My career wish list for my child

14 December 2016 | Advice for Parents | Guest Author

My Christmas experiences have only ever been wonderful and it continues to be my wish that this rings true for every and anybody who celebrates Christmas.

When my daughter was small, we would take great pleasure in dreaming up what to give her father, uncles, and aunties. And unbeknownst to her, she revealed her own wishes as well. Before I become too emotional, I would like to share with you my wish list for my daughter this year, as she moves into the first stages of her career.

Matching her skillset

I wish that her first job is one that matches her innate characteristics. Over the years, I have worked with colleagues who have clearly been like a fish out of water. A creative who bought into the hype from banks that they look to recruit dynamic independent minded people who display lots of initiative. It was painful for me, and no doubt more so for him, to watch as day-in-day-out he suppressed his personality. He was the classic square peg forced into a round hole. Thankfully he had the strength of character to change his career before his career changed him for the worse.

Employer support

Parents, and in deed society teach the social and organisational benefits of sharing and working as a team. There is also an acceptance that independence has its’ merits at the right time and under the right set of circumstances. Working for an employer that provides support is high on my wish list. A supportive work environment empowers employers to go above and beyond the employment contract to the benefit of the organisation and therefore the customer. An organisation is very much a family, with the employees the various family members. In the same way that individuals fall on hard times, sometimes by no fault of their own, so do organisations. Whether employer or employee, survival can rest on gaining the proper support.


It is strangely amusing to reflect on the fact that at one stage my daughter could not spell the simplest of words and struggled with her multiplication tables. Ok, so she was only five or six. Without the necessary education and support over the years she would, now in her twenties, still not know her tables. The point here is simple. Any organisation that does not actively encourage and support the personal development of employees is one that is taking a ‘here and now’ strategic outlook on survival. It is important that my adult daughter when she becomes twenty-five is far more skilled and competent than when twenty. If not, the reality is that her self-development and career would have regressed.

Career progression

Personal growth is important. As someone who is at the twilight stage of my career, I am convinced that after mastering one set of skills it is necessary to develop a mastery, or at least a strong working appreciation of others. Career progression in the form of seniority should be encourage by an employer and pursued by employees. Therefore, an organisation that has a flat structure is not conducive for career progression, rapid or otherwise.

For years we teach our children that they will be rewarded for hard work, that they will reap the fruits of their labour. As adults they need to understand that this simple idiom does not entirely hold true when it comes to career progression. I wish that my daughter understands the importance of politics within an organisation; that’s politics with a small ‘p’. Understanding and mastering politics within an organisation can make the difference between slow and rapid career progression.

The four things on my wish list all impact on job satisfaction. Thankfully leading employers and apprenticeship providers who can offer my daughter those things on my wish list will be at WCL under one roof.

Sharon John, Alexander Partners,

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