Exercise 4: Read the following passage and mark the letter A, B, C or D on your answer sheet to indicate the correct answer to each of the following questions.
WHY DON’T YOU GET A PROPER JOB?
She wants to be a singer; you think she should go for a long–term career with job security and eventually retire with a good pension. But a new report suggests that in fact she’s the practical one. Why do parents make terrible careers advisers?
Today’s 14 and 15–year–olds are ambitious. They are optimistic about their prospects, but their career ideas are rather vague. Although 80% of them have no intention of following in their parents’ footsteps, 69% still turn to their parents for advice. They look at their working future in a different way to their parents.
A job for life is not in their vocabulary; neither is a dead–end but secure job that is boring but pays the bills. Almost half the boys surveyed expected that their hobbies would lead them into the right sort of job, while most girls seemed determined to avoid traditionally female careers such as nursing.
In the past, this might have counted as bad news. Certainly when I was 15, my guidance counsellors were horrified at my plans to become a writer. I’m glad I didn’t change my plans to suit them. Even so, their faith in rigid career paths was well–founded. In those days, that was the way to get ahead.
But the world has changed. The global economy is not kind to yesterday’s diligent and dependable worker. The future belongs to quick–thinking people who are resourceful, ambitious and can take the initiative. This means that a 14–year–old who sees her working future as a kind of adventure, to be made up as she goes along is not necessarily being unrealistic.
However, she has to have the training and guidance to help her develop the right skills for today’s market; not the rigid preparation for a workplace that disappeared twenty years ago. Many young people are very aware of the pitfalls of the flexible workplace; they understand that redundancy, downsizing and freelancing are all part of modern working life, but no one is telling them how they might be able to turn the new rules of the employment game to their advantage. This is what they need to know if they are to make a life for themselves.
So what is to be done? A good first step would be to change the way in which schools prepare young people for adult life. The education system is becoming less flexible and more obsessed with traditional skills at just the time that the employment market is going in the opposite direction.
Accurate, up–to–date information on new jobs and qualifications can help guidance counsellors to help their students. Young people need solid information on the sort of training they need to pursue the career of their dreams. Also, a little bit of encouragement can go a long way. If nothing else, a bit of optimism from an adult can serve as an antidote to the constant criticism of teenagers in the press.
What, then, can we as parents do to help them? The best thing is to forget all the advice that your parents gave you, and step into your teenager’s shoes. Once you’ve done that, it’s easier to see how important it is that they learn how to be independent, resourceful and resilient. Give them the courage to follow their dreams –however odd they might sound right now. In a world that offers economic security to almost no one, imagination is a terrible thing to waste.
The writer feels that most parents _______.