The Decade After High School: A Parent’s Guide

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This booklet is for parents; written to give you hope and guidance, offers practical suggestions for constructive roles you can play, activities you can undertake, and resources you can use as you help your children make informed, personally satisfying career decisions.

82 in stock

SKU: 978-0-9687840-6-8 Category: Tags: , , ,


Authors: Cathy Campbell, Michael Ungar, Peggy Dutton
Publisher: CERIC (Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling)

The transition from high school into educational and occupational pathways is a bewildering process for many young people and their parents. From the time they start kindergarten to the day they graduate from high school, most youth travel down a relatively straightforward path. They proceed systematically from one grade to another. Everyone their age is doing pretty much what they are doing school-wise, and career decisions are something for the distant future.

This guide offers a glimpse into the world of today’s emerging adult. It describes the multiplicity of pathways that youth follow when training for and finding their way in a labour market that is vastly different from when we were starting out. This booklet is for parents; written to give you hope and guidance, offers practical suggestions for constructive roles you can play, activities you can undertake, and resources you can use as you help your children make informed, personally satisfying career decisions.

” I have read the  The Decade After High School and I think it is superb!  I think it really captures the pathways youth are following in attaining their careers today.  I have started to include the “types” in my presentations to high school students as a way of re-enforcing the importance  of examining self and doing adequate research. Both guides (Professional’s and Parent’s) are excellent and would be of benefit for anyone working with youth or parents.”
– Don Stewart, High School Partnership Co-ordinator, Department of Recruitment & Student Life,  NAIT (Northern Alberta Institute of Technology)


Read the Review by Carole MacFarlane

The Decade After High School: A Parent’s Guide

Due to complexities facing parents with how to help their children make career choices in the 21st century, it cannot be assumed that they are aware of all the relevant knowledge and career information available. The Decade After High School A Parent’s Guide by Cathy Campbell, Michael Unger and Peggy Dutton is a unique publication as it provides first hand and current information gleaned from combining research and information acquired from interviewing groups of youth ages 23  30 from several Canadian communities.

The introduction sets the scene by explaining some of the complexities and reasons why young people may follow a complex and sometimes unpredictable and circuitous transition into post-secondary education and the workforce. Many parents watch, worry and feel helpless as their children make what in many parents’ eyes “used to be” a linear transition to a reasonably secure future as opposed to what is now more like roller coaster ride through a maze of post-secondary options and current labour market information.

Many young people either often do not have plans when leaving high school or experience changed plans as time, personal growth and experience intervene. Campbell, Unger and Dutton explain that young people are facing a completely changed world, and career pathways really are different than those available to their parents. They explain that “the only constant in the lives of emerging adults is that their plans keep changing”. A valuable Career Pathways Quiz offers information and Canadian statistics to give parents insight re youth career decision-making.

The authors make the point that no matter what impression youth may give from the outside, most really are trying to figure out where they belong in the whole scheme of the work world. Information gathered enabled the authors to categorize (while also admitting it is difficult to oversimplify complexities of lives) participants into three categories: Navigators, Explorers and Drifters. Regardless of which category a young person was part of in the early 20’s, many reached a point in the late 20’s where they became “Committers” or “Settlers”. Many “Committers” found a place of contentment with a career but it was also acknowledged that the commitment may change and evolve over time. The “Settlers” are in a category which may be only moderately satisfying but necessary due to the person’s life and family responsibilities being paramount. The reality is that there tends to be quite a bit of turbulence in the early years of adulthood and in many cases this turbulence continues until the late-twenties at which point most young adults have some idea of where they are headed.

This publication is invaluable for parents as it describes the forces, including both personal attributes and those forces outside of a young person’s control, that may help or impede his/her progress along a career path  everything, including self awareness, education credentials, exposure to a range of options, financing post-secondary options, the labour market, soliciting guidance and support from others, expectations and messages, and chance events.

Becoming your child’s career guide is a difficult job and this publication offers a variety of suggestions for helping youth in as many ways as you feel competent and comfortable. The resource section of the publication is also invaluable as it includes resources that contain useful information and tools for comparing post-secondary programs, occupational research, and information meeting notes.

In summary, The Decade after High School – A Parent’s Guide is a very readable, informative and well organized publication that is an invaluable resource for any parent who is grappling with how to best help their children with transitions to post-secondary education and/or training or entry level employment.

Carole MacFarlane is currently Career Programs Coordinator for the Vancouver School Board in British Columbia. She began as a classroom-based career preparation teacher in 1985, was a secondary school-based career coordinator from 1995- 2000, and has been in her current position since that time. As Career Programs Coordinator, she is responsible for coordinating Career Preparation Programs, Secondary School Apprenticeship, Career Technical Programs and the provincial Industry Training Authority Accelerated Credentialed Education in Industry Training (ACE IT) Programs in 18 secondary schools. She has been a member of the British Columbia Education Society since 1995, served as a director for Metro West for four years, and is currently treasurer of CES.

Author’s bio CATHY CAMPBELL has been in the education field for over 20 years as a career counsellor, program developer, and program manager. As the former Director of a four-year federal demonstration project in PEI, she oversaw the development of a program of counselling and educational supports for high-risk young adults that effectively facilitated sustainable transitions to the workforce. She is now working as a counsellor with Career and Transitions Services, at the Nova Scotia Community College. In addition to holding a Bachelor of Education in experiential education and a Masters of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University., she has completed a post-graduate internship in career counselling at Dalhousie University. She has presented and published both locally and nationally on the topics of narrative career counseling and on the Parents as Career Coaches program.

MICHAEL UNGAR, Ph.D. is the author of seven books and more than 60 articles and book chapters. His works include Too Safe for their Own Good: How Risk and Responsibility Help Teens Thrive, Playing at Being Bad: The Hidden Resilience of Troubled Teens and Strengths-based Counseling with At-risk Youth. He has practiced for over 25 years as a Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist with children and families in child welfare, mental health, educational and correctional settings. Now a Professor at the School of Social Work, at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, he leads an international team of resilience researchers that spans more than a dozen countries on six continents. In addition to his research and writing interests, Dr. Ungar maintains a small family therapy practice for troubled children, youth and their families. He lives in Halifax with his partner and their two teenaged children.

PEGGY DUTTON is a career development professional at Nova Scotia Community College.

Additional information

Weight 0.239 kg
Dimensions 11 x 8.5 x 1 in


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