14 Mar Boat driving is for boys! Careers and my 3 year old daughter
‘Boat driving is for boys’ said my 3 year old daughter on a recent trip to Watson’s Bay in Sydney, when asked why she declared ‘it’s boys work!’ As a staunch ‘equal opportunist’ and careers coach you can imagine my horror … not even her dad could persuade her otherwise.
We all have our views on nature vs nurture and of course I don’t expect (nor wish) to control every influence on my child … but this totally baffled me as to where this influence originated from and what else lurks in my child’s mind regarding her future aspirations and self-imposed limitations.
This job focused chat made me reflect on a conversation some years earlier with a friend’s 7 year old daughter who asked me ‘why are you wearing men’s clothes?’ (I was wearing a business suit) and again after much discussion there wasn’t any persuading the little girl that it was ‘ok’ to wear a trouser suit.
So I ask the question if ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ how should a parent encourage career exploration from a young age? This may sound a little controversial but hear me out … I am not talking about interview coaching, resume writing or ‘baby internships’ but simply how to aid our children in expanding their career horizons (or basic job awareness) and not self-limiting beliefs irrespective of gender.
Let’s face it the world of workers is all around us, every service we use from grocery shopping, going to seeing the accountant, preschool teachers through to less obvious job opportunities such as lifeguards and sports coaches. How many ‘job titles’ is your child aware of and equally as important how these occupations add value to our own lives and society?
Yes, I know there are so many hours in the day and discussing career potential with a toddler is not high on any parents agenda (not even mine!) however, wouldn’t it be great in this ‘battle for opportunity equality’ for all our children that we at least try to encourage awareness?
So why not next time you take your child to sports class or a babycino give them a little ‘work awareness’ in the hope of avoiding a ‘that’s for boys or girls only conversation’!
Update: since writing the above my 3 year old has since declared ‘daddy will be a great ballet dancer’ … phew out of the ‘gender woods’ for now!
Love Your Work Career Consulting works with young people and adults and offers a number of career coaching programs so both can ‘inspire and aspire’ together. For more details call Dawn 0415097345 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
main picture credit to Eric Maloberti (Pinterest)