Today’s post, an excerpt from the Direct Your Future career planning curriculum by JoAnn Harris-Bowlsbey, Ed.D., can help set the stage for a lively class session and discussion with students about the value of planning ahead. Parents can also use it to facilitate a one-on-one conversation about career planning with their children. Scroll down to download a free PowerPoint® presentation, activity, and handout. 

Can’t students just go with the flow?

Given the rapid changes in the nature of work, hastened by technological advances and globalization, some current career planning theorists say that it is impossible to plan ahead and that we should be teaching young people simply to learn about change and to go with the flow.

Though many changes are occurring in work tasks, places of work, and skills required for occupations, we also believe in the value of planning. Clearly, the idea of selecting one lifelong occupation and drafting a long-term career plan is passé.

We know that we will all make several changes in jobs, as well as in occupations, in our lifetimes. We also know that we will never “finish our education,” but rather will need to continually upgrade skills and acquire new ones. It also seems evident that jobs of the future will be described by the list of skills needed to perform them and the level of each skill needed.

Thus, in the future, we may talk about transferring a set of skills from one occupation to another, and the titles of those occupations may appear to be quite different from each other, though the skill set needed to perform them is common.

Planning helps prepare students to handle inevitable changes and transitions.

We know that it will be important to teach young people about change – or transition, as some theorists call it – and to teach them some models for coping with it.

Although acknowledging that this is a time of change, professionals in the field still advocate that having an evolving career plan is highly desirable.

We know from research that there is a high correlation between having career plans and retention in either high school or college. We also know that career plans change but are usually highly related to each other.

For example, if a student taking an interest inventory expresses high interest in one cluster of occupations and chooses a college major based on that cluster, there are more than eight chances out of 10 that, if that student changes majors, the new one will be within the same general cluster or one that is closely related.

Thus, research substantiates the fact that interests are quite stable from the middle adolescent years on through adulthood, and that changes made in school majors related to occupational choices revolve around a central area of interest.

Planning just makes sense. 

Having a tentative plan makes it possible for students and their parents or guardians to be informed when selecting school subjects or exploratory experiences that will either support the plan or modify it, and when planning for further education. This is a more desirable state than selecting school subjects blindly, following what peer pressure may dictate, or having no goals to motivate one to stay in school.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. 

It is difficult for persons of all ages, but especially middle school and high school students, to plan for and move from Point A to Point Z.

It is much easier to plan to move to Point B from A, then to C from B, etc. In other words, we humans are most comfortable moving a mini-step at a time toward a longer-term goal.

This being the case, it is highly desirable for a student to formulate a tentative plan so that specific short-term goals can be set, even though that plan and those goals may change with time and experience.

Free Downloadable Decision-Making Presentation, Activity, & Handout

The purpose of the Direct Your Future curriculum is to help students learn about themselves and the world of educational and occupational options at their disposal, and to formulate a modifiable career plan so that decisions can be informed ones. We hope this lesson plan excerpt will help set the stage for a lively class session and discussion with students about the value of planning ahead. Be sure to use our free annotated PowerPoint® presentation, activity, and handout below. Let us know how it goes!

arriving at a decision handout
career decision making activity handout
career decision making PPT slide

This article and downloads are excerpts from the Direct Your Future career planning curriculum by JoAnn Harris-Bowlsbey, Ed.D., available in the award-winning Kuder Navigator®. Contact us to learn more