What do you do at work?
Endorsed by Career Development Association of Australia
Looking for an easy way to teach your child about the ‘world of work’? Chat with them about your job! Now is the perfect age, while they’re curious about what you do when you aren’t with them. This article gives you some tips on how to share your knowledge through everyday conversations.
You don’t need to sit down with your child and have ‘career conversations’, just talk about your job sometimes when you’re chatting together. If you’re not in a paid job at that moment, you can talk about previous jobs, volunteer jobs, or even the job of being a parent! (Remember that your child can also pick up information when you talk about work with other people, so try to keep work conversations positive when your child is around.)
Nuts and bolts
Practical things make your job real to your child, so they’re a good place to start. If it’s appropriate in your job, you could even take some photos to show your child what you are talking about. If you’re not sure what to talk about, try one of these topics:
- who you work for
- what your job is called
- where you work
- who you work with
- what you actually do
- what tools and equipment you use, and how they help you do your job
- what you like about your job.
We all need skills to be able to do our job. Some are quite specific, like being able to service a car engine. Others are broad, such as the eight ‘enterprise skills’: communication; creativity; critical thinking; digital literacy; financial literacy; presentation; problem-solving and teamwork. It’s helpful for your child to hear about:
- skills you need to do your job
- skills you’ve learnt or improved on the job
- things you learned at school that have been useful in your job.
When you can, connect the skills you need to what your child is learning – it’s a powerful way to show the relevance of school to their future. For example, if your child is has to do a group assignment, talk about how you sometimes need to work as part of a group in your job, so it’s great that they’re learning teamwork already!
To thrive in the future, your child will need to understand that change is constant. You can expose them to these ideas by talking about changes you’ve seen in your own job, such as:
- the things you do
- the equipment and tools you use
- the skills you need.
Kids are often curious about the big picture, so be prepared for some ‘why’ questions! If they ask about something that’s sensitive, just keep your answer appropriate to their age, and only share what you’re comfortable with. Here are some questions that might come up:
- why do you work?
- what do you get out of working?
- how much money do you make? (you don’t have to give a direct answer!)
- why do you have your current job?