Harry asked me this in the park the other day. He’s 8. But we had a long discussion about how it’s better not to think in terms of a job, but instead to think about what you love to do and try to find a way to do that for a living. It took me 15 years to do that for myself, but I’ve never looked back.
Later, at home, Harry was watching The Fairly Odd Parents and he said, “Who’s Guy Moon? He does the music on this and I’ve seen his name on other shows too.” So we looked him up. And it led us to this article about him.
Moon says his future vocation could have been predicated back when he was voted class clown and received the John Philip Sousa band award in high school. “I was always in the band room. I played tuba in the marching band and piano for the swing choir. I’d mix it together. I never had to think about it: Being silly with music came really easy for me.”
I told Harry to just focus on what he loves and, we hope, a career will follow naturally. Right now, I’d imagine it would be in game or app design, which, if you saw the news last week, sounds like an excellent plan and one that he could start on as soon as he feels ready rather than waiting until school tells him he’s qualified.
Watching one of Ken Robinson’s TED Talks, I had to pause and rewind and transcribe this re the ‘What will I do for a job?’ question and school: “You were probably steered benignly away from things you liked on the grounds that you would never get a job doing that. Don’t do music, you’re not going to be a musician. Don’t do art, you’re not going to be an artist.”
When I saw my school careers adviser I said I was thinking about being a photographer. Her response was, “What camera have you got?” I was shy. I couldn’t remember. She said, smirking, “If you don’t even know what camera you’ve got, I don’t think you’re going to be a photographer, are you?” I’m still actually angry about this, 25+ years later.
Shouldn’t young people be encouraged, not dismissed? One of my (many) hopes for home ed is that we can nurture Harry in whatever he wants to do rather than steering him in the easiest, laziest direction. But really, I don’t think he needs to worry about a job for a while yet.