Career Influences – YSA Youth Success Academy

In a career you’ll likely go through two big stages: being a student and being a professional. Going to school is mandatory up to high school (at least in North America). However, once you’re done high school, you could continue your education or you could choose to enter the workforce directly. If you entered the workforce, you would get a job or go down an entrepreneurial path to start something on your own. 

The more typical path is to continue into post-secondary education and get a college or university degree. Some folks might do apprenticeships however those are mostly limited to trades like plumbing, becoming an electrician or construction. 

Once you’re done with your college or university program, you could again choose to further your education into grad school with a masters degree or potentially even further to a PhD. 

Most will head out into the workforce. Sometimes in their area of study or sometimes on a totally different trajectory. 

Then in the workforce, you may stay in your role, climb up the “corporate ladder” to higher positions or transfer into other jobs. You might actually decide to go back into school to the undergrad level or perhaps furthering your education with a masters degree or PhD as well. Some hop back-and-forth between school and work. Though statistically, most go into the workforce. 

I tend to get a lot of inquiries from international students who have their own challenges to deal with. Some are in school for their undergrad. Some are experienced professionals that decided to take the academic route to increase their chances of getting a PR (Permanent Residence)  later on. While these tend to have the same challenges as domestic students, the might have different challenges like improving their English and understanding cultural norms and such.

Some are experienced professionals that were able to get a PR directly. Thus, they bypass the student challenges and have different challenges when looking to secure work and maneuver in the job market.

At the end of the day, starting work is a major career milestone irrespective of how you go there.

FOCUS areas


While in the workforce, you could have several focus areas:

  • Job seeking: actively seeking a job whether You are unemployed or not. 
    • You should have a well-written resume and cover letter. Your LinkedIn profile should be updated
    • You should be practising interview questions so that you can taste them
    • You should be improving your network and building meaningful connections
    • If you decide to go the entrepreneurship route then building your business will likely be as challenging as job seeking. The highs and the lows should be considered and knowing fundamentals like marketing and working “on your business” instead of “in your business”.
  • Growth: improving in your job, potentially going for promotions, looking for other opportunities where you could add more value
    • You should be improving your technical skills to gain more and more mastery of your field of expertise
    • You should also improve your soft skills like leadership, teamwork, organization skills or whatever is relevant for your particular role. 
    • This could also include things like financial planning, managing your health (physical, mental, relationship, etc.)
  • Finding and achieving your purpose: seeking out what you were meant to do in your career
    • You should be doing work that fulfils you, if not in your day job at least after hours and on weekends
    • You should be savouring life or making an impact and potentially moving back and forth between the two. Neither is right or wrong or better than the other. It’s up to you to choose so don’t be worried if others are making different choices. 


Keep in mind that these are not mutually exclusive. You could actually be in all three at the same time (example: someone working who is working towards A promotion but in the meantime they are looking for opportunities in other companies while in the evenings they are self-reflecting and contemplating their purpose). 



There are several milestones that are fairly common within a career that often changes the direction of a career path. There are others and these are the ones that I have found are most common. 

  • Single: This is the default state where your parents might support you throughout college or university. Then you support yourself afterwards. There’s a lot of freedom and flexibility here as you really only have to worry about yourself
  • Partner: Many people decide to find a partner. Be it in a marriage or in some other type of relationship that puts them in a little bit more of a committed position than being single. I’ve heard many people moving geographies as a result of their partner’s dreams or changing their own.
    • This doesn’t mean that finding a partner is a required milestone, just that committing to that partner often necessitates changes
    • Same for splitting up with partners. When divorces happen, careers often take a hit. Sometimes on a downward spiral. Sometimes with a rebound to be even more successful
  • Kids: Whether you’re married or not, when kids enter the picture then career disruption is bound to occur. Not just in the months of parental leave in order to take care of the kids, but also in the change of lifestyle in order to make sure you’re raising them as you see fit. This often means becoming a chauffeur and taking them around to various lessons. Or whatever other commitments you might want. 
    • As the kids become more independent in their teenage years then there is more freedom and potentially another shift in career happens at this point. Without the necessity to fully and completely and hold your child on a daily basis, other career opportunities are possible
    • As the kids become adults and go off to school or do other things to start the cycle on their own, you have even more flexibility and potentially other shifts in your career
    • I’m actually finding that more and more people are looking at the decision to not have kids which is an interesting trend. We’ll see if that continues


There are other milestones that would change the trajectory of someone’s career. However, I don’t find them as common as the ones I mentioned above. 



This is an evolving framework for the YSA so that we can look to focus on the content we provide. We’ll look to provide tailored guidance for each of these areas. Stay tuned for more content!