So you want to be a _____?

When you are in grade 10 in Ontario, you have to take a mandatory class called Careers.  It takes students through some personality assessments, different kinds of education venues and culminates with an assignment where they have to explore what it would take to get to their dream job.

The project has to include:

  • A job description
  • Career path from that position
  • Income possibility
  • Working conditions
  • Education required to qualify for the position
  • Where that education is offered
  • How much it would cost to complete

I know all this because it was recently the focus of a Saturday afternoon at our house.  The profession selected by our 15 year old Prince Charming was “Pyrotechnics Expert”.

After considerable eye rolling on my part, we got down to business.  It turns out that we found lots of great information about becoming a professional firecracker-blower-upper.  Once you do college and an apprenticeship, you can get a job as a Battlefield Effects Simulation Technician or even work at British Aerospace as an Unexploded Ordinance Engineer.

We went through online course calendars and made a spreadsheet to calculate the costs: tuition, books, transportation, food, clothes.  He was a bit bug-eyed when he saw how much it was going to cost.  Even living at home, he decided he would have to make some concessions.  He will have to cut back on the hair tattoos and only wear t-shirts.  (If it were only that simple….)

I can’t say that I would be thrilled if Prince Charming worked with dangerous stuff everyday but as we discovered, it would be well paying, stable and probably pretty satisfying work.

This is a terrific exercise whether you are 15 or 51.  The next time you find yourself day dreaming about a different job, make an appointment with yourself to sit down for two hours of web research (that’s only two episodes of CSI) and map out the steps to get to that job and what it will look like when you get there.  You may end up crossing that option off your list or you may decide that you will actually pursue your dream job in 2010, but regardless, it will be an illuminating experience.

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