From Blaise Pascal, an influential thinker of the 17th century to Enrico Fermi, a physicist who created a nuclear reactor, gifted children have become some of the greatest accomplishers in history.
High IQ or gifted individuals are not always typically attracted to intellectual vocations only. You may also find actors, rappers, boxers, and criminals in the list of worldwide prominent members of Mensa among scientists and writers. Although the Australian Mensa members’ list confirms that engineers, accountants, and researchers are more common professions among their members, less common careers are also represented. Among their members are potters, a special effects makeup artist, a cartoonist, yoga teacher and a train driver.
Aiming for the stars
Undoubtedly gifted students have better job prospects. Gifted children who grade-skip perform better than other students who are similarly able across metrics such as school satisfaction, grade point average, success on exams, education level attained, innovations made and honours received. Although grade skipper gifted children are more likely to get higher paid jobs with more prestige and higher satisfaction than the non-grade-skippers, the personality of the individual plays a crucial role.
The lottery of life
Sometimes high IQ and strong motivation to learn are not enough for job prospects. Life can sometimes be unfair and throw curveballs at you.
The Mensa State Secretary in Western Australia, Tereen Hough wanted to be an astronaut when she was growing up. After finishing school in Perth she left and moved to the USA where she studies physics and maths at a college. However, her dreams were shattered when she met with a car crash and suffered a head injury. There was a rule that if you have sustained head injuries and lost consciousness, you cannot pass a flight physical. When her hopes were dashed to the soil, she re-evaluated her life and realised that what others think does not matter and she learned lessons with her life experiences. Then she went on to become a flight attendant which surprised many.
After this incident, Hough went back to the university to study nursing.
Obstacles and opportunities
Gifted children need appropriate guidance and support during their education in order to flourish. Without it, children may lose their path and develop a fear of failure which carries with them to colleges and jobs. These need to be resolved to maximise their talent.
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