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Career advice for kids

Which career your kids decide to pursue will have a big impact on their future earnings. Therefore, I thought I’d write a blog on the topic.

I’m not a careers expert but I heard a great little story which I shared with my daughters and it led to an interesting discussion about mindset when thinking about careers. I hope you share this with your kids and see what reaction you get.

The 3 Bricklayers Story

Three bricklayers were sitting on a park bench eating their sandwiches. Someone asked them 'What do you do?'

The first 👷 said:

"I lay bricks"

The second 👷‍♀️ said:

"I build churches"

The third 👷 said:

"I build houses for God!"

Different people have different mindsets towards work

Each of the bricklayers in the story do the same work but they each have a different mindset towards that work.

The first 👷 has a Job. The second 👷‍♀️ has a Career. The third 👷 has a Passion (in this case the third builder had a religious calling).

I believe this is really important career advice for kids and can make a material difference to the future earning potential of your kids.

Job vs Career

In his 2008 book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell said:

"Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness."

What he means is that if you practice a certain skill for 10,000 hours, you'll become great at it. If you become great at something then your earnings potential increases.

However, that isn't always the case. There is something very important to add to Malcolm Gladwell's statement. The practice must be 'deliberate practice', i.e., practice where you are aiming to become better.

I mention this as I feel it is an important difference in the mindset of a job vs. a career. I know lots of people who have worked a job for many years but I wouldn't say they have achieved greatness. They have just done the same thing for many years.

Rather than having 20 years of experience, they have got 1 year of experience 20 times.

For my daughters, whatever work they decide to do, I really hope that they have the mindset of wanting to become great at it, i.e., make it a career. Rather than just doing something simply to get it done and take the money. I believe this will change how much money they can earn.

I also believe that by having a 'career' mindset rather than a 'job' mindset they will be happier, especially if they are getting recognised and rewarded for improving their skills. The point around happiness then moves us nicely on to the difference between a 'Career' and a 'Passion'.

Career vs Passion

"Ikigai" is a Japanese word which means:

"The feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment that follows when people pursue their passions"

Clearly, we would all love for our kids to follow their passions and have a fulfilled life of happiness. We can state this as being a goal that our kids aim for. However, it's not quite as simple as saying to your kids 'Follow your passion' as there are a number of factors to consider.

One of the key questions is 'Does passion pay you enough?'. If the passion doesn't lead to getting paid enough, then the financial stress of living day to day will stop your kids feeling fulfilled.

This is an interesting topic to have with your kids. If they had a choice between being:

  • They pay a lot of money but have to do something they don't really enjoy, or

  • Paid less but get to do something they love

What would they choose?

My guess is that when they are young they'll want to do something they love and then as they get older it will switch to getting paid more.

The reason for writing this blog is to open up the conversation about having a passion with your kids. The traditional mindset of 'work in a career, become successful, earn lots of money and then you'll be happy' is completely fine but I've found the happiest people to be those who have 'enough' money and have a passion/purpose.

Career advice for kids saying

Going from a Career to a Passion

There are some kids, who might grow up and find the holy grail of work that is purposeful, well-paid, enjoyable and they are great at it. For many others, it will become a journey.

From my own experience, I worked in a career as an Actuary (like an accountant who loves statistics). I really enjoyed it as it was challenging work and I felt myself getting better over time and I was always learning new skills. It also helped that it paid quite well. However, I wouldn't say working as an Actuary was my ultimate passion.

I believe finding time for myself to help parents teach their kids about money is my passion. I essentially used my career to help me get to the point where I could financially take some time out from the corporate world a few years ago and consider 'What is my passion?' I then started Blue Tree Savings. If I didn't have my career, I wouldn't have had the financial means to pursue my passion in the way I did.

Helping your kids achieve Ikigai

Many people never get to the point where they achieve Ikigai as they never answer the following questions:

"What is my passion?"

It's easy to stick to a career if you don't have an idea of what you are passionate about. I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with sticking with a career but there is potential upside by thinking beyond that.

I would love for my kids to be passionate about something and want to pursue it. Hopefully, it could be as part of their career (whether that is working for someone or starting their own business) or, it could be something they do on the side and then focus on it when they feel they have 'enough' money. This leads to the next question.

"What is enough?"

Many people never pursue a passion as they believe they need to keep working to earn more money. They don't consider what is 'enough'. This leads to lifestyle inflation, i.e., buying bigger houses and more luxurious things which means you need to keep earning more to maintain this forever-increasing lifestyle.

One of the most powerful stories I told my daughters was about the Diderot Effect. This talks about how one luxurious item can lead to changing your whole lifestyle to align with the new item. This ensures you never have 'enough'.

I've met many people who have had amazing careers and earned a lot of money but never seemed that happy as they never felt they 'had enough'.

I'm hoping that by talking to my daughters about their passions as they grow up, they will want to consider what is 'enough' which will allow them to pursue their passions without financial worries.


Do you know how much POCKET MONEY to give your kids? Find out here


Summary: Career advice for kids

Money and Work have something in common. The driver of success is largely driven by mindset. This is something that isn't discussed as much as it should be.

I hope this blog has encouraged you to tell your kids 'The 3 Bricklayers Story' and discuss the difference between a Job, a Career and a Passion. There isn't one journey for all kids but I hope that as your kids grow up you'll continue to ask them:

  • What is your passion?

  • What is 'enough'?

Hopefully, more kids will grow up being able to get to a place where they are doing purposeful work, that they are good at and they enjoy whilst having 'enough' money.

By helping your kids learn about money, it opens up more opportunities for them to follow their passion and achieve Ikigai!

Here are some more tips to help your kids become great with money:

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Thanks for reading!


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