Counseling Gifted Kids On Career Paths
How do we guide students with multipotentiality to choose a career path? Gifted students often begin to explore professional careers during middle and high school. Choosing a career is about more than income. Gifted students may have a variety of strengths that may seem very disparate. How can the adults in their lives help them find meaningful work?
First it is important for high school students as well as college students to take time for self discovery. Self discovery may involve learning about personality through tests such as the Meyers Briggs assessment as well as interest inventories.
Next gifted students should explore the careers they are considering. What education is required? Is the field growing or declining? Will jobs be found in rural communities, cities, or both? How will the requirements of the job impact my lifestyle and socio-economic status? How will the job allow me to contribute to society? To being to explore jobs of interest, students should visit the Occupational Outlook Handbook site.
Parents, counselors, and mentors for gifted students should give them permission to explore careers without judgement and encourage students in high school and college to regularly assess career aspirations with willingness to make changes. At the end of each semester students should take time to reflect on the careers of interest to them. What new information has been learned about self or the career? Are there new career options that should be explored? Are there some careers that are no longer of interest? Students need to make intelligent, well-reasoned decisions with the support of adults. Adults should be careful about giving advice and should instead ask questions that let high school and college students think for themselves about what career they want to pursue.
In conclusion, current research correlates happiness with two key areas of life, relationships and finding meaningful work. Could meaningful work include work that contributes to society? Does contributing to society in turn create positive connections between people? Are these positive connections actually relationships? Students should consider how their spiritual and emotional well being will be impacted by their work. Finding the value of their work is one way to ensure intrinsic motivation and happiness in the chosen career.