Career Paths - Glen Ellyn Public Library
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Career Paths

Posted: November 23, 2021

By: Tom Malinowski, Middle School Librarian


When is the right age to start looking into careers? The answer is that it is never too early! Many people believe that children should investigate career paths around age five. Wow—it’s definitely possible. There are plenty of picture books and non-fiction books for pre- and early readers that feature careers—in medicine, law enforcement, travel, trades, and food service. As kids get older, they will find more books on careers that are appropriate for their reading level.

Reality shows that feature artistic careers such as The Great British Baking Show (food), Making the Cut (fashion), and The Great Pottery Throwdown (pottery), can provide potential career paths as well. If an interest turns out not to be a career, then maybe it becomes a fun hobby!

The best way to know if you might like a job is to try it, and volunteering is a great opportunity to try things! I thought about going into physical therapy in my early 20s, so I volunteered in the physical therapy department of a hospital. After two weeks I knew it was not for me, but I stayed for a year because I enjoyed helping the physical therapists and patients. What I learned would come in handy when I was an administrative assistant at a physical therapy office years later. It is never wasted time to try something and realize it is not for you. That knowledge is priceless, and you can focus your energy on other avenues. Many careers require a college degree, a trade skill program, related internships, and other educational routes, so research is important. Other ways to explore careers include

  • Through connections in your community—Talk to workers and ask them open-ended questions about their path to their career.
  • By volunteering your time—Learn hands on what you will be doing. Library volunteers are amazing!
  • By listening to suggestions—Ask friends and family what they envision you pursuing. Their suggestions might surprise you.
  • At career fairs—Take advantage of having lots of people in various industries all in one place!
  • At the library—The list below will help you get started.

There is no reason to rush to make the perfect choice—many of us have attempted more than one career. Be kind to yourself and know that career exploration may be a marathon and not a sprint.

Find these books about careers in the Youth Department.