Career Advice for My 10-Year-Old
I’ve always believed that it’s important to encourage your children’s interests, though to temper them with a gentle dose of reality. We want our children to dream big, but also to realize that practicality is an important consideration. In this regard, my older son, Ethan, soon to be eleven, has always had a love for animals and recently shared his career plans with me.
Ethan: I think I wanna be an animal breeder when I grow up.
Me: Any particular type of animal?
Ethan: I really like guinea pigs. I’ll need to start out with more females than males.
Me: Well it sounds like our little talk about the birds and the bees took.
Ethan: Yeah. I’ve been doing some research and found out that they can have up to 5 litters
a year and the average litter is around 3 babies. So that’s like fifteen a year.
Me: Might wanna shoot for a dozen. I mean, you don’t want to become a guinea pig mill
Ethan: Yeah, right. And what do you think they sell for, like in the store?
Me: Probably depends, but average around $25-30 in a pet store, I would think.
I can hear the cash register ringing in my son’s head.
Ethan: So I could make like around $300 from each female guinea pig I owned? That’s
Me: Well that’s the retail price. But if you sell them to pet stores, you won’t get half of
that, plus you’ll have to subtract all the money you spend to raise them.
The cash register sounds fade.
Ethan: Or I could sell them on the internet. Like through a website.
Me: How are you going to get them to your customers? Ship them? That would cost
more than your guinea pigs.
Ethan: Or I could deliver them if they’re pretty close.
Me: Sure, gas is cheap.
Ethan: And I’ll probably keep them in a shed, so they don’t mess up my house.
Me: But then you’re going to have to pay to heat and cool the shed. And go open and
close the windows, so they get fresh air and sunlight.
Ethan: (Unenthusiastically) Yeah. Maybe I’ll just keep them in the house. But that’s not
going to be my only job.
Me: So what else do you want to do?
Ethan: I want to be a YouTuber. I’m going to post videos about gaming and animals and
Me: Well that sounds like a pretty good side hustle.
Ethan: And if I don’t make enough money doing that, I’ll get a job in a restaurant too.
Me: Like a cook or a waiter?
Ethan: I was thinking more fast food, like McDonalds. They always have signs saying they
have flexible hours. Plus they give discounts on meals.
Me: Nothing better than half-priced fries. Well that sounds like a full life son.
After all of this, Ethan looks much less enthusiastic than he was when our conversation began, and actually looks a little worried.
Me: Something wrong, buddy?
Ethan: Well the one thing I’m worried about is like, getting married.
Me: (nodding) It can be a bit of a minefield.
Ethan: Like having a family and everything, it seems like a lot of work.
Me: Glad you noticed.
Ethan: So, if I get married and have kids and everything, I don’t know how I’ll do all of the
other things I have to.
Me: That can be a challenge, but I wouldn’t worry about it.
Ethan: Because I’m only ten?
Me: No. Because your house is going to be filled with guinea pigs, and when you’re not
working in a fast food restaurant, you’ll be making YouTube videos about gaming. I
think marriage is pretty much out of the picture for you.
Ethan: (beaming) Really? Thanks Dad.
Me: That’s what I’m here for.