What Career Advice Will You Give Your Kids?

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Rank: Senior Gorilla | 903

On WSO, we're frequently presented with a given career situation. For example,

"I'm a senior in high school and I want to be a banker - which school is better?"

"I'm a rising sophomore at a nontarget - which internship should I try for?"

"I'm two years out of college and in a back office position - what should my exit strategy be?"

But what if you could start all the way back at the beginning, when your kids are starting high school and beginning to consider their career? What advice would you give them? Here's what I would say:

1) Start building your extracurriculars from day one of high school.

The earlier you start, the better chance you have of getting a leadership position. Also, you have to do at least one year each of speech, drama, and a sport. The ability to be a comfortable public speaker is invaluable, drama will get you to step out of your comfort zone and think about human behavior, and sports will teach you important skills like perseverance, strategy, and intuition.

2) Make sure you have a 4.0 high school GPA, or at least close. GPA is a function of how much you work, not how high your IQ is (although having a higher IQ will mean it takes less work for you), so you have no excuse not to have a good one.

3) Take as many AP classes as you can, and enroll in an early placement program if your college of choice has one. You have only four years in college, and you want to be spending that time running student organizations, interning, building your resume with winning competitions, starting a business, etc., and taking classes that lead to something valuable (e.g. minor in behavorial economics, second major in math, etc.), not taking dumb classes like Lit 101.

4) Start interning every summer after you turn sixteen. (Hopefully I can pull some strings at that point, and at the very least a position in the mailroom will get a name on the resume.)

5) Start studying for the SAT early in high school and make sure you get close to a perfect score. The SAT can be studied for and learned. I'll pay for classes, then buy every practice book I can find. Skip the ACT - it's much more difficult to study for.

6) Go to a good school. I hope I can make money a non-factor for you at that point, and you want to be surrounded with smart, ambitious, hard-working people. You want to have lots of class options, and when the professor teaches to the middle of the class, you want that middle to approximate your level of ability. Your school name will follow you throughout your career. Plan accordingly.

7) Get a STEM major. College is for building real skills to get a job, not for learning. Take lots of quantitative courses and use your electives for lots of psychology, sales, and behavioral economics classes. Take at least one completely random class that has nothing to do with your major but looks awesome. However, make sure that most of your classes are focused. Have a plan to get at least a minor, and work with the powers that be to design a program that works for you. University officials can be surprisingly willing to bend the rules if you know the right way to ask.

8) Get out of the country. College is the perfect time to travel cheap, and experiencing other cultures will make you a much bigger person. When you consider that you can get credits for a lot of it, it can actually be free.

9) Make sure you get a graduate degree, again from a good school. You're going to need it to get a decent job.

10) To start off your career, spend a couple years working at a big company with a good name and great people... For the rest of your life, your career bio will read "808 Jr. began his career with [insert firm]..." You want people to recognize that firm. You also want to learn about the corporate world, politics and all, and to have your abilities pushed by people who are smarter than you.

11) ...then get a job with a startup. Succeed or fail, the experience will be invaluable. With a good name starting off your resume, the risk to your career is low, and you want to take this opportunity while you're still young. You will learn things at a startup that the corporate world will never teach you.

12) And lastly, don't lose yourself to your career. Family and friends are more important. Don't sell your soul, but if you have to lease it out for a couple years, that's OK. Just make sure the contract has a definite end period, with no BPO clause. And don't lose sight of the little things that are important to you personally. Keep playing the guitar, or rolling at the dojo, or whatever it is that helps make you you.

I think that covers the basics. What would you guys add? Disagree with anything?

Comments (96)

Jul 11, 2013

My biggest piece of advice is going to be: If you want to major in English, you damn well better get a double in a major that's useful.

Jul 11, 2013

My kids are nowhere near high school aged, but my mantra is study math early and often. That's the one thing I am fairly certain will be even more important by the time they enter the work force than today.

Jul 11, 2013

Man, helicopter parenting much?

    • 4
Jul 11, 2013

"Don't get a girl pregnant".

    • 1
Jul 11, 2013

"If you don't use it, you lose it"

Best Response
Jul 11, 2013

If there's anything I hate more, it's parents who shelter their kids and don't let them experience the world for themselves. I think all children should be encouraged to make their own mistakes, then let them deal with the repercussions and learn from them before high school.

I was an asshole prior to high school, often got into trouble, even had a run in with the police and was often in the office. Then I was sent to boarding school in NE and everything changed. My life switched around. Parents were far away, and I was given another chance with new people. I knew what mistakes I had made prior, and learned from them.

Boarding school gave me a new slate and opened me up to new people who didn't know me as an annoying asshat, and everything worked out great. Today, I am way further ahead of those "gleaming" A+ students in middle school who were incredibly sheltered and never went out of their parent's comfort zone because they were not allowed to.

I would even make the case that these kids, who had strict parents, are fucking up more now because their parents aren't around them anymore to hold their hand and tell them what is right and wrong. Now the kids are in college, and want to experience what it's like to be "free". So they try drinking for the first time, then try drugs... then its a snowball.

Point is, for my kids, I'm going to let them be free early, hope that they will make as many mistakes as possible so that by the time I send them away to boarding school, they will know what is right and wrong from PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. When someone tells you not to do something, you are even more motivated to just do it to find out what would happen. I did that a lot. Now I know. Hopefully my kids will to.

    • 7
Jul 11, 2013

Don't go into finance

Jul 11, 2013

Great post thanks for sharing!
I would add invest in a great SAT tutor. I will pay back!

Jul 11, 2013

Don't be a bitch/prestige whore

Jul 11, 2013

"Don't depend on me financially after you graduate from college."

