As we close out the first half of 2012 with (very much) the same dilapidated job market, the terrifying reality that most of us will be without some of the sweetest pleasures, joys, and necessities in/of life hovers over us like a storm shadow. And, as we look back and see how, why, when, and where things went terribly wrong, we want more than ever to make things right again. This is even more so for those trying to raise a family. No one would ever want to see their children without anything and everything that makes life enjoyable. Furthermore, every parent that would like to make the burdens, trials, and tribulations of life simpler and easier to handle wants to ensure that their children will never feel the same pain, stress, anger, and frustration that some of us are dealing with as parents. We often try to offer solutions to those “Life Challenges” by offering the blueprint for success that many of our parents and grandparents gave to us throughout the 50′s, 60′s, 70′s, and 80′s. The mathematical formulas have not changed in nearly sixty years. The primary numbers, expressions, and methods for solving the complex (or not so complex) equations are still the same. Graduate high school. Go to college. Obtain your degree. Find/Get a job. The final step is the one that needs to be looked at again. “Find/Get a job”. This is what we have been accustomed to hearing and repeating from one generation to the next. We have never gotten beyond the point of “Find/Get a job”. In fact, that’s what most of us have built a career on. Or, perhaps worse than that, this is the title of our profession as we are unemployed/under employed trying to “Find/Get a job”. Since the housing crisis and (the now) dark days of high unemployment due to the recession, many of us have lost our jobs and still try to use the blueprint to get back what we once had. The problem with this is that what we once had is no longer good enough. Moreover, we offer our children the blueprint expecting them to follow it detail for detail, step by step without any changes to it; thus producing the very same results and situations many of us are trying to overcome. Today’s problems often times requires today’s solutions. For some of us, these solutions are not new, while for others they are completely unheard of and/or unfathomable, unsafe due to fear of the unknown.
People today are still (heavily) relying on a bachelor’s degree to do everything that they want (it) to do. The truth is a bachelor’s degree now is almost equivalent to what an associate degree was back in 1985. It’ll get you an ok salary for the time being, but for the one trying to raise a family, it’ll barely meet your needs. A master’s degree is far more attractive for employers along with one or two certifications that are related to the line of work one is seeking. Moreover, humanitarian/charitable work abroad is also attractive and desirable as it gives some insight into a perspective employee’s passion, interest, personality and character. It may also demonstrate a willingness to leave one’s comfort zone of home to achieve both personal and career goals by adding life experiences. This can translate into a drive for endeavors and/or initiatives not traditionally associated with the traditional, professional (career) ambitions and/or normal career path expectations for growth/promotions in one’s career field. These things can be valuable assets for an employee to showcase his/her talents by using many unique options/opportunities to utilize one’s unconventional style, skill, wisdom by achieving success in a(n) unconventional fashion. These are indeed just a few of the things that employers are looking for/at that many of us (unfortunately) still aren’t realizing. Furthermore, many of our children/teens will be lost once they graduate from high school because our mentality