On a recent Sunday afternoon I was sitting on a bench at the local park watching my daughter on the playground equipment. I overheard an interesting conversation among another family. The adults were commenting on what their 8-year-old boy wanted to be when he grew up.
Mother: “Of course he wants to be a fireman when he grows up.”
Boy: “Or a policeman!”
Father: “Well, which one do you want to be?”
Boy: “Well, I’ll be a policeman if I get fired from being a fireman.”
Mother: “Well that is sure aiming high!”
What I found fascinating about this was that the 8-year-old boy understands something about the modern job market that many adults have a hard time grasping. Your job isn’t stable and what you do for a living may change drastically over time.
This kid looked around at the world, saw that people often lose their jobs or have to change careers and formed a contingency plan as part of his career planning. Many adults would benefit from his example and spending some time thinking through what their different options are if they lose their job.
Developing a skill set that increases your marketable skills is always a safe move. Thinking through how those skills can be applied to other areas should be part of basic career planning, but often isn’t done until a job actually disappears.
If this kid is any indication of how the coming generation is going to view the job market, they are probably going to be much better prepared in terms of career planning than many modern adults.