Barbie the Computer Geek

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When the people over at Barbie emailed me about their “I Can Be” campaign, I wasn’t planning on blogging about voting for Barbie’s next career. After all, this is a manly dad blog, not a girly mom blog. Plus I already blogged about how I was magically changed into a Barbie girl and I really didn’t want to write any more about Barbie.

Barbie - career and jobs

Then I noticed one of Barbie’s job choice is computer engineer. Guess what? I have a degree in computer engineering. However, if I had to do it all over again, I would have gotten a degree in computer programming instead. In general, the hardware side pays better, but I think the software side is more interesting (think apps). And this brings up the the real topic of this blog post, how do you help your kids decide what their career should be?

My parents were not exactly helpful when I was deciding what I wanted to be when I grew up. My mom was a seamstress and my dad was a cook. They had no career advice for me. OK, there was that one time my dad thought I should follow in his footsteps and become a cook at a Chinese restaurant. That shows how little my dad knew me because I can’t cook. Not back then, not now. No one in their right mind would ever pay me to cook them a meal from scratch. And why would I want to work 60 hours a week for $12,000 a year?

Back in high school, I had no idea what engineers did. But that’s what most of my friends wanted to be, so I chose engineering too. Wrong move on my part. I found most of my engineering courses boring and it was reflected in my grades, but I was too proud to change major. I should have explored what I wanted to be instead of what my friends wanted to be (it’s a good thing they didn’t want to be male strippers).

My oldest child is only nine, but I hope when the time comes, I’ll be able to help guide my kids instead of letting them blindly follow their friends. So, what career advice would you give your children?

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22 thoughts on “Barbie the Computer Geek

  1. I really like this blog topic!
    With Teenager being in high school, his career choices need to be made now. He is very interested in automotive design and engineering. I always say if you choose a profession you love and are passionate about, you will never “have to go to work” a day in your life. So I guess ask her what she is interested in and guide her from there.

  2. Yeah, but imagine if they had wanted to be a male stripper. Imagine what your blog would look like then :P I think that I would encourage my girls to go after their passion. Lawyer, Artist, Stripper…I don’t care as long as they love it. My husband just screamed no to stripper over my shoulder. However, he desn’t want the girls to live in a dorm in college because of S.E.X. Dads …sheesh. LOL

  3. I hear you on apps and software. That’s hubby’s specialty and he loves it. I love it too because I know I can always ask him if there’s a faster, better way to do something automatically and not only can he tell me, he can provide me something to do it! :) I always thought I’d be a teacher. I have a license for cosmetology which I still do some of out of my home. I did a few years of college but didn’t finish anything. Then I thought nursing, now I’m thinking IF I went back for something it would be a law degree. Nothing like continued indecisiveness eh? :)

    Hugs,
    Holly

  4. Hubby has multiple degrees and is now a software engineer. They make a great living, but they are prepared to job hop every few years because of the cyclical nature of the various industries. He’s worked automotive, industrial controls, commercial aviation, and is now in defense. He loves his work, and he makes a high salary, but most importantly, his current employer has wonderful health care benefits – yippee!

    I really want my kids to understand that they need to be happy with their choices first, and then the money, if they are passionate enough, will either come or it won’t. I also want them to know that whatever they choose to do does not mean they need to be locked in that for a lifetime. It’s extremely rare that anyone stays with one employer and/or in the same type of position for a lifetime.

    Additionally, we have to realize that our kids are being educated in an archaic system that is not preparing them for jobs in a world where we don’t know what will be the important ones. We have no idea what careers or jobs will be available to our kids in the future.

    I feel pretty strongly that the best thing we can do to prepare our kids for the future is to instill in them the ability to solve problems creatively, to communicate clearly and effectively, and to use technology to their greatest advantage. They need to learn how to THINK for themselves.

  5. I am really stern with my kids about making the most out of their education. When I was a kid it seemed all the experts were telling parents to just be ultra supportive no matter what. While I want to be supportive, I also want to be realistic. I had a double major in History and Spanish, neither of which were any help to me in the real world. I could have learned Spanish on my own. I should have studied Engineering (which is what I always wanted to do anyway), but I didn’t because I took the easier rout. Instead of telling me not to be a lazy ass, my parents were completely laid back about it and allowed me to choose subjects that had no real world application. I would have appreciated a little more guidance.

    So, that’s what I want to give my kids. I stress scientific study with them. My oldest says he wants to be a Tennis Player. That’s fine; I’ll even support that dream in the form of lessons and I’ll drive him all over to make it happen. However, he also has to have some brains. My littlest wants to be a business owner; he wants to own a bakery. I think that’s awesome, because that’s a usefull skill. To be a baker and to know about business is a really good thing.

    Anyway, as long as they know that nothing comes easy, and they continue to work hard for what they really want, I’ll be supportive of them. Ahhhh, I got it off my chest! :-) Feels so much better!

  6. I’m so glad I don’t have children…lol. I would lock em up, and never let em date with all the issues I’ve had with men…argh!

  7. Sigh, I made the wrong choice going into college, too. I thought I was meant to be a teacher, and now 6 years (and 20,000 in debt) later, I do not enjoy my job. I wish I had had some time to think about it before I was rushed into college and choosing a major. Just let your daughter know that you support her in whatever she chooses, mistakes included! ;)

  8. nice post, i think a lot of people look back and would’ve liked to have pursued another field…so it is important that parents talk about this with their kids, although sometimes we have to learn from our mistakes…

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