The journey metaphor is well trod – but let’s tread it again anyway. After all it’s the perfect metaphor for the career pathway. One step in front of the other. So many directions sign posted, and so many decisions to make.

Unless students have a definite idea of what they want to do with their life after school, it is confusing.

Depending on where they sit, there are either too many career and job options or not enough. There are subject decisions to make, courses to choose, traineeships, apprenticeships or jobs straight from school. There are even entrepreneurial options that will see some as both traveller and cartographer.

Choosing a career is a journey of chance, choices, and a journey of self-discovery.

The beginning of this important journey deserves so much more than a piecemeal approach. Jumping online and completing a career quiz might be a fun diversion and fill in a bit of class time; but it’s hardly the first step towards self-actualisation.

Attending career expos, collecting bags of information and speaking to people who are at the professional coalface gives students a great opportunity to ask questions and explore; but it is just one of the steps towards choice.

Choosing a career must involve the attainment of greater self-knowledge.

Anything less, and we risk sending our students into the working world without a reasonable map. This might be ok for the more adventurous spirit, but for others it can be a frustrating journey of dead-ends, and wrong directions.

To further stretch the journey metaphor (apologies in advance), choosing a career should follow a personal travelogue of exploration and the unexpected.

Paving the way towards their best working life should involve so much more than ticking subject boxes and ATAR dreaming. Students need to understand themselves as they set off in the direction of a rewarding work life future.

Exploring the VITALS

Careers Counsellor and psychologist Meg Selig encourages young people to explore and understand their VITALS when it comes to making career choices.

The VALUES that are the guides and motivators towards their goals; the INTERESTS that bring colour to their life; their TEMPERAMENT in order to understand a work life that will not stifle them; the around the clock ACTIVITIES that sync with their lifestyle and energy; a LIFE MISSION to uncover the clues to career satisfaction, and STRENGTHS, not only skills and talents, but also character strengths.

Choosing a career is a journey that deserves more than a cursory nod

Educators and parents must band together to help young Australians on this journey in a way that helps them to understand themselves, and therefore understand the best road to take.

Done properly it’s a journey of …

Encouragement – that allows students to develop the life skills and practical skills to make positive choices.

Discovery – of what they are capable of and the wonderful directions this may take them.

Insight – into what it is to be an active, informed and productive workplace participant.

Motivation – that inspires them to set goals and explore opportunities.

Expression – that gives them the freedom to express who they are so that they can live, work and thrive.

For many years now Work-Ready has been providing classroom resources to help educators and parents to signpost the career pathway in just this way. Our series of Work-Ready workbooks have been developed to help young Australians individually navigate their first steps towards self-knowledge, resilience and their best working life.

If you haven’t already, take a look, and consider them for the students in your careers and work education classrooms. They’re also great for pastoral care lessons!

You can view the pages on the links below.

Work It Out  

Helps students to understand their skills, attitudes and values. Activities allow them to identify their interests, navigate pathways and create work and career opportunities.

My Work Experience

By researching a job and creating a workplace avatar, this virtual work experience workbook is the ideal place for students to gain insight into being an active, informed and productive workplace participant. 

My Business Plan

Helps students to explore the viability of any business idea and guides them through the process of creating a comprehensive and well-structured business plan that will give their business idea scope for growth.


My Ideal Working Life

Exploring a career to suit lifestyle, interests and values. Live, work and thrive!

Working With Money

A practical guide to making better money decisions and positive life choices.