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If you want to have one career but you want to do two things, how do you know which one to do?

I'm Ms. Hill at the International Community School. My 4th graders have a few questions and I'd like to share your advice with them. Thanks in advance!

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Michael’s Answer

Ms. Hill,

It's great to hear your 4th graders are already thinking about their careers. This will give them plenty of time to learn what life is like for people with the occupations they are interested in and understand what it has taken them to get there.

I would teach them how to set and achieve goals so they can learn about themselves. I would also teach them to have a growth mindset so they can learn from experiences and build confidence. This should lead them to be able to eventually do some self reflection and understand their strengths and true interests.

Until then, I would tell them to keep their options open. If they are making positive progress in life, they will get to the point where they have it narrowed down to two possible careers. What they've learned about the careers, themselves, and the other possibilities that could come from each career choice will help make the decision easy.

If they must decide now :-)
tell them to pretend they are grown up and coming back to your class to speak to student on career day. Which of the two options would make them more proud of themselves? Just don't let them forget that they can always change their minds, and their should be no judgement on them for it.
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Simeon’s Answer

My recommendation would be to develop skill sets and education that are relevant to both careers. The modern market supports workers who are adaptive and able to use multiple different skill sets. Develop friends and references for both fields, even if they're incompatible with one another. Give yourself time to figure out which of the fields you'd actually prefer and try to talk to people in the industry or watch videos of people talking about their jobs. Get a sense of the pros and cons of their professions to get a better idea of if those fields are a good fit for you.
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Courtney’s Answer

In addition to Shamar and Ken's amazing advice, I also recommend internships. Internships allow you to get real, hands-on experience in the field that you are interested in pursing so you can determine if the job is the right fit for you. I tried an internship in interior design and an internship with events/marketing. I learned what my preferences were, received practical skills that would advance my career and discovered my preference between the two job options.

Good luck!
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Shamar’s Answer

Don't be afraid to try more than one thing. If you have the time and you can give your attention to one without negatively affecting the other, try both. While I held a job in insurance, I was able to work part-time on weekends doing event marketing and promotions. If you can learn how to balance your time, you can do more than one thing.
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Patti’s Answer

There are some great answers above. I would suggest making a list of pros and cons of each and evaluating. Most importantly, you need to truly enjoy what you do. I also agree with Courtney's advice on internships - those are a great way of getting a sneak peek into a career to see if it is really for you!
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Ken’s Answer

Choosing a career is an important decision.

If you are stuck between two choices, make a list of what is important to you such as how many hours a week you want to work, how much do you want to travel for work vs being at home, how much pressure do you want to have at work, where do you want to live, how much do you want move up in your career (promotions) and how much money do you want to make.

Then look at the two choices that you are thinking about and see which choice matches up to the answers to the questions in your list. That should hopefully help you make a decision.

You can always change careers, however changing careers may make you start over. You may have to go back to school to train for a new career or start at the entry level .

Best of luck!