Can you "sell" your career choice to a high school student?

Mar 19, 2013

My daughter's high school offers short 20 minute lunchtime learning sessions on various career choices, ideally with an emphasis on STEM options. 

While I love the idea, I know that my daughter and her crew think that these sessions are "lame" and they don't typically attend. I want to show them that not all people over 25 are lame and we actually have decent things to say and gosh, we might even have some personality left. : )

I plan on covering the basics - what is an ID? how did I get into it? why do I love it and think it is the best job around? how to get involved? etc.

Right now, I need to come up with a Twitter type title for my session, along with a quick description that the coordinator will use to drum up students to sign up for the session. Of course, I am drawing a blank with coming up with something quick and witty. I figured that I would ask the most creative group of people that I know if they have ideas.

So -- any ideas for a session title?? Thanks for helping!!!

12 Replies
Daniel Brigham

Hey, Wendy: My inclination would be to accept their perception of my lameness. Use it to my advantage to create surprise. 

Because I'm sarcastic, I might title it something like, "You're totally right: what I do is lame." Then maybe create something interesting out of the acronym. Learning....   Artistry....

Not a great idea perhaps, but an idea nonetheless and might get others thinking.

Marcia Marcia

A few ideas for a title, in no particular order:

Mix Teaching and Technology

Help people do their jobs better

I see, I do, I can, and you can too

Do you have common sense mixed with interest in technology?

Make money helping others do their jobs better

Make money while having fun with technology

Make more money than your parent

Money and technology fun--a dream career

Are you the teacher-type with a little techno mixed in?

Probelm Solvers--do I have the career for you

Bruce Graham


With the greatest of respect, I would suggest that a high-school student gets a few years of "generalist" business/HR/training experience before considering ID as a career.

I so not think it is a "first career" choice - there are too many skills required, and those are skills that only come with some hard knocks in the business world. Many areas will give you grounding, however, I so not believe you can do it (well) without a basic grounding first.

Just my 2p worth.


Laura Winkelspecht

Gotta love Jelly Vision Lab. They're so creative. I always think that the great thing about ID is you can focus on just about anything, so how about something like Instructional Design: The Everything-but-the-Kitchen-Sink Career? or maybe Instructional Design: License to be Curious or Get Paid to Ask Questions.

During the session, I'd want to show them some cool elearning examples and maybe a peek under the hood. Also talk about the kinds of companies that hire IDs and the opportunities to freelance once you've learned your craft.

Bruce Graham

Sorry to be a bore - but this thread seems to be still concentrating on the "ID" side.

Does no-one else think that there are some pre-requisites in terms of business experience that need to come first - especially when "selling" to this age-range?

Surely it's a bit like telling people they can be President without a few years of being a Governor first, just to get a few years of job-relevant experience in first? Certainly - I would never recommend (or hire) someone as an ID like this.


Laura Winkelspecht

Bruce, I see your point. Business experience has definitely made me a better instructional designer. But it's also important to let kids know what the possibilities are. I actually turned down a technical writer intership in college because I thought it would be boring. Little did I know.  Five years later, that's the job I was doing and liking. If only I had known how interesting writing instructional materials could be, I might have floundered a little less early on in jobs I disliked and been able to set a more direct course to a fulfilling career.  To your point, including things like what skills are needed and examples of different career paths should definitely be a part of Wendy's discussion.

Bruce Graham


I think the real issue here is to get kids/high-schoolers etc. to understand that there IS a path required sometimes.

In a world of instant gratification, the idea of an "apprenticeship" is odious to some.

I just did not like the idea that ID was a career choice in its own right - but a career direction based (IMHO) on pre-requisite experience from a variety of other career choices.


PS - thanks to Nancy Woinoski for the word "odious", my word of the day

Phil Mayor

I would agree with Bruce here, most ID I meet have come in with other experiences not straight from school/college.

I spent 5 years as a trainer, before moving into this career without that experience and knowledge of educational theory I would not be able to do this job.

I love my job, I just cannot see this as a first career choice 

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