“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself… You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.” Khalil Gibran
Cultural norms, traditions, and family expectations have been a driving force on career “choices” of young adults in Jordan. Add to that the associated prestige of each career path and the word “choice” is just a placeholder for a mandatory option youth are forced to take.
The Levant area’s populace has been, and still is, very known for their appreciation of higher education and careers that are linked to titles, such as Dr. and Prof. in specific professions as medicine and engineering for example. One reason for this particular appreciation can be linked to the evolution of the region. The many displacements that have taken place last decade in the area mandated individuals seeking a decent living to pursue career paths that bring in big money and are associated with titles.
However, times have changed – the region, while still affected by numerous conflicts, has become more stable and especially Jordan is prominent for its political stability. Nonetheless, political stability is not congruent with economic solidity, and Jordan among the neighboring countries has its challenges employing its almost 2,420,000 million unemployed population. (DOS, Jordan 2021)
In addition, the job market has drastically changed in the last decade, whereas technology and service-oriented jobs are becoming the go to sector. Many of the career paths within those sectors necessitate technical skills and a vocational background that is not favored by the deep-rooted cultural norm and traditions which still many of our beloved families and communities live by. Prestige, defined as: “respect and admiration given to someone or something, usually because of a reputation for high quality, success, or social influence” (Cambridge Dictionary, n.d.) is another main factor to consider in a cultural context when deciding on a career path. However, looking at the definition given, one should only gain prestige through “high quality”, “success”, and “social influence”, which are the result of HOW you perform your job and not the nature of your job.
Imagine an electrician – holding a qualified certification, equipped with clean and neat tools, using updated technology, finely dressed, applying social-, and work-related etiquette, and arriving on time – this is the true translation of prestige for any given job.
In order to place our youth in current market related job vacancies, we need to re-evaluate our traditions and norms and make sure to be objective when determining the worth of a particular career over the other. We need to progress and become aware that what has worked for us will most probably not work for our children. The poetic interpretation given by Khalil Gibran should always be a reminder on how limited our imagination can be and that the future will always belong to those who have their rightful place in it.
While many of my generation might be living the dream of our parents, I encourage you to let our children live their own dreams and equip them with the necessary knowledge and tools to achieve that.
“Careers of Gold” Association is the main catalyst in Jordan matching market needs and vocational qualifications in our youth and emphasizing that prestige is the result of how we perform. We invite you to become part of elevating the Jordanian vocational sector through our many initiatives.