Read: Do whatever it takes to build your own independence.

Jul 11, 2013
Waymon3x6:

If there's anything I hate more, it's parents who shelter their kids and don't let them experience the world for themselves. I think all children should be encouraged to make their own mistakes, then let them deal with the repercussions and learn from them before high school.

I was an asshole prior to high school, often got into trouble, even had a run in with the police and was often in the office. Then I was sent to boarding school in NE and everything changed. My life switched around. Parents were far away, and I was given another chance with new people. I knew what mistakes I had made prior, and learned from them.

Boarding school gave me a new slate and opened me up to new people who didn't know me as an annoying asshat, and everything worked out great. Today, I am way further ahead of those "gleaming" A+ students in middle school who were incredibly sheltered and never went out of their parent's comfort zone because they were not allowed to.

I would even make the case that these kids, who had strict parents, are fucking up more now because their parents aren't around them anymore to hold their hand and tell them what is right and wrong. Now the kids are in college, and want to experience what it's like to be "free". So they try drinking for the first time, then try drugs... then its a snowball.

Point is, for my kids, I'm going to let them be free early, hope that they will make as many mistakes as possible so that by the time I send them away to boarding school, they will know what is right and wrong from PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. When someone tells you not to do something, you are even more motivated to just do it to find out what would happen. I did that a lot. Now I know. Hopefully my kids will to.

+SB It's better to mess up when you're very young.

In the future I would let my kids get involved in important household decision-making as if he or she was the analyst at a board meeting.

Jul 11, 2013

Agree with most of it. I think there is a difference between telling/forcing your kids to do something and exposing them to something. For example, I wish I had been more exposed to things like golf, tennis, and chess as a kid in addition to the sports that I played growing up. I would also try to get my sons into lifting at a fairly early age as I think the physical, psychological, and social benefits are immense, bro.

Jul 11, 2013
junkbondswap:

I would also try to get my sons into lifting at a fairly early age as I think the physical, psychological, and social benefits are immense, bro.

won't this stunt their growth height-wise if they start too early?

Jul 11, 2013

I'm not talking about lifting in kindergarten after snack time, bro. Thinking I will wait until they are at least doing multiplication tables in the 3rd grade before I get them on the squat rack. Do you even lift?

Jul 11, 2013

yah bro, i lift all day. you should come over and check out my squat thrusts. Ohh, it's the deep burn. Oh, it's so deep. Oh, I can barely lift my right leg 'cause I did so many. I don't know if you heard me counting. I did over a thousand.

Jul 12, 2013

Not if you lift properly

Jul 11, 2013

That is the whole problem with the precept of giving advice to your kid, most of them will not want it.

Jul 11, 2013
streetwannabe:

That is the whole problem with the precept of giving advice to your kid, most of them will not want it.

Which is why you don't give them advice unless they ask. Let them fail, and if they can't pick themselves up, help them. But only if they ask.

Jul 11, 2013

Exactly, all I will really hope to do is guide/nudge them in the right direction. Granted my parents' professional/educational experiences varied vastly from what I wanted to do with mine, so not much help there, even if they did have it.

But honestly, the greatest thing my parents did for me was let me do my own thing and also really did not support me very much financially which instilled a greater sense of "I have to earn it myself if I want that new Xbox game" and in turn, led me to make decisions that would allow for more financial libert in my future. We always seem to scrape by financially, so from a young age, I decided that I did not want to have to do that.

Jul 11, 2013

Uhhh, I'll encourage them to pursue their interests and do what they want to do. Crazy, huh?

Jul 11, 2013
streetwannabe:

But honestly, the greatest thing my parents did for me was let me do my own thing and also really did not support me very much financially which instilled a greater sense of "I have to earn it myself if I want that new Xbox game" and in turn, led me to make decisions that would allow for more financial libert in my future. We always seem to scrape by financially, so from a young age, I decided that I did not want to have to do that.

+9000

Too many people our age these days depend on their parents for everything. It's fucking embarrassing. Where's that hard work ethic?

Jul 11, 2013

This post is great. You list everything a CHILD should do to get the job YOU want them to get and then you go on to say don't lose yourself in your career. You have to be kidding me. Why don't you let your kid find out his/her path in life. Granted, I am 100% for pushing your child to be the best they can be, but what you are proposing is ludicrous.

    • 1
Jul 11, 2013
streetwannabe:

But honestly, the greatest thing my parents did for me was let me do my own thing and also really did not support me very much financially which instilled a greater sense of "I have to earn it myself if I want that new Xbox game" and in turn, led me to make decisions that would allow for more financial libert in my future. We always seem to scrape by financially, so from a young age, I decided that I did not want to have to do that.

This is exactly why so many old folks in this country are living in senior homes lol, instead of being taken care of by their kids. Frustrated by apathy and lack of support, the parent-child relationship comes swiftly to an end at age 18 in America and both sides go on their separate ways. This is not the case in some other countries or cultures. In certain ways a kid is an investment that pays off when you are really old.

If I ever have a kid, I'm definitely not making them buy their own Xbox games when they are young, lol. That's just cruel. They can learn work ethic some other way. On the other hand, if they ever come home with a little infant or a B+, all hell will break loose...

I guess the advice I would give them at all ages is to do whatever they are passionate about but do it REALLY FUCKING WELL, with immense discipline, and without concern for the future. To paraphrase the end of a certain movie, if you pursue excellence, success will follow.

Also I would expose them heavily to chess and classical music from a very young age...gets all the brain juices flowing.

