On Harry Potter

"Have You Got What it Takes to Train Security Trolls?"

By Shoshana D. Kerewsky, Psy.D.

Career Counseling at Hogwarts: An Undeveloped Resource

Congratulations! You are the first witch or wizard born to your otherwise-Muggle family. You received your admissions letter from Hogwarts, your parents nervously but gamely took you cauldron shopping in Diagon Alley, and you followed the kids from magical families through the wall to Platform 9¾. Chances are that when you’ve gone home for the holidays, you’ve had a hard time explaining what you’re learning to your proud but clueless parents. When your uncle asks what you’re planning to do with your fancy degree from your expensive, special school, your parents, ignorant of magical careers, might reply, “Oh, there are loads of magical jobs,” or, “Be a magician.” Your unconvinced uncle might mutter something about throwing good money away or talk about how he worked his way from the stockroom to CEO of Grunnings: “And I didn’t need to learn how to pull rabbits out of a hat for that!”

Belatedly, you realize that you don’t really know what you’re going to do for a living. For the last four years you’ve told your parents, “I’m going to be a wizard!” without thinking further about what wizards actually do. You envy your friend Ron Weasley. Born into a magical family, Ron surely knows about magical careers. While Ron, a typical teenager, may not be very interested in career exploration, you don’t even know your choices. Some nights you wake up in a cold sweat, wondering whether, after seven years at Hogwarts, you’ll find yourself at  …

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