If you look around, you might notice how teenagers have changed. As the parent of a Generation Z child, I can attest to the fact that much of the research regarding this upcoming generation is correct.
Generation Z is an incredible group of kids with many talents and unique skills. They are entrepreneurial, want to make a difference, globally informed, and they are looking for stability in their work lives.
In 2018, Bloomberg predicted that Generation Z will make up 32% of the global population in 2019, compared to an estimated 31.5% that make up Millennials. However, Millennials are still the most significant generation when you look at the four major economies of the globe, which include the U.S., China, Japan, and Germany.
Generation Z is known as the slowest generation to move toward adulthood.
They are approximately three years behind in development when compared to their Generation X parents. According to a study by The Society for Research in Child Development, in an article titled “The Decline in Adult Activities Among U.S. Adolescents, 1976–2016,” Generation Z is less likely to drive early, work during high school, date, and drink alcohol. They also go out with their parents much more than past generations, and tend to stay closer to them as they transition toward adulthood.
For this article, I’m going to focus on how teenagers can take control of their upcoming futures, careers, and life. Next week, we will talk about how to market to this growing population.
Design Your Life
As a teenager, you have to learn how to manage and create a life of your own.
Years ago, most teenagers had a default life plan—go to college, land a good paying job, get married and have kids. Today, times are different.
Authority figures, parents, family, and friends have been shaping who you are, not who you can become. They have influenced you in many ways, but now it’s time to create your own path.
Where To Begin
Create a list of the various things you would like to accomplish in your life. Write down at least four primary goals for the year, and try your best to stick with them. Remember that you can change your plan as you move along.
Finish School—The Right School
Today, you have many options when it comes to learning and higher education. Consider all of your options, understand student loans, and don’t be afraid to go to community college or a trade school. There is nothing shameful or wrong with going into a skilled trade. For example, becoming a plumber, electrician, hairstylist, or mechanic is an excellent choice for many young adults. Trade schools can offer unique options for those who do not feel a four-year traditional college is the right path.
In your written plan, make sure to write down a little bit each day, and don’t be afraid to pivot or take a different route.
Master And Build New Skills
Upon completing high school, what skills do you already have, and which do you want to obtain? It can be quite challenging to decide what you want to be when the world is changing so fast, and you haven’t been fully exposed to the workforce outside of school.
Think about some of your top hard and soft skills. Write them down and see how you can apply them to your potential career. Take time and opportunities to intern, learn from others, and shadow various careers.
When you experience different industries in a hands-on environment, you can find it much easier to make a financial sound decision regarding higher education. School will always be there. Taking the time to learn how you feel in different work environments can help you make a wise choice before going into student debt. Once you have an idea regarding potential employment, figure out what certifications or degrees you need to get there, and plan wisely.
Make the time to learn how to network professionally by using sites such as LinkedIn.
Build your critical relationships now, and you’ll have a treasure trove of connections waiting for you once you finish school. Instead of sending out resumes to every company, create contacts with people who work in the industries where you want to go.
You can move further ahead of the crowd if you build out stable business relationships now—not after school. Look for mentors, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and make these precious years for you—as you focus on growth and self-development.
Passion And Hobbies
Set aside time just for you, and work on the things you enjoy the most. Some of these areas can include hobbies such as traveling, drawing, painting, hiking, reading and cooking.
If you can learn to turn your favorite hobby into a career, go for it if you have the financial backing. Now is the time.
Your health is vital to your growth and success in every part of your life. Without it, everything mentioned above won’t matter. Exercise, get enough sleep, eat well, socialize when you can, and talk to someone if you find yourself in a bad place.
Designing your life is much easier when you set out with goals and an open mind. You will have a better sense of your past, and can also start to see a pattern toward where you want to go. Don’t just think about where you want to end up, take action that will help you get there. Don’t focus on your failures, as they are all learning experiences. As a teenager, ensure to design your life on your terms with solid guidance.
Remember, this your time.