Jul 11, 2013

I guess you can run with it in either direction. I wasn't saying that I feel resentful at their methods of raising me. On the contrary, I really appreciate the way they live and it lends perspective to my own life when I get caught up in the career path.

I don't feel that I want to distance myself from them. No matter how much more educated or successful I feel than they were, they were the ones that enabled me to be successful due to their supportive yet passive methods. While my dad may not be very educated in a professional sense, he is very smart and I love to talk with him about daily news, politics, or religion etc. But my parents never really pushed me to be extraordinary or very disciplined in my pursuits. I think that at the end of the day, most of us will find our own way and generally realize that being great isn't the end all be all of existence. Just be happy.

I do completely agree with your last point though. I myself am very disappointed that I was not engaged in more intellectual pursuits from a young age and hope that I would be more able to guide my child towards those things. Honestly, aspire to be and love characters like Sherlock Holmes and the renaissance man figures.

Jul 11, 2013
sr8 cash homie:

Fuck...I was going to go with "try out a bunch of different things, find out what you like and you are passionate about, and do what makes you happy...learn to define success in your own terms. Whether you want to do what pops does or want to do something on your own, I will support and help whatever way I can, str8 cash jr (boy or girl."

I completely agree with this. I am going to tell my children to do what makes them happy. Yea, and I don't care if it is basket weaving, if you are passionate and going balls to the wall trying to be the best basket weaver, I will be 100% content with them. Granted, if they are lazy fucks who are leeching me dry, I will lay down the hammer, but you must give your child the opportunity to find their way. I have met MANY more happy, interesting, well-off(there is more to this than $) people who majored in liberal arts subject they loved, than people who were pushed into finance, law, or med by controlling parents.

Jul 11, 2013

I'd just like to point out that it's relatively obvious that nobody posting so far has any kids. It seems that most are just thinking of how they would have done things a couple of years ago, if they were their parents. The thing is, you really build a lot of the basics when the kids are pretty young and a lot of it is just inherent to the kid. Are they polite? Outgoing? Lazy? Whatever. The truth is, usually your kids act how you act and not how you want them to act (for better or worse).

Some of the kids going into second grade are very clearly assholes and will most likely stay that way forever. Knowing their parents and how they parent, it's obvious why the kids are little shits.

    • 2
Jul 13, 2013
SirTradesaLot:

I'd just like to point out that it's relatively obvious that nobody posting so far has any kids. It seems that most are just thinking of how they would have done things a couple of years ago, if they were their parents. The thing is, you really build a lot of the basics when the kids are pretty young and a lot of it is just inherent to the kid. Are they polite? Outgoing? Lazy? Whatever. The truth is, usually your kids act how you act and not how you want them to act (for better or worse).

Some of the kids going into second grade are very clearly assholes and will most likely stay that way forever. Knowing their parents and how they parent, it's obvious why the kids are little shits.

Oh how true... I was dying to say this myself.

Most of the op's advice is good, but it's mentoring not parenting. I'd apply it a Big Brothers and Big Sisters program.

When you are a father you realize the tragedy of Steinbeck's hopes and dreams and plans " of mice and men"...

You guys have no idea what you're up against. Everybody in the world is telling you how to raise your kids. It's as if they all have the legal right to not only interfere, but fine you if you're not adhering to popular ideology. Just provide for them, and pray they remain healthy and good natured. You do your best, but there is no way you control this. Those lame courses in philosophy and literature at uni will finally come in handy, trust me.

And don't forget that it's the mother, for better or (more often) for worse who controls the early stuff. You'd better get that part right.

Jul 13, 2013

Amen, from one of the only other parents on the board.

Jul 11, 2013
SirTradesaLot:

I'd just like to point out that it's relatively obvious that nobody posting so far has any kids. It seems that most are just thinking of how they would have done things a couple of years ago, if they were their parents. The thing is, you really build a lot of the basics when the kids are pretty young and a lot of it is just inherent to the kid. Are they polite? Outgoing? Lazy? Whatever. The truth is, usually your kids act how you act and not how you want them to act (for better or worse).

Some of the kids going into second grade are very clearly assholes and will most likely stay that way forever. Knowing their parents and how they parent, it's obvious why the kids are little shits.

This. My brother and I were polar opposites, so I guess things adapt according to the child/circumstances.

Jul 11, 2013

haha, if we turned out like this making the choices we made, why would we want our kids to do differently? i would teach logic from an early age, and risk reward decision making.

Jul 11, 2013

I will live vicariously through my child...whether (s)he likes it or not.

In reality though, I would just teach them to be logical and rational. If they stray too far, then I would interject.

Jul 11, 2013

"Learn how to farm"

Jul 11, 2013

To name a few important things:
1. Get as many internships as possible starting in HS.
2. Work close to 40 FT in college.
3. Study for the SAT as if your life depends on it.
4. Get into the best university possible and don't enticed by scholarships from lesser schools.
5. Get at least a 3.5 GPA in college
6. Get at least a 4.0 GPA in HS.
7. Last but not least, Never Give Up

"He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man." -- William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

Jul 11, 2013

Get a vasectomy, but keep it a secret.

"Mr. Perkins poses an extreme risk to the market when drunk."

Jul 11, 2013

Don't want to have any kids at all.

The Auto Show

Jul 11, 2013
Waymon3x6:

If there's anything I hate more, it's parents who shelter their kids and don't let them experience the world for themselves. I think all children should be encouraged to make their own mistakes, then let them deal with the repercussions and learn from them before high school.

I was an asshole prior to high school, often got into trouble, even had a run in with the police and was often in the office. Then I was sent to boarding school in NE and everything changed. My life switched around. Parents were far away, and I was given another chance with new people. I knew what mistakes I had made prior, and learned from them.

