need to be on time and take some pride in whatever job they do.

I say, take the general AA studies classes while taking jobs and internships in various industries he is interested in to see if he really wants to work in that industry.
lrb said…
1.Your Passion finds you - not you it
I loved Iyanla Vanzant's notion that your passion shapes you through the experiences of your life. In other words don't worry too much about finding your passion but concentrate on experiencing your life to a maximum - eventually these experiences coalesce into something meaningful

2. Learn to learn
Every field of study offers its own approaches and insights into the world but most important it to learn how to learn, think and present your ideas, than get caught up in what you are learning. That doesn't mean the content is not significant - it just means that if you study something and you find you are stagnating in your career later it's ok to change.

3. Learn about yourself
Are you a starter, a finisher or someone who loves the grind of working on a project. Some people struggle to come up with ideas, others get bored executing the job after the idea has been fully conceptualized. Find out about your own style and find a complementary way of working in your career. Note, sometimes colleagues, friends and family have a better take on this than you do yourself so listen

4. Find joy
Learn to find joy in the small things and celebrate your victories. Sometimes we get so caught up in the slog that we forget to take joy in the moments - this is what keeps us going even through the worst of any job.

Finally just let it be your own life. I doesn't matter what you do - if you are good at it, you can make other people enjoy (appreciate) what you do and you persevere you will be successful