What does it mean to graduate? Is it attaining a certain number of credits or spending all your money on that special outfit that will make heads turn? Or maybe it is finally getting that acceptance letter to that university you applied to. For some students it may be the stress of not knowing what the next step is or even how to attain it.
When I graduated from high school, I went to college but I honestly was not ready for that. I did not have a high school counsellor making sure that I had the right courses in my timetable, to keep my options open - a very popular statement that I believe can be overused. Many years ago you needed all 3 sciences and the highest math to get into most programs but that is not so now. Times have changed, there are so many different pathways to enter into a program now.
I remember having a conversation with a parent one day, and it was stated that if a student took Essentials in Math or Consumer Math, the chances of going to university was impossible. In which I replied, every single student has the opportunity to go to university regardless of which Math they take. It is true, there are some programs that you will not get into with Essentials in Math/Consumer Math, but that is OK, take courses in your first year university that are of interest to you, maybe upgrade your Math, and eventually you will be on the right path.
Fast forward now to today, I never thought that I would one day be a career counsellor at a high school, helping students plan out their high school years so that they have equal opportunity to make some very wise decisions about life after graduation. Sometimes students decide to take a “year off” from academics which may bring about major life-changing experiences that might not be found between book covers. Sometimes those “life experiences” open doors that students may not even know were there.
When I think about graduation, I see it from this perspective: counting credits, calculating student averages, planning Convocation, preparing diplomas, helping students with university applications, writing letters and sending transcripts to post-secondary schools. But here is the other perspective: encouraging students to finish up well, always have a open door policy, so if students just need to stop by and be reassured that everything is going to be OK, someone is there to listen.
Today, it is important that students attain a high school diploma regardless of whether they plan to attend a post-secondary school, get a job, or experience life. It is now a necessity. Marks are not the end all be all. When I was in high school I was just an average kid with average marks - and I still went to college. But as the years went by, and I experienced life, I matured and then I went back to school, and it was then that I was able to apply myself and reach my potential. Each one of us have different levels of achievement - there are many high achievers, but if all we had were high achievers within our society there would be an unhealthy imbalance.
In less than two months, students will be walking across the stage to receive their diploma, and I am so honoured to be a part of these graduation ceremonies. Some will go on to university, some to college, some to Bible college, some to Missions, some may work or travel, and some just do not know and you know what, every single one of these choices is OK.
As Career Counselor, it is important to keep with the times and the trends, providing an awareness of a vast array of future career opportunities available to students. What are the hot jobs going to be in the not so distant future and what kind of knowledge and skills will students need to
acquire these futuristic jobs. For example, what skills are needed to
be a robot counsellor, garbage designer, rewilder or a nostalgist.
Or how about a Certified UAV pilot, 3D-printed clothing designer, Augmented reality architect, Quantified self assessment auditor, Smart city urban planner, Smart meter test lab manager, Smart grid solution architect, Big data architect, Alternative currency specialist, or a Ecommerce business manager.
There are some other real cool jobs on this site: Futuristic jobs.
Times are changing and the so-called traditional jobs are evolving into new innovate jobs and we need people who can take the ideas and implement them into our everyday lives. How are our post-secondary schools helping to prepare young people for the future?
I was thinking the other day what have I done to get to where I am today. What kinds of jobs have I had that have molded and shaped me into who I am today. As I study the one Week Project Book, I have found that Sean did learn a lot about himself and some of the skills he picked up along the way.
There seems to be a lot of negative talk about entry level jobs like McDonald’s, Tim’s, Canadian Tire etc. But we have to remember that these jobs expose people of all ages to different skills that can be transferred to a more serious career. Sometimes jobs like this motivate people to want to work harder so they can go to school and eventually be in a career that they are passionate about. I believe that these types of jobs are important for our young people who are just starting out in the world of work and also for those mature people who have had a significant job loss and need something interim until they get that call they have been waiting for - a opportunity to maximize the skills they have developed over the years.
I remember my first waitressing job, in fact the job I had before landing this job was working the line at A & W putting pickles on hamburgers, yes just putting pickles on hamburgers.
I thought to myself, there has to be something better than putting pickles on hamburgers, and one day I was walking down the street and I saw the restaurant, and I knew I needed to apply. During my interview I was told that I was not waitress material, what does that even mean! But I was bound and determined to prove this restaurant owner wrong. And so began my two week trial period that ended up being the best six years of my life.