Boarding school gave me a new slate and opened me up to new people who didn't know me as an annoying asshat, and everything worked out great. Today, I am way further ahead of those "gleaming" A+ students in middle school who were incredibly sheltered and never went out of their parent's comfort zone because they were not allowed to.

I would even make the case that these kids, who had strict parents, are fucking up more now because their parents aren't around them anymore to hold their hand and tell them what is right and wrong. Now the kids are in college, and want to experience what it's like to be "free". So they try drinking for the first time, then try drugs... then its a snowball.

Point is, for my kids, I'm going to let them be free early, hope that they will make as many mistakes as possible so that by the time I send them away to boarding school, they will know what is right and wrong from PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. When someone tells you not to do something, you are even more motivated to just do it to find out what would happen. I did that a lot. Now I know. Hopefully my kids will to.

Definitely agree with most of the stuff here +1

Jul 11, 2013
junkbondswap:

Thinking I will wait until they are at least doing multiplication tables in the 3rd grade before I get them on the squat rack.

3rd grade for multiplication tables? Why are you trying to set them up for mediocrity?

Jul 11, 2013

Learn to code

Jul 11, 2013

dont go to college unless you're good at math

trade school is a better option for most kids these days and probably will be for the forseeable future

alpha currency trader wanna-be

Jul 11, 2013

I've actually thought a lot about this, and I've decided that it's going to go on a kid-by-kid basis.

Would it be awesome if all my future offspring are motivated and intelligent and want to do well in school and have an awesome career? Yeah, and if they're like that I'm going to push them.

Some kids have learning disabilities, though. Some kids are bad at math. I want to teach them the value of hard work, but I'm also not going to push them into doing something they're not suited for. Not everyone wants to be rich, either (shocker, right?).

That being said, they are all going to be getting an undergrad degree, at the very least. idgaf if they want to run off to some organic farming collective in Portland after that, but they're going to college.

Jul 12, 2013

wow this is not just great advice for people starting out their careers but great parenting tips as well! many parents are okay with their kids playing game for 12 hours straight on the weekends as compared to doing the things above to obtain experience!

Jul 12, 2013

I think the education landscape will look very different 25 years from now. Company's will try to recruit talent at an earlier stage and take it upon themselves to teach kids the skills that they need. Higher education is already shifting towards a heavier emphasis on real world work experience with a growing industry presence in college curriculums (i.e. co-op programs). As technology continues to make many jobs obsolete, the tools and skills our childrens' generation must use in their chosen professions will have evolved as well. I doubt the most efficient training for these skills/tools will be the traditional 4 year college experience...

So to answer the OP's question I would advise my kids to learn the hard skills. Knowing a handful of programming languages will be a lot more useful than knowing five different languages in 25 years.

Jul 12, 2013

ATHLETE. Get into college on scholarship (even with only decent grades.) > be in great shape all the time > look good > slay chicks > looks great on resume > won't be a little bitch > happy life, no matter the $.

Seriously, athletes live the life. Everyone wants to be healthy and look good. If you have those two covered, the rest of your life kind of just comes together.

Jul 12, 2013

As someone who grew up in an Asian household (and was surrounded by lots of other Asians), #1-5 are considered de facto formulas to follow in order to fulfill #6. It was a very weird environment because there generally weren't conflicts of interest between parent and child (e.g. parent wants child to study, child wants to play video games). This isn't about pushing a child to become a mirror image of yourself - it's about giving your child the chance to do whatever he/she wants down the line.

JYFresh:

+SB It's better to mess up when you're very young.

The consequences of your mistakes tend to compound over time, so I'd argue the opposite. Well, I guess it depends on what mistake we're talking about...for instance, I think finding out that meth is super addictive at age 17 is a hell of a lot worse than at age 40.

Jul 12, 2013

Like several of you (Waymon), I have mixed feelings about this. I had everything growing up - upper middle class family, great neighborhood growing up, parents pushed me to do sports and get involved, private schools, never a financial need. I let these things go to waste. I got shit grades in HS, quit sports early (was a great basketball player.. I'll still beat you), and didn't get along with my family. I did drugs and drank, and was caught doing all of it (school and parents). Scraped into a state school.

I matured my first year of college. I partied and had a great time, but I wasn't "free and on my own," like the rest of the dorm floor, because I'd always been that way. I excelled in college. Worked hard, graduated at the top of my class years later, interned and held leadership positions. I was so far ahead of classmates - classmates with 4.0's and athletic scholarships out of HS, because I'd seen it before. I'd had my "heart broken" (funny, in hindsight, but isn't this the point of this discussion?) and had blacked out from drinking before. I was ready to work and do something with my life. I was ready to give my parents a second chance when others were only calling for money.

It's easy to look at our mistakes and say, "Won't let that happen again." I just graduated and am far from having kids, but.. come on man. Look around. It will happen again. Yeah, I'll be tough on my kids one day, and I'll make them study extra hard for their math test, but their true wisdom (not something that comes with a credential in high school) will be formed on their own (I hope!).

It's an interesting post OP, and we all think about it, but I HATE these hypotheticals (you're kidding yourself if you think otherwise). I saw a post on WSO once that poor people have a bunch of kids in order to be remembered (TNA?). Do great things yourself and give your kids something to aspire to. And remember, it's mostly genetics.

Jul 12, 2013

This seems more like a "what I could have done better thread" over a career advice for your kids thread. To me it's about letting them do what makes them happy.

Jul 12, 2013

I'd have music and a foreign language on the list. Both are good for mental development, and I would love to play music with my kids.

