Career Dilemma of the High School Grad Class of 1996
by Dr. Tina Rochford
Family Matters, Vernon Morning Star

The High School graduating class of 1996 find themselves facing a far different world than that encountered by their parents who finished high school in the 1960's or 1970's. Gone are the days of the obligatory hitchhiking trip to Europe and the seemingly endless array of well-paying jobs for summer vacation or part-time work during the school year. For those who are not university-bound, the traditional well-paying, secure jobs in the resource sector, which may have provided employment for their parents, are disappearing. After the graduation ceremonies, dances and parties have died down, these students will be left with their anxiety concerning how best to find their unique place in the new economy.

What is the economy that we here so much about?

Studies show that today's high school students are very concerned about their future, particularly money and employment prospects.

A curious exception to these worried young people are the teenage girls who still believe in the myth of the "knight in shining armor" who will take care of them. This fantasy persists, in spite of a divorce rate approaching 50% and the fact that many of these girls have themselves experienced divorce within their own families. Education is badly needed in order to equip these young women with the tools to take care of themselves.

Today's students must have a good understanding of their own abilities, interests, values and personalities in order to make informed choices concerning their respective futures. They need to be flexible as futurists tell us that the average person will experience at least four major career shifts in their working lives. Many will have to create their own employment from a patchwork of short-term, part-time or seasonal contracts.

The ability to understand oneself, the world of work and to cope with change will be essential in order to not just survive, but thrive in the new marketplace.

Dr. Rochford Davidson, a high school graduate of the 1970's, who has herself experienced some of the upheavals facing the graduates of the 1990's, is offering a vocational counselling package, consisting of vocational testing, a counselling and interpretation session and a printed summary of the results, to assist high school graduates in making the very best decisions for themselves. A vocational counsellor with fifteen years experience in agency, college and private practice settings, she can be reached at 542-0660 in her Vernon offices.

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