Ep. 59: College, Careers, and Becoming Adult

Ep. 59: College, Careers, and Becoming Adult

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Episode Summary

Barbara Schneider, co-author of “Becoming Adult,” speaks with Andy about her research on how teens’ environment can influence their thoughts and beliefs on college, work, and what’s possible for them.

Full Show Notes

Here’s a surprising fact: most teens have NO idea what they want to do when they “grow up.” And even the ones who do have no idea how to get there. 

Unfortunately this can lead teens to taking longer to get through college and find their place in the world. They may grow frustrated at having to switch jobs every two years – and in turn it makes their parents question if their teen will ever find their place in the workforce. 

This week I spoke with Barbara Schneider, researcher and author of Becoming Adult: How Teenagers Prepare for the World of Work about teens and their futures. Barbara clued me onto the environments that best set kids up for finding fulfilling work. One of the keys to helping teens find their path is simply exposure to what the possibilities are. 

Because the landscape of work is changing so quickly every year, Barbara suggests parents learn with their teen about what kinds of jobs and work are really out there. In addition to learning this, you will discover:

  • The difference between “players” and “workers”…and why each one has problems
  • How to help you teen balance their “work” and “play”
  • The main factors that lead teens to attend college 
  • When teens experience the most flow

The 24-minute public version is free to listen to, and the 38-minute extended version, packed with extra goodies, is reserved for site members. Log in or start a free trial to access everything our site has to offer!

Parenting Scripts

Word-for-word examples of WHAT to say to your teen

1.  What to say to a teen who’s lost their zeal:

“What’s the one thing that’s related to school that you wish you could do more of?”

-Barbara Schneider

Workbook Exercises

Step-by-step guides for applying the ideas from this interview

1. Explore Careers Together:

As Barbara Schneider and I discussed, the careers that teens think they’ll enter into is based primarily on what they’ve been exposed to. But, with a constantly changing economy, new jobs are created everyday that simply didn’t exist ten years ago. Barbara’s own research has shown the importance of exposing teens to career possibilities early on to set their expectations for the future. 

To help expose your teen to what is out there Barbara suggests tackling the task together. The best place to start is to first conference with your teen on their interests. What are their favorite subjects? What activities do they enjoy the most? Do they like working with people or prefer to be by themselves? Have your teen jot all these down and then circle the items they feel most strongly about. Make a plan to research together what jobs would be an intersection of your teen’s interests. If possible, make a plan to shadow a person with a relevant job or visit the workplace. For example, if you teen is really into history and art, perhaps make a trip to an art museum and have your teen grab lunch or tea with one of the directors. Bonus points if they connect on LinkedIn afterwards 🙂

2.  Identify Your Teen as  Worker, Player, or Neither:

(Members Only)

About Barbara Schneider

Barbara Schneider received her PhD from Northwestern University and over the course of her research career has published more than 100 academic papers, in addition to author or co-authoring 10 books. Her notable titles include The Ambitious Generation and Transforming Schools. Barbara is currently at Michigan State University as the John A. Hannah University Distinguished Professor, where she continues her research on the inequalities faced by teens of different socio-economic neighborhoods.