How Young Is Too Young To Pick A Career?

What kids want to be when they grow up requires careful thought and consideration. This is because it’s a decision of paramount importance. The career they choose will determine their place in society–like a cog in a machine that winds and grinds to keep a system going.  

The Learning System 

In Southern California, kids as young as five years old are taught about different careers; in Austria and Germany, kids as young as ten years old are tracked for certain careers. 

Oftentimes, kids already know what they want to be when they grow up. They mostly learn about it at home with the guidance of their parents and the elders around them. Clearly, good role models shape future high achievers and not learning systems. Force-feeding children with a plethora of options and different areas of academics only leads them to confusion.  

If you look at this side of reality, such an education system only slows them down instead of leading them straight to the path they truly wanted in the first place. Instead of becoming a vessel to success, the schools become a hindrance. Sometimes, the learning system only makes the students feel discouraged.

For instance, a famous public arts school in New York rejected kids who didn’t get satisfactory results in their standardized tests despite acing their auditions. One of the students argued that they’re not there to be mathematicians, but they want to discover themselves as artists.   

This statement is more than enough to tell them to stop trying to take control of everything. Obviously, what the kids need is for them to understand their own strengths, interests, and values.  

The Tracking System 

Tracking is an organizing practice among public schools. It usually involves tracking students towards careers such as arts of vocational training and tracking based on ability. For instance, in an ability-based tracking, weaker students are put in remedial classes, while the stronger ones are put in advanced classes. 

Some argue that earlier tracking is more efficient because the education that the students get is tailor-fitted according to their abilities and career goals. This way, they won’t have to waste time on subjects they don’t need. The earlier you specialize in your chosen field, the more likely you will succeed.  

A Change Of Heart 

In some cases, a student who’s halfway on their journey may suddenly decide to take a different path. One day you see them pursuing a career in art, next thing they’re drooling for a Keswi scrub.  

The point is, a person’s career choice doesn’t depend on their educational background. The decision is made solely by themselves and for themselves, not by systems designed by people who were also shaped by the same system.  After all, no one wants to feel like a fish out of water.

There are also cases where a person who spent almost half of his life studying to become an engineer–graduated, passed the licensure exam, and practiced for several years–had a change of heart and decided to become a lawyer instead. 

To further demonstrate this idea, here’s a list of some of the famous people who made significant career changes: 

  • Leonardo da Vinci 

Leonardo kept on switching from different careers to whatever town he was in. He was an architect, an inventor, a military engineer, a writer, a sculptor, a mathematician, and so much more. He excelled at every field and made a living off of these talents. However, his most noted profession was his career as an artist. 

If the question is about picking a career, that would sound limited and may imply that Leonardo da Vinci died not knowing what career he really wanted. However, Leonardo da Vinci is a polymath who did whatever he could think of and he did it all wholeheartedly. 

  • Michael Angelo 

Michael Angelo was the younger contemporary of Leonardo da Vinci famous for his paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

One of his rivals, Bramante, who resented him, convinced the pope to commission Michael Angelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which was difficult since Michael Angelo was a sculptor, not a painter. 

The commission was for a medium with which he was unfamiliar so his rival expected that he would fail the task, ruining his career. However, Bramante’s plan backfired.

The task took over four years before it was completed, but it made Michael Angelo’s career flourish and his name even bigger. 

He had a successful career as a sculptor, but when an opportunity arose, he didn’t hesitate to jump at the chance even if it meant switching careers.

  • Colonel Sanders 

Colonel Harland David sanders had an extremely varied resume before the success of his fried chicken business. 

He wanted to be a soldier so bad that he even falsified his birth certificate to be able to enlist in the United States Army in 1906. He was sent to serve in Cuba but was discharged after a few months. He was never really an army colonel; it was just an honorary title given to him by Governor Ruby Laffoon for his honorable service in the army. He even grew facial hair to look like a real colonel.  

Being a soldier was the career he originally picked. But the circumstances drove him to set a new goal and be a success in a different career, which was in business. He was in his 60s at the time but he never thought that it was too late for him to dream a new dream. 

While it’s true that sitting in a math class doesn’t help aspiring writers to improve their writing skills, it does help train their minds for critical thinking and problem solving, which can help in their writing. Therefore, learning systems or tracking systems are significant phases in a person’s career journey as they help build the foundations. 

Even five-year-olds can pick a career, but that doesn’t guarantee that it’s what they’re going to be when they grow up. They may learn and practice a craft for several years, but, at the next moment, it can become just another column in their resume.

A person’s career decisions may change depending on certain circumstances. But whatever job or function may be assigned to you, it should be done wholeheartedly even if it may not be the career of your choice. Eventually, you’ll be right where you’re supposed to be.

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