Then I'd set them up with a Neopets account (or modern day equivalent) in their early years. Fantastic way to learn economics and business at a young age.

Jul 12, 2013

Do what you like, but do it in moderation

... and don't be a sheep

Jul 12, 2013

I would them that there's always money in the banana stand.

Jul 12, 2013
Myron Gainz:

This post is great. You list everything a CHILD should do to get the job YOU want them to get and then you go on to say don't lose yourself in your career. You have to be kidding me. Why don't you let your kid find out his/her path in life. Granted, I am 100% for pushing your child to be the best they can be, but what you are proposing is ludicrous.

Respectfully, This is pretty much what I thought reading through your post. Your 12th point sort of seems like you threw it in at the end for good measure. My advice:

But don't expect me to bail you out the second time

"I am not sure who this 'Anonymous' person is - one thing is for certain, they have been one hell of a prolific writer" - Anonymous

Jul 12, 2013

Though, to be honest that's just what I say now. I would be suprised if anyone (not currently parenting) does not change their views on how to take care of their kid over the next 5, 10, 20 etc years.

"I am not sure who this 'Anonymous' person is - one thing is for certain, they have been one hell of a prolific writer" - Anonymous

Jul 12, 2013

Well looks like WSO will be raising a lot of neurotic fucks for kids. Seriously, just instill a spirit of competition in your kids from an early age and I think the rest falls into place.

My drinkin' problem left today, she packed up all her bags and walked away.

Jul 12, 2013

But seriously, first thing I'd do is tell them to major in a hard science (especially computer programming), because Wall Street is worthless and not value-add (despite all the claims about providing liquidity, optimal distribution of risk, access to capital, blah blah blah). Economic growth is not driven by the financial sector.

Then I'd just make sure they try hard at school and try hard to better themselves and their intelligence. Become well-rounded with good character.

Jul 12, 2013

If my kid is not a math/science genius, I'm gonna push him to play 1 sport and 1 musical instrument very well. I will also push him to get involved in some sort of nonprofit and other interesting extracurriculars in high school. I will further add to this by sending him abroad one summer to help poor people since college adcom drool over that shit. Given how competitive admissions has become, this may not be enough. Hopefully my legacy status will help him at my alma mater.

Once he's in college, I will push him to do STEM. Anything else is not practical in today's global technology driven economy.

Jul 12, 2013
mbavsmfin:

Once he's in college, I will push him to do STEM. Anything else is not practical in today's global technology driven economy.

I don't know. An basket-weaving/art history major seems fantastic for post-grad opps.

Jul 12, 2013
same0:

This seems more like a "what I could have done better thread" over a career advice for your kids thread. To me it's about letting them do what makes them happy.

We have a winner!

The first post is a joke. It's basically a list of what the person regrets and wishes they had done better.

In reality, it's a load of shit. Encourage your kids to work hard and develop their own interests. Not everyone wants to be a banker / engineer / businessman. And guess what? There is nothing wrong with that.

There are a billion ways to make money in this world, trying to shape your kid into a drone that you wish you were is the absolute worst way to be a parent. On top of that, it'll make your kids resent you.

End of the day, you want to encourage your kid to work hard, be responsible, and pursue a path that makes him/her happy while still being able to live a responsible life.

Jul 12, 2013

1. Don't base your self-worth on others' opinions. What modern society values is generally worhtless and will never bring contentment.

2. Do what interests you. Be passionate. "To be, in a word, unborable... is the key to modern life. If you are immune to boredom there is literally nothing that you cannot accomplish."

3. Take chances... especially when you're young. As long as I'm alive you have someone to help you pick up the pieces. The most 'successful' people are the ones who have failed more times or more deeply than anyone else.

4. Be too brash and stupid chasing your dreams.. don't listen to people saying you can't do it. Most likely, you won't revolutionize the world; but, if you always strive to, you won't be unhappy with the results.

5. Read widely. Find what you like. Then, read deeply.

6. Confront the big questions. You're not an adult until you have at least seriously confronted existensialism, what lies beneath the thin shell of your own psyche.

Jul 13, 2013

The first post is a joke. It's basically a list of what the person regrets and wishes they had done better.

Looking back, I did do 9/12 of the things on the list, and my only regret out of the remaining three is not using the opportunity in college to get out of the country. The reality is that 20 years from now the world will be a very different place, and my prediction is that these are going to be the basics for success.

In reality, it's a load of shit. Encourage your kids to work hard and develop their own interests. Not everyone wants to be a banker / engineer / businessman. And guess what? There is nothing wrong with that.

There are a billion ways to make money in this world, trying to shape your kid into a drone that you wish you were is the absolute worst way to be a parent. On top of that, it'll make your kids resent you.

I'm not sure that the 54% of recent college grads in the U.S. who are unemployed or underemployed would agree with those on this thread who have expressed that view. [source - AP] (This isn't primarily a function of the Great Recession, by the way - even before the dotcom bubble, that figure was at 40%.) Neither would the 66% of companies who aren't planning on hiring any college graduates due to their lack of basic skills. [source - CNBC] (On top of that, 69% of those who will hire a recent grad will only hire one or two.)

Compounded over a 50-year career, the impact of these facts is devastating. Of course there are exceptions, but for the most part this nonsense about "Let your kids do what they want to do or they'll turn into drones and resent you" has led to a generation of young professionals who have no skills, no grip on reality, and bleak prospects for the future. I just don't want my children to have the same fate, and I think my list contains the basics of how to avoid it.

End of the day, you want to encourage your kid to work hard, be responsible, and pursue a path that makes him/her happy while still being able to live a responsible life.

