This article examines how the five W’s (who, what, where, when and why) can give a person direction and meaning to their careers. It also explores how lives tend to be broken into two stages. For men, it is usually focused on a steady climb for success, fame and power followed by a dedication to service to others. For women, however, the opposite seems to be the case, where service to others comes first, followed by a desire to prioritize their own voices and ambitions.

Getting Started

Introduction to the article (perhaps by having everyone read it)

Finding a career path can be a daunting and worrisome experience. What we choose is obviously life-altering as it affects where we live, what we do, when we do it and with whom. Also, it challenges us to ask why. By considering these five W’s, people beginning their careers can provide some focus and direction to this task. As our world changes either through societal value shifts or externally imposed challenges such as the pandemic currently facing the world, individuals reassess their roles. The five W’s can continue to provide valuable direction as they focus on facts which help in decision-making. This lesson will have the students explore the value of the five W’s when making career choices and then apply them to their own personal goals and ambitions.

Subject Area(s) covered

Careers, business studies, man in society, entrepreneurship

New Terms to explain

The five W’s

Materials Needed

  • Access to the article for the students.
  • The ability to pair up with another student for various parts of the lesson.
Study and Discussion Activity

Key things students can learn from this lesson

The students can learn to appreciate the need to consider carefully career choices because of the impact that choice has on their lives. They also can develop an appreciation for the importance of considering the five W’s as they make those life-shaping decisions.

Action (here’s how we’ll do it)

  • Begin by partnering up the students. (They will interact with their partner at various stages of the lesson.)
  • Have the students individually answer the following questions:
    • Have you given any thought to what career choice you might make?
    • Why or why not?
    • Have you found – or do you believe you will find – that this is a tough decision to make?
    • What kind of help could you get in making this decision?
  • Once they have answered the questions, have them share their answers with their partner.
  • With this completed, instruct them to read the article and then discuss with their partner whether or not they believe that the five W’s will be of help when making career decisions.

Consolidation of Learning

  • Have them apply the W’s to their personal decision-making and report back to their partner the degree to which that process was of assistance.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria

  • The students will demonstrate an appreciation for how the application of the five W’s assists in the career decision-making process.
  • The students will be able to explain, with rationale, whether or not they believe that the reversal of the five W’s for men and women is still valid.

Confirming Activities

  • With the conversation concerning the value of the five W’s completed, have the partners discuss whether or not they agree with the contention in the article that the W’s tend to be reversed for men and women.
  • Conclude the lesson by having the pairs explain their reasoning and examine the degree to which societal changes have brought about such role modifications for women that the variance of the W’s no longer applies.

Helpful Internet Searches

Activities to do together

  • Examination of various careers to see the degree to which they match the responses given to the Five W’s.
  • Explore the degree to which the changing role of women is evident in today’s society.