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It’s every parents dream for their offspring to have a job that they are happy and successful in, whatever that means to them and for teenagers, they want their parents to be proud of their achievements. Having direction avoids the pitfall of feeling like there is no purpose, which causes disengagement from school… and the rest is history! Some make it out unscathed, others muddle along for the rest of their working life.

In our line of work, we identify three key career traps:

  1. The Mates Trap

It’s hard to think that the choices made between the ages of 15-17 can be a huge influence on how the rest of your life plays out. But, it’s true. Birds of a feather flock together and if a group of friends are no longer engaged in school (particularly in Year 13), this brings down the others in the group. This is not to say that that a student with great potential will fail at the hands of a group of friends who aren’t as motivated, but effort and therefore achievement levels decline.

Let’s remember, that we are expecting people that have not reached full maturity to make adult decisions, all of the time.

What is the fix? Ditching lifelong friends for the greater good is not necessarily the answer, we all have different value to add to each other. But, realising that we are all on different paths and if for a very short space in time in life, it might mean that for 6-12 months or more it may mean that going to every party that mates go to, or going to class and producing the results instead of wagging (and carefully analysing what classes you can miss with the least impact) is the sacrifice to be made.

Short term pain, long term gain. Mates wont always think you are a geek. Especially when they see you succeed.

  1. The “Thinking it wont Happen” Trap

When a school life spans over a decade, it is easy to lose sight of the end. But, it will happen. I promise. At the end of the day, you will be kicked out at the end of your Year 13 year and from there on in, it’s on you buddy, you have to play adult!

What will you do? You must have a plan! There are options to consider, but these options should be considered at the very least by the end of term two in Year 13. If you are planning to head into work, have you sourced a job? If you are planning to head into an apprenticeship, have you secured a placement? If you are going to take a Gap Year, for what purpose and what will you achieve? If you are going to study, are you ready to apply, do you meet the criteria?

The ride is almost over, are you ready to disembark?

  1. The Additional Requirements Trap

Cool, you have made up your mind what you want to do when you grow up. Step-one, tick! But, have you done your research and found out what you need to get into the job or study you want to do? For a large proportion of study options the bare minimum of University Entrance just wont do. For some courses of study there are particular subjects that you need to have gained sometimes in excess of 20 NCEA credits in. For some courses of study you must have some form of practical experience to even get a look in. And, for some qualifications, let’s think teaching and social work… that drinking related offence on your record might mean the beginning of the end of the career you had planned.


So, let’s get real. Think about whom you hang out with and what influence they are having on your day-to-day decisions. Realise that the end of school life is near, you must have a plan for it. And do your research, once you have your plan, know the finer details of achieving it.


© Goal Digger Career Solutions Limited 2016