I think in the end, we all agree on what we want for our kids, just not how we want to get there. The right answer has to be somewhere between the two extremes, and like some posters have already mentioned, it depends a lot on the kid, and those of us who don't have kids yet (a category I fall in) probably don't have a whole lot of room to speak as we have yet to see how difficult that balancing act really is. My intent was for people to think about the future, not the past. Sorry to pick on you - you were just the last poster and summed up the one point of view well.

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Jul 12, 2013

Too many parents impose their own (ignorant) beliefs and values on their kids, using them as tools to fulfill whatever dreams they were unable to attain. Look for example at the over-enthusiastic soccer/baseball/football parent who transforms into a Neanderthal when their kids engage in any sporting activities. I think there are few things as embarrassing as watching a boisterous parent shouting out all of his frustration (stemming from the disappointment that life never became more than this) directed to the referee while standing on the sideline of a football pitch watching his kid play.

I am not sure what I would tell my kid about career paths, GPA, target vs non-target etc. I don't think I'm being naive; I do recognize that going to Harvard most likely would be an advantageous thing from a lot of perspectives. But I think I would try to encourage rather than point out the path forward, regardless what his/her ultimate goal is (it actually might not be working at BX). I would encourage my kid to think critically and draw his/her own conclusions and not listen too much to what others think. In that process hopefully he/she would realize what is needed to achieve that individual goal without my intervention, which would eliminate the risk of any of my shortcomings to transfer to him/her.

Jul 12, 2013

1.Teach them the importance of education.

2.Suggest some career paths for them early so they can look into and see if they like it. This involves actually being engaged w/ your child involving school. For example, my parents saw that I liked math and US politics but not physics/bio/chem so they suggested Econ/PoliSci/Finance/Accounting as majors to check out. From there I made my own decision.

3. "Whatever you are, be a good one." -Abraham Lincoln

(I believe) you can teach your kids to be high achievers without turning them into robots. That's what my parents did.

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." --Abraham Lincoln

Jul 12, 2013

Marry into a rich family.

Jul 12, 2013

Get your shit done then party hard and bang lots of bitches

"They're all former investment bankers who were laid off in the economic crash that Nancy Pelosi caused. They've got zero real-world skills, but God they work hard." -Jack Donaghy

Jul 12, 2013
PhilCollins:

Get your shit done then party hard and bang lots of bitches

Haha, now you will have a girl.

Jul 12, 2013
mbavsmfin:

If my kid is not a math/science genius, I'm gonna push him to play 1 sport and 1 musical instrument very well. I will also push him to get involved in some sort of nonprofit and other interesting extracurriculars in high school. I will further add to this by sending him abroad one summer to help poor people since college adcom drool over that shit. Given how competitive admissions has become, this may not be enough. Hopefully my legacy status will help him at my alma mater.

Once he's in college, I will push him to do STEM. Anything else is not practical in today's global technology driven economy.

I'm curious if Brady junior will have mad swagger from an early age or if he'll have to wait till bschool to acquire said swagger.

Jul 12, 2013

Wow. This is actually pretty sad.

When I have kids, I am going to do my best to teach them right from wrong, teach them to be individuals and not followers, and do my absolute best to help them figure out what it is they love doing.

I will encourage them to do their absolute best in school and I definitely will not accept laziness. But hounding them to do things not because they love it or are genuinely interested in it, but because an Ivy League or "target school" admissions committee will accept it? Nah.

Jul 12, 2013

This is very myopic advice.

I would try to set high standards for my kids and encourage them to get good grades, get involved in ECs early, play a sport, etc. But you need to give them space to discover what they're passionate about and interested in, otherwise they're not going to really learn about themselves and what they want to do with their lives. You don't want to raise kids that have been on a track for their whole life, and then they have trouble adapting/figuring out what they actually WANT to do once they're out of school and have been working for a bit.

Also, you're far too hard on humanities/non-STEM classes. I work in a technical field (much more technical than IB and most finance jobs) and guess what? I picked up most of my programming skillz from working.

I've been out of school for 5 years now, and I think that my various history/philosophy courses were a better long term investment than my quant classes. Sure, I got a solid math foundation which has helped me out a lot and got my foot in the door at a good job. But I'm starting to realize that most people are terrible writers/communicators, and learning how to write, research, and argue effectively are EXTREMELY useful skills to have. They also take a long time to develop, and doing tons of reading/writing/research in college is a good way to develop in that way.

Jul 12, 2013
krauser:

Man, helicopter parenting much?

+1 to this. His son's going to drink his way out of school, and his daughter's going to rebel and become some old guy's "teen queen." Hopefully, I'll be that old guy.

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Jul 12, 2013
TheKing:
same0:

This seems more like a "what I could have done better thread" over a career advice for your kids thread. To me it's about letting them do what makes them happy.

We have a winner!

The first post is a joke. It's basically a list of what the person regrets and wishes they had done better.

In reality, it's a load of shit. Encourage your kids to work hard and develop their own interests. Not everyone wants to be a banker / engineer / businessman. And guess what? There is nothing wrong with that.

There are a billion ways to make money in this world, trying to shape your kid into a drone that you wish you were is the absolute worst way to be a parent. On top of that, it'll make your kids resent you.

End of the day, you want to encourage your kid to work hard, be responsible, and pursue a path that makes him/her happy while still being able to live a responsible life.

This one's great too. I thought the same thing. It seems like OP's just listing all of the things that he fxcked up and would do differently if HE was a kid again.

Jul 12, 2013

Same advice my oldest sister gave me: do what makes you happy.

