A Career Path Idea

Recent years have seen far too many college grads working as baristas or retail clerks because they can’t find work in their majors. The idea that you must go to college has finally been turned on its ear. It’s time for parents to point their teens in other directions.

Here’s a transcript of a speech given to teens by a mechanic. It’s quite interesting, and well worth your time, especially if any of your kids are good with their hands.

Helping Our Kids Find a Career

A recent article I read about a 13-year-old boy who wants to be a chef when he grows up included a comment that jumped out at me:

This young cook plans to attend culinary school and one day would like to teach cooking classes or own his own restaurant.

“I think I could be a chef anywhere. I like working with my hands and always being in the game and not sitting in an office all day,” Steven said. “So I think that may be a job for me.”

He’s a smart kid. He knows he wouldn’t be happy sitting at a desk all day. I wish I’d been that smart at his age (or even when I was a little older). Once I graduated from college, I worked at a couple of “desk jobs” and found that I was miserable. Even though I was trained (via many years of formal education) to sit at a desk all day, that didn’t make me like it.

Most homeschooled kids don’t have to sit at a desk all day. My kids didn’t. They had a few hours of daily bookwork, but once that was finished, they had freedom to pursue their own interests. And now that they’re all grown, I can see by the jobs they choose that they, too, clearly have no interest in sitting at a desk all day. My eldest has two online businesses supplemented by a part-time job working in a warehouse store. My son is a manager for a publishing company, which requires a lot of business travel. And my younger daughter works for the police department writing parking tickets while she works her way up to becoming a full-time officer (she was one of the few women to pass the physical agility test recently, woohoo!)

Now that it’s so hard for young people to find good jobs, it’s more important than ever that they pursue the kinds of careers that are a good fit for their personalities and experience, because once they get a job, they’ll need to hang on to it. Homeschooled kids who are accustomed to freedom may have a difficult time sitting at a desk, computer or phone all day. They might be better suited to active work or even outdoors work.

As parents, we can’t force them to come up with a career plan, nor can we make them do what we want (my dad still thinks I should have majored in accounting, but I’m so glad I didn’t!) But we can encourage them to pursue their interests, provide the tools they need to pick up a skill they want, and share helpful information whenever we happen to find it. By supporting them in this way, they’ll have a better shot at finding the work that’s right for them (even if they want to do something that requires sitting at a desk all day!)

Beware of College, Post #2

Colleges and universities are more than willing to take your money in order to prepare your child for a career in which he probably won’t be able to find a job.

This article made me so sad because I was once a journalism student. While I don’t believe I was as idealistic as some of the students quoted, I enjoyed every bit of my journalism education, and looked forward to a career in journalism. A lousy economy at the time of my graduation ruined that dream for me back then.

Today, these kids are graduating into a lousy economy and a deteriorating journalism scene (note some of the comments after the article from recent journalism grads who can’t find work). The rise of the Internet and the clear bias of American media have resulted in newspapers dropping like flies. Yes, there are far more writing opportunities online than in print, but they pay less, too. It’s much harder to make a living as a journalist now than it was nearly 30 years ago when I graduated during the Carter years.

Yet the professors quoted in the article let the students believe that “it’s all going to be ok” when they surely know better. Gotta keep those paychecks coming in, I guess. (Same reason so many colleges and universities inflate grades these days, but I digress…..)

The moral of this story? Just because a college offers a specific major does not mean your child will be able to find work after obtaining that degree. Help your child make a wise career choice. Check out specific careers and their predicted futures at www.bls.gov. Most of all, don’t believe the hype of colleges that need to keep a certain number of warm bodies coming through their departments in order to maintain their own employment.

Next up: Many college administrators believe that stopping alcohol and drug abuse is the responsibility of the student, not the college.