I am in the process of interviewing 100 Millenials about their careers and I’ve got some great material already.
The reason for doing this? I’m starting a practice helping young adults, beginning sophomore year in high school, to identify their interests so they can be more productive as they move toward college and work. The world of work is too shrouded in mystery for the average student of any age, and the connection between school and work is tenuous at best.
I find that students and parents are hungry for some guidance on career topics, just so they can begin to think about a future program. I would also stress that as summer internships have taken off, it makes sense to make them count in terms of being something of real interest.
I decided to talk with college graduates up to age 30, to benefit from their insights based on a few years of work under their belts, and high school in the not too distant past. People from all over the country, many of them through Brazen Careerist and from all walks of life, have agreed to speak with me. Much of what they’ve said has been consistent from person to person.
Most people describe their parents as engaged and supportive, and key influences in their decision-making. Some feel a bit reluctant to acknowledge that, as many say, their parents were “right” in the advice they provided. Those who came from backgrounds where their parents didn’t attend college, or who were new immigrants to the U.S., found their way through other interested adults, such as teachers, counselors or religious leaders. The theme is that there were always adults involved who served as guides or mentors.
Many of the group had some kind of hobby or interest that they started early in their lives. Those who at some point abandoned the hobby they cared about returned to it in their chosen career path. One key example of this was music– several of those I interviewed made it the foundation of their careers. Unusual formative experiences, exemplified by someone who started a farm with his brother when they were in high school, followed respondents into their adult careers in some key way. I would also posit that unusual childhood experiences make one more attractive both to colleges and employers, but they are difficult to plan for!
I will continue to report on my findings as I continue my interviews. In the meantime, if you or someone you know is a college graduate 30 or under and would like to be interviewed, please get in touch with me at Allison@allisoncheston.com.