Jul 12, 2013

"Be a bro and slay"

Jul 12, 2013

LOL at all the people in this thread who think that in 20 years this world is going to look even remotely like what it does now, or did from 1970 til present. Technological unemployment and our (US) best days now being behind it...the idea of labor is going to be completely different...add to that a worldwide financial system built on the need of exponential growth....No thank you Jeffrey. Vasectomy ftw.

Better make it to the ownership class....

Please don't quote Patrick Bateman.

Jul 12, 2013

1. get into a good school 2. rush top house 3. slay sorority women. *only the second 2 are important.

Jul 12, 2013

This is a rehash of "What is your biggest failure"/"what is your biggest regret" posts just rephrased.

Jul 13, 2013

This is actually a great discussion. I have two sons: one eight years old and one turning ten in two weeks. They're incredibly polite kids, because I don't stand for anything else. Beyond that, their interests are pretty much up to them. My older boy likes sports, but is also in the chess club and he's rarely seen without a book in his hand. He says he wants to be a scientist when he grows up. My younger boy is kinda all over the yard, isn't much of a fan of reading, and takes most of his cues from his older brother.

Obviously I want them to succeed in life and, as a parent, that probably means I want them to feel as little pain as possible. Objectively I know that I can't control that, but part of you tries anyway. One of the things I've told them from day one is that they can pursue any career they want to in life, but when it comes to college I will only pay for a STEM degree. That doesn't mean I won't support their decision to become a lit major if that's what their heart desires, I just won't be financing it.

Is that too harsh?

Jul 13, 2013

The OP must be one of those Tiger Moms.

My goal is to provide my son with opportunities. That is really all a good parent can do if they want their kids to be free-thinking, independent contributers to society.

Jul 13, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:

This is actually a great discussion. I have two sons: one eight years old and one turning ten in two weeks. They're incredibly polite kids, because I don't stand for anything else. Beyond that, their interests are pretty much up to them. My older boy likes sports, but is also in the chess club and he's rarely seen without a book in his hand. He says he wants to be a scientist when he grows up. My younger boy is kinda all over the yard, isn't much of a fan of reading, and takes most of his cues from his older brother.

Obviously I want them to succeed in life and, as a parent, that probably means I want them to feel as little pain as possible. Objectively I know that I can't control that, but part of you tries anyway. One of the things I've told them from day one is that they can pursue any career they want to in life, but when it comes to college I will only pay for a STEM degree. That doesn't mean I won't support their decision to become a lit major if that's what their heart desires, I just won't be financing it.

Is that too harsh?

Maybe you could finance a lit degree if it's from an ivy league/other top school.

Jul 13, 2013

A lit major is a lit major is a lit major. Doesn't matter where from.

Jul 13, 2013

Your kids are going to be losers

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Jul 13, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:

One of the things I've told them from day one is that they can pursue any career they want to in life, but when it comes to college I will only pay for a STEM degree. That doesn't mean I won't support their decision to become a lit major if that's what their heart desires, I just won't be financing it.

Is that too harsh?

I don't think so. I have nephews that are in their late twenties who majored in things like drumming and film. They're no better off than someone who never went to college (not just because of the degree, I suppose). But, their parents are worse off because they paid for those degrees.

Jul 13, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:

One of the things I've told them from day one is that they can pursue any career they want to in life, but when it comes to college I will only pay for a STEM degree. That doesn't mean I won't support their decision to become a lit major if that's what their heart desires, I just won't be financing it.

Is that too harsh?

That depends. If they are going to college at Princeton or Cambridge or a school of that caliber, it makes little difference what they study, because their alma mater's reputation alone will largely carry them wherever they want to go. Also many STEM guys don't actually become scientists or engineers, so it partially defeats the point. That said, no matter what they study they should have some fluency in statistics and programming as that can be useful in any area.

My philosophy would be, if they are passionate in pursuing something and doing so with their complete discipline and energy, then they can do whatever they want. If they're lazy and mediocre though, then that's a different story.

Jul 13, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:

This is actually a great discussion. I have two sons: one eight years old and one turning ten in two weeks. They're incredibly polite kids, because I don't stand for anything else. Beyond that, their interests are pretty much up to them. My older boy likes sports, but is also in the chess club and he's rarely seen without a book in his hand. He says he wants to be a scientist when he grows up. My younger boy is kinda all over the yard, isn't much of a fan of reading, and takes most of his cues from his older brother.

Obviously I want them to succeed in life and, as a parent, that probably means I want them to feel as little pain as possible. Objectively I know that I can't control that, but part of you tries anyway. One of the things I've told them from day one is that they can pursue any career they want to in life, but when it comes to college I will only pay for a STEM degree. That doesn't mean I won't support their decision to become a lit major if that's what their heart desires, I just won't be financing it.

Is that too harsh?

Eddie, first off, while this may seem weird, congrats on having two sons so close in age. I have two brothers (I'm the middle) and we're all close in age (within 2 years). Honestly I think it was the best thing that ever happened to me in childhood for a number of reasons, so very cool man.

Second, I think only financing STEM degrees is the wrong thing to do. What you should finance is not just passion, but passion with results. Your oldest boy loves to read? Maybe he's the next big thing in the literary world. However, he's never going to be any good if he doesn't eat sleep and breathe it. So if through high school you see him skipping parties to come home and write, and submitting essays/prose and winning contests, then finance his education in college. On the other hand if he apathetically is a math major in college, figure out if financing him is what you want him to do FOR HIM. maybe not financing that degree will teach him that apathy is how you get fucked in life.

Just my opinion but I feel like what you want to do is reward success in whatever your kids choose to love.

My drinkin' problem left today, she packed up all her bags and walked away.

Jul 13, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:

A lit major is a lit major is a lit major. Doesn't matter where from.

Lol, tell that to the majority of the finance world that would take a history of furniture major from the "right" school 100 out of 100 times over a finance/ accounting/ economics triple major from the "wrong" school. Like has been said, from the right place major won't matter imo. Tbh, the way things are trending nowadays I'd straight up say "Either get into a top school, get into a non-top school for a large discount, or don't even go". The value of lower tier degrees just isn't there anymore. There's obviously nothing wrong with sending a kid to school to nourish a passion of their's, just don't expect them to monetize it afterwards.

Jul 13, 2013

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. Junk degree from middling school = "you want fries with that?"

Jul 13, 2013
Hayek:

This is very myopic advice.

I would try to set high standards for my kids and encourage them to get good grades, get involved in ECs early, play a sport, etc. But you need to give them space to discover what they're passionate about and interested in, otherwise they're not going to really learn about themselves and what they want to do with their lives. You don't want to raise kids that have been on a track for their whole life, and then they have trouble adapting/figuring out what they actually WANT to do once they're out of school and have been working for a bit.

Also, you're far too hard on humanities/non-STEM classes. I work in a technical field (much more technical than IB and most finance jobs) and guess what? I picked up most of my programming skillz from working.

I've been out of school for 5 years now, and I think that my various history/philosophy courses were a better long term investment than my quant classes. Sure, I got a solid math foundation which has helped me out a lot and got my foot in the door at a good job. But I'm starting to realize that most people are terrible writers/communicators, and learning how to write, research, and argue effectively are EXTREMELY useful skills to have. They also take a long time to develop, and doing tons of reading/writing/research in college is a good way to develop in that way.

Both good points. As to your first point, I hope my kids have had plenty of time to do that before high school, and I hope they continue to do that in while in high school. I am going to insist that whatever they do in high school, they do their very best, which to me would naturally result in good grades and AP classes. I would also insist on them trying a few things out to help them discover what they're passionate about and start to build some skills they will need.

As to your second point, I came from a high school background where I had amazing English and lit teachers who put a lot of effort into teaching me how to critically read and write. In addition, most of my quantitative classes in college required writing and presentations, so I have probably not seen things from the perspective of people who learned those skills in college "humanities" type classes. You are absolutely correct in saying that these skills are extremely useful. My point in #3 in the OP was to say that it would be best to get past introductory courses, whether that be Lit or Algebra, so that you have more time in college to take courses that help you grow.

Overall, I think people are misreading the post. I have to say I did a poor job framing the discussion - I set the situation between the first line of the post and the first bold wording, which is the part no one reads. However, the title is "What Career Advice Will You Give Your Kids?" not "How Will You Raise Your Kids?" or "What Things Will You Make Your Kids Do?" To me, giving advice or insisting on a few standards relating to how to get a job and make money is not the same thing as raising your kids or letting them grow into well-rounded people. I am genuinely concerned about how the world will be 20 years from now, and if what most people are doing right now isn't enough to get a decent job out of college, how much more difficult will it be in 20 years? I think that while what I've written may seem extreme to people now, it will be the basic how-to for getting a decent job by the time my kids graduate.

Jul 13, 2013
initialsCG:

Most of the op's advice is good, but it's mentoring not parenting. I'd apply it a Big Brothers and Big Sisters program.

Precisely. The post was meant to be career advice given from the perspective of a parent, not a treatise on how to raise children.

And don't forget that it's the mother, for better or (more often) for worse who controls the early stuff. You'd better get that part right.

An excellent point that no one has brought up yet.

Jul 13, 2013
hopingtobreakin:

This is a rehash of "What is your biggest failure"/"what is your biggest regret" posts just rephrased.

Not what the post was meant to be. I was hoping more people would be considering what the future is going to be like. Should have called that out in the original post.

Jul 13, 2013
DBCooper:

LOL at all the people in this thread who think that in 20 years this world is going to look even remotely like what it does now, or did from 1970 til present. Technological unemployment and our (US) best days now being behind it...the idea of labor is going to be completely different...add to that a worldwide financial system built on the need of exponential growth....No thank you Jeffrey. Vasectomy ftw.

Better make it to the ownership class....

This. Except for the vasectomy part.

Jul 13, 2013
Vinsanity:

It seems like OP's just listing all of the things that he fxcked up and would do differently if HE was a kid again.

If you would have read through my follow-up post (though I understand why you didn't since this thread got huge), you would see that I did do most of the things on the list, and don't regret the few that I didn't because at the time it wasn't necessary. In 20 years though, it's going to be a different story.

Jul 13, 2013
wannabeaballer:

The OP must be one of those Tiger Moms.

My goal is to provide my son with opportunities. That is really all a good parent can do if they want their kids to be free-thinking, independent contributers to society.

More than half of college grads are working jobs that don't even require a college degree [McKinsey/Forbes]. I think calling that situation being a "free-thinking, independent contributor to society" is a bit too positive. I completely agree with your goals, but I just don't see how a kid is going to be able to get those opportunities in the competitive world of 2033 if most people can't even get them now.

And my external reproductive organs beg to differ with you on that first statement, as does the title of the post - "career advice", not "parenting techniques" or "life rules". I would update the title, but it would break the link on the front page. If you read the first paragraph at the post, you would see we are considering a hypothetical situation where your kid is starting high school, and you are giving them career advice. My points are career advice at that time, not rules on life and parenting.

Jul 13, 2013

Learn how to long snap/punt/kick field goals.

Jul 13, 2013
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Jul 16, 2013
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Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Jul 16, 2013