Submitted by Laurel, a mother of two

As my older daughter was in high school and exploring further education, careers, college options I began to wonder how to identify careers, options, paths to their goals, for both my kids.  We had been watching the television series “Bones”.  While the series is basically a crime solving drama series, I realized there is quite a variety in the characters jobs and paths to their current position.  As you go along in the series you learn the back story of most of the lead characters, their educational path, and their prior careers and for some the struggles they had to or still have to overcome to get to their current position and situation.

The main character, Dr. Temperance Brennan, is a forensic anthropologist. She works with the FBI along with a team of others through an institution obviously based on the Smithsonian.  One night, several years ago, I asked both my children – of all the characters on the show which ones job appealed to them the most.  Among the major and minor characters’ were:  FBI agents, a physiologist, an artist, a computer programmer/technician, lawyers, a district attorney, student interns, museum managers and curators, musicians, medical examiner, botanist, entomologist, and more.

My son, who was about 10 years old at the time, picked the FBI agent and my daughter, 15 picked the medical examiner.   I said, okay, how did these two get to where they are now, what choices they made for education or what careers did they have before they were in this job on the show.  We knew the FBI agent had been a Ranger in the Army, and we knew the medical examiner had practiced as a medical doctor at some point in her prior.  I asked them what appealed to them about these careers, jobs, why did they pick that character over the others.

It became a launching point to explore careers, their thoughts about education, where job and life experience to take them, whether someone can change careers and see other paths.

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