How To Predict Your Child’s Career Potential

Taking on an examination of your career potential might seem difficult especially when if your education path was not straightforward, coming back to school for your GED might be the alternative path but it doesn’t mean that your career potential is smaller.

In the late 1970’s, while studying executives impacted by the breakup of AT&T, Dr. Suzanne Kobasa developed the concept of “Stress Hardiness”. Predicting potential for future success is based on past performance and demonstrated skills.

I’ve adapted the three C’s of Kobasa [and added a fourth] to the specific issue of career examination as follows:

1. Commitment: People with a strong sense of commitment to their own selves, their families, their work or a personal cause. They believe in their self-worth. They want either to feel better about their current field of professional engagement or find other outlets that will suit them better.

2. Challenge: People who see life as a challenge welcome new situations and opportunities to grow and develop, rather than feeling fearful. They see opportunities, not obstacles.

3. Control: People who feel a sense of control over their lives, and focus on those factors they can influence. They pay attention to the power they have, rather than feeling at the mercy of circumstances. This especially matters in circumstances like when your teen is learning how to drive.

4. Confidence: Confidence is both the byproduct of commitment, control and challenge and serves via feedback to engender yet more of those qualities. Genuine confidence is often most apparent when someone is quietly moving against the grain for their own reasons, committed to a purpose that is important to them, tolerant of the doubters and those more fearful, unswayed by the naysayers, persistent in the face of the uphill parts. Well, great teachers often make great students. It’s all about confidence.

Disliking work

The range of work opportunities is more varied. Some like to work, while others don’t. In English, if I loathe my work, I might say it was one of the travails of my life; in French, while at work, I’d be “au travail”. Odd how these words have acquired different connotations in two languages with similar roots. Or, perhaps not so odd, if you consider how much some of the French dislike work and the near-upheaval when their National Assembly voted to rescind the much favored 35-hour work week last year.

The origin of travail in either tongue is from the vulgar Latin, trepalium, an instrument of torture, so perhaps the French have a point after all. Travel, has the same origin, reflecting how miserable an experience it was for our ancestors. And, you thought it was only since the airline industry went to hell. Well, if you come across some sufferers, consider if a career in healthcare (you could want to be a CNA) is possibly your cup of tea.

But whether we are at work or “au travail”, we should like it. And, word plays aside, a lot of people, including high paid professionals like physicians don’t find much joy in their workspace. Medicine is a demanding career, and physicians engaged in it should derive high intrinsic rewards for those demands, going well beyond high salaries, or elevated social status.

I’m hard-pressed to think of any profession where the range of work opportunities are so varied. While most apparent to senior medical students, on the cusp of selecting their residency programs, it applies almost equally to those of us who are at more advanced stages of our career after following, among other, some highly important leadership classes in college. It just takes a little more imagination and probing around to find the options.

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