What skills did I learn, the most important one, communication, along with organization, memorization, working with a team, preparing and presenting food, being on time, making yourself presentable every day, etiquette, listening, being passionate about the job, respect others, multitasking, being a leader, decision making, energetic, being efficient and working quickly.
How many of these skills have I used in other jobs and am continually improving on in my current job today - every single one of them.
Sean Aiken is most known for the One-Week Job Project (52 jobs in one year), a life-changing experience, all because of the all-consuming question: what are you doing after graduating from high school, college, or university?
When Sean embarked on this new adventure his father said, “Sean, it doesn’t matter what you do, just make sure it’s something you are passionate about.” When Sean finished this project he made this statement, “I thought when I found my passion it was the key to happiness. There are many different things that contribute to our happiness at work. The two biggest factors are 1) the people we work with, and 2) the feeling that our work is significant.”
The following is a list of jobs that Sean explored over the course of one year starting at Week 1: Bungee Operator, TV Talk Show Intern, Snowshoe Guide, Volleyball Coach, News Columnist, Florist, Yoga Instructor, Dairy Farmer, Events Team, Marketer, Caregiver, Framer, Researcher, Talent Broker, Courier De Bois, Innkeeper, Race Director/Concert Host, Storekeeper, Brewmaster, Tattoo Parlour Assistant, Cancer Fundraiser, Radio DJ, Hotel Worker, Veterinary Assistant, Film Festival Reporter , Advertising Executive, Bartender, Rock Climbing Instructor , Trade Show Salesman, T-Shirt Entrepreneur, Aquarium Host, Exterminator, Stock Trader, Baker, Fashion Buyer,
Photographer, Pizzamaker, Vintner, Martial Arts Instructor, Chiropractor, Realtor, Hollywood Producer, Motivational Speaker, Preschool Teacher, Astronomer, Park Ranger, Firefighter, Cowboy, Mascot, Association Professional, Air Force Pilot, and Mayor.
What did he learn, what skills was he able to transfer from one job to another. Was there common skills between job changes? What was rewarding, and what was challenging? Did Sean choose one of these jobs to be one of his many lifelong careers?
On the first Wednesday of November all grade 9 students across Canada have this great opportunity to experience “the world of work,” with their parents, a relative/family friend or be hosted in the community.
In years past, most Grade 9 students went to the workplace with a parent. Today, students are choosing to go with someone who is in a career that is of interest to them if given the opportunity. Why the shift? It seems that when asked the question, students do not want to pursue their parents’ careers. They want to explore other options, because today the choices are endless, and the educational system is realizing that more needs to be done to provide students with the knowledge to make wise decisions that will impact their lives.
There are two outcomes that arise from an event like this:
Some students will go away from this day and say yes, this is what I want to do for rest of my life.
Some students will go away from this day and say this is truly not for me so now what?
Both of these outcomes can be addressed within the educational system and by utilizing the expertise of high school career counsellors who can help guide students to post-secondary schools that fit their personalities and learning styles.
A website like “One Stop High School Career Counsellor” brings all types of post-secondary schools to one site, universities, colleges, bible colleges and trades schools. A link to different assessment and personality tests helps students understand themselves better.
Also, by offering courses at the high school level that specifically deal with careers, allows students to explore and hopefully be able to find a career that they are passionate about. Sometimes they need to go outside the educational system and either volunteer or work in an area they are interested in. This would then solidify in their own minds whether this is a good fit for them.
As students continue to seek and explore their options, high school career counsellors need to ensure that students have the right courses in their timetables throughout their high school years so they can enroll in their program of choice at the post-secondary level. High school career counsellors need to keep up-to-date with the continually changes for admissions, and to be current as to all the options available to students.
It is important to remember, there is more than one pathway for students to achieve their goals, their dreams and the ability to make a difference in “the world of work.”
Hazel McCallion has a lot to contribute when it comes to being successful in work and life. It is very clear in her book that she loved her job, the career path that God chose for her to do, which allowed her to have a major impact on the many lives she touched. Hazel worked hard; she was passionate about her work, loved a challenge and did hard things. But there were also times where she failed, but in her failures she was able to overcome and move ahead to make things better. (Hurricane Hazel, Copyright @2014, By Hazel McCallion and Robert Bethlehem, Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, First Edition)
Recently I came across a video called "Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance." The speaker Angela Lee Duckworth explains that success does not just come by social intelligence, good looks, physical health and IQ, but grit also plays an important part in being successful. By demonstrating passion and perseverance, having the stamina to set long term goals, sticking with the plan, not just day in and day out or monthly, but years of commitment and working hard makes dreams a reality. C.S Lewis said, "You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream."
