Logo Homeschool World ® Official Web Site of Practical Homeschooling Magazine Practical Homeschooling Magazine
Practical Homeschooling® :

Getting Ready for the Future - Today

By Russ Beck
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #26, 1998.

Pin It

Russ Beck


Telecommuting, flextime, downsizing, contingent workers, outsourcing, and freelancing: many of these words didn't even exist a decade ago. Today, they define the future of work. The traditional model of a corporation that hires, trains, and promotes employees in exchange for company loyalty is fast disappearing. With the ever-changing dynamics of the workplace, workers in the next century will no longer think in terms of finding a job and staying with that job for most of their career. According to Richard Knowdell, president of Career Research and Testing, "The employer's commitment to workers is now temporary, lasting as long as there is work to be done. Employers value the worker's skills, but when the job is done, workers have to move on."

These changes will affect the way students prepare for a career. You will need to implement a career strategy in which you take total responsibility for your career planning. Now is not too early to begin thinking of yourself as "Me Inc," a mini company that offers solutions to employers who are looking to solve problems and create efficient, productive ways to run their business.

While experience and education are still essential, specialized skills and knowledge will be what counts when employers consider your job application. Specialists are becoming more important than generalists. Individuals with specific professional or technical skills that can be applied to specific job tasks will be in demand.

The new worker will also have to be flexible and open to new opportunities. Workers with portable skills who can adapt and apply those skills to new work environments will prosper. Education will no longer end with a high-school diploma or college degree. On the other hand, many well-paying and rewarding careers will not require a four-year degree. Lifelong learning and retraining will become necessary because of the rapid pace of new technology and the dynamic nature of the workplace. You will need to continually update and advance your skills.

Of increasing importance to employers are the "soft" or personal skills. The technical or professional skills a job applicant possesses are essential, but the applicant who has solid personal skills will have the edge in getting the job. The chart below from the National Association of Colleges and Employers clearly shows the importance of these skills. Employers are looking for people who can work together, communicate well, and apply their skills effectively.

Self-awareness, career exploration, and career preparation form a three-step process that is very useful in organizing a career strategy. This kind of sequential approach will help you make the very best decisions you can about your future.

The first step in this process, self-awareness, requires you to examine your individual strengths, personal likes and dislikes, values, and aptitudes, in order to develop a customized career plan. The second step is to explore the career options that fit the personal profile. Many electronic and print resources explore particular careers or career fields. The third step is to begin the selection process by zeroing in on a particular career or careers and identifying what skills and what kind of education or training it requires.

The role of the parent is crucial in a child's career planning process. Luther Otto, a nationally recognized authority on child and career development says, "To ignore the role of the parents in the career development process is to deny what 50 years of studies in child and youth development have taught us . . . teachers and counselors cannot replace the primary influence parents have on their children's career plans."

In future articles I will provide some practical suggestions for adding career education to your home curriculum.

Helpful Resources

  • Career Coaching Your Kids: Guiding Your Child Through the Process of Career Discovery. Montross, Kane, Ginn. Davies-Black Publishing, 3803 East Bayshore Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303, (800) 624-1765. $16.95.

  • Career Skills Library. 8 volumes. Holli Cosgrove, ed., Ferguson Publishing, 200 West Madison Street, Chicago, IL 60606, (800) 306-9941. $13.95 each, $99.95 set of eight.

  • Helping Your Child Choose a Career. Luther B. Otto. Jist Works Inc., 720 North Park Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46202, (800) 648-5478. $14.95.


Was this article helpful to you?
Subscribe to Practical Homeschooling today, and you'll get this quality of information and encouragement five times per year, delivered to your door. To start, click on the link below that describes you:

USA Individual
USA Librarian (purchasing for a library)
Outside USA Individual
Outside USA Library

Time4Learning

Articles by Russ Beck

Getting Ready for the Future - Today

Awareness and Assessment

Searching for the Right Career

Top Jobs for the College Graduate

Not All Good Jobs Require a Bachelor's Degree

There Are Many Paths to Success

Popular Articles

Myth of the Teenager

Can Homeschoolers Participate In Public School Programs?

Classical Education

I Was an Accelerated Child

What Does My Preschooler Need to Know?

Combining Work and Homeschool

Discover Your Child's Learning Style

Art Appreciation the Charlotte Mason Way

Character Matters for Kids

Top Jobs for the College Graduate

What We Can Learn from the Homeschooled 2002 National Geography Bee Winners

Phonics the Montessori Way

Getting Organized Part 1 - Tips & Tricks

Joyce Swann's Homeschool Tips

University Model Schools

The Charlotte Mason Method

Teaching Blends

Montessori Language Arts at Home, Part 1

Columbus and the Flat Earth...

The Gift of a Mentor

Advanced Math: Trig, PreCalc, and more!

How to Win the Geography Bee

The Charlote Mason Approach to Poetry

Teach Your Children to Work

AP Courses At Home

Narration Beats Tests

Critical Thinking and Logic

The Benefits of Debate

Bears in the House

A Reason for Reading

Montessori Math

How to "Bee" a Spelling Success

The Benefits of Cursive Writing

Interview with John Taylor Gatto

Why the Internet will Never Replace Books

Shakespeare Camp

Top Tips for Teaching Toddlers

Whole-Language Boondoggle

A Homeschooler Wins the Heisman

Who Needs the Prom?

The History of Public Education

The Equal Sign - Symbol, Name, Meaning

Getting Organized Part 3

Start a Nature Notebook

Laptop Homeschool

Getting Started in Homeschooling: The First Ten Steps

Saxon Math: Facts vs. Rumors

Don't Give Up on Your Late Bloomers

Patriarchy, Meet Matriarchy

Give Yourself a "CLEP Scholarship"