For most of us it feels strange to have someone look up to us. I'll admit there is one key exception, when our own children first stare at us as heroes. In that case it's pride. Typically, when someone asks us for career advice we might feel flattered but we also wonder, "Couldn't they find someone more accomplished to ask?"
If you don't feel flattered and confused when you are asked career questions, you just might be one of those folks whose egos are big enough to carry in a shopping cart.
Young people really do value career advice, even when they don't follow it. In most cases I think they simply are exploring their options -- drawing on our real-world experience -- more than asking us to define their paths. Maybe they want to sense whether you like your own career choice? Maybe they want to learn about a few more possibilities.
Over the past month, somewhere in the vicinity of 3 million Americans -- most of them 17 or 18 years old -- graduated from high school. That's an awful lot of kids who, by now, probably are sick of being asked, "So, what do you want to be when you grow up?" Most had to commit to a "career" choice months ago so they could be introduced at graduation by something like, "Mary is going to State U to major in accounting."
Of course, the truly honest answer that kids would like to give to the "when you grow up" question would be "among the idle rich." But that never was a career option for most of us.
Our newest adults have hung up their mortar boards and returned their rented graduation gowns, and have to get serious about life: college, the workforce, the military. By the way, history shows that your choice of career as a teen probably isn't reflected in what you are doing today.
Some will opt for careers in technology. After all, there's opportunity in tech, with more than a quarter million vacancies in the IT fields.
So, if your neice, nephew, son, daughter, grandchild or neighbor asks about opportunities in tech, where might you direct them?
You can share your thoughts in the newest InformationWeek Flash Poll. Application development? Data science? Operations? Networking? Project management? The cloud? Maybe something completely different?
Give it some thought, cast your vote, and see what your peers in the IT community are saying.
Jim Connolly is a versatile and experienced technology journalist who has reported on IT trends for more than two decades. As editorial director of InformationWeek and Network Computing, he oversees the day-to-day planning and editing on the site. Most recently he was editor ... View Full Bio