It seems that employers today are looking for the same attributes as the employers of the past. Employees who are honest, willing to work hard, committed to being on time, loyal, these were and are the very basic attributes. But "grit: passion and perseverance" seem to be the new front runners. We need both the "intellectual" and the "grit" in the world of work. It is easy to measure intelligence, but how do we build "grit" in the lives of people so that everybody has the opportunity to use their giftedness, being passionate in whatever career they choose.
I have just finished reading "Hurricane Hazel: A Life with a Purpose"- the life of Hazel McCallion. She just turned 93, retired at 92 (wait a minute - not yet she has just been hired on as a special advisor at the University of Toronto @ 94 years of age). There is a new lingo out there redefining this age group, it is not retiring it is reassigning!
Needless to say, she had spent the past 36 years as Mayor of Mississauga, a very successful career . There were many nuggets of career advise throughout this memoir, I would like to focus on one of them.
Why is it a good thing for children to do their homework throughout their Middle and Senior Years? If children do their homework it prepares them better for engaging in conversation the next day, it prepares them for upcoming tests and quizzes, and it gives to them a sense of accomplishment and success.
In her book, Hazel emphasized the importance of doing her homework and how advantageous it was throughout her career. Why? It allowed her to be prepared for questions in which she was able to provide answers to, make wise decisions by providing data to back up any discussion that took place and many of those decisions lead to success in moving forward rather than going backwards. Hazel was able to go to meetings with answers to questions that she had thought about prior to the meetings. By doing her homework she was able to justify why she thought in a certain direction (Hurricane Hazel, Copyright @2014, By Hazel McCallion and Robert Bethlehem, Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, First Edition, page 119-120)
As students move from high school to post-secondary school or start a career right away, as decisions come their way, whether career wise or personal, big or small, homework will always be an important part of their life.
Recently I came across a quote “Godly pleasure isn’t found in doing what you enjoy but in enjoying what you do.” As I reflect on my work experience, there have been many moments of success that can be measured by the number of different skills sets and competencies I have been able to put into my world of work toolbox. Students need to start early in attaining skills and competencies to succeed in the world of work. Some of these skills can be learned at school, home and volunteering in the community, and they will then spill into a career where students enjoy what they are doing.
Skills and education go hand in hand. Education is needed to attain the knowledge required to pursue a career and skills are needed to do the hands on training. Both are essential for success.
As Career Counsellor my goal is to provide up-to-date information regarding post-secondary news and careers to parents and students. Given the multitude of career choices and opportunities for specialization, I recognize the importance in offering students and parents support in this process. It is my intent to continue to provide tools to the students to help them research, investigate and utilize the internet more effectively as they begin to make important decisions about their future goals.
It is June 2017, but an article that I had read in September 2015 seems to be very applicable today. This article written by Barbara Bowes speaks about how the workplace has changed and how technology has changed how we work. The article also focused on the skills needed to succeed in this fast-paced world of work. What kinds of skills are required? There are two types of skills needed to succeed in the work force: hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are the skills needed to do the job (i.e. computer programming, accounting, nursing, web design, etc.); soft skills are the interactive personable skills (i.e. leadership, communicating, working as a team, problem-solving, etc.).
So how do we prepare young people leaving high school to either work or enter the post-secondary world? Young people need both hard and soft skills. They need to involve themselves in work experiences via extracurricular activities, coaching a sports team, mentoring younger students, going on a Mission trip, running for student council, youth group activities, volunteering or getting a job in a fast-food restaurant where they learn the “skills of life.”
These are all positive ways to help young people be more prepared for life after high school. The end goal is that they are equipped to serve in the local and global community with their giftedness and passion.
Bowes, Barbara, “Strategize to keep pace with the Changing World”, Winnipeg Free Press, Sat. Sept 28, 2015.
Welcome to my career counselling site! I hope that for those of you who are interested in career exploration, job seeking information or continuing on in post-secondary studies, that my site will be of help to you. This is in its beginning stages with the hopes to address seekers across Canada.
My goal is to assist you in finding answers to questions that you have regarding your future plans, whether you are a high school student, or someone who is looking at a career change. This is a one-stop spot for finding information that is of interest to you.
Over the past number of years I have worked with students to help them transition from high school to various post-secondary schools across Canada and south of the border. A job that I take very seriously and love to do!