Is your high schooler starting to think about college and her future? She has plenty of time to decide on a profession, but there's no harm in getting a jumpstart on the brainstorming. A great way to give her some guidance is to help her find someone to shadow for a day to find out more about an interesting career. The benefits of this activity are immeasurable as it gives her insight into different workplaces and a better idea of what appeals to her.
Find a trusted friend or business that's willing to let your child shadow. Have her brainstorm a career that she would like to explore. For example, if she is interested in pet care and thinking about going to veterinary school, ask a local veterinarian if she minds being shadowed for the day.
Make sure she asks the individual that she would like to shadow politely, and arranges the shadowing at that person’s convenience. If it turns out the person is unable to be shadowed (some offices won't allow it), don't be discouraged. Simply help her think of someone else to ask.
If she successfully arranges a date to shadow someone for a day, be sure she arrives on time, dresses appropriately, and brings along a notepad and pencil to take notes about the experience.
When she is done shadowing, make sure she thanks the individual for her time and sends a polite thank you note.
Have your child reflect on her notes and write up a summary of her experience that she can look back on. A few suggestions for reflection topics are as follows: Do you prefer working indoors or outdoors? What are the best and worst parts of the job you observed? Do you prefer an active workplace or sitting at a desk? If you observed any customer service at the workplace, what did you think of working with the public? Is there any element of that job that you would desire in any job you worked (ex: a science element or creative thinking)? What types of volunteer experiences would give you more insight into this or another job? If your job requires you to work or be on-call during the holidays, how would you feel about that? How many hours a day does the person you shadowed work? How does that compare to other jobs? What is the salary range for people in this profession?