When I grow up I want to be a Pan Am Stewardess…

As I watched the new television show Pan Am the other night, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was easier back then for women. Career choices were limited to primarily nursing, teaching or working as a stewardess. Girls grew up with a short list of professional role models and were mostly encouraged to find a man, get married, and raise a family. Education was important, but the desired outcome was the MRS. degree.

The options for girls today are obviously much greater, and truthfully I wouldn’t want it any other way. Girls today grow up with a vast range of role models that portray women in a multitude of ways, both positive and negative. A girl also looks to her own mother as a role model and often follows a similar path to what she has seen and experienced first hand.

Today’s girls seem to want it all; a career and a family. They may see portrayals of the “super woman” on television shows, movies, reality TV, etc. that do it all. They may see mothers or relatives that precariously balance a career and a family. This type of woman is much different from the Pan Am stewardesses and the rigidity within which they were forced to work and live.

Figuring out which direction to take can be tough for girls in High School, but there is lots of help available. Assessment tools such as the Strong Interest Inventory can help high schoolers understand what their own interests are. This increased self-awareness can be critically helpful in the process of choosing a college, choosing a college major, and eventually, choosing a career.

The tests may in fact uncover a desire to travel and see the world; a career as a flight attendant might just fit the bill! The good news now is that there are tons of options out there for high school girls and boys, and putting in a little work to uncover what would fit best is always a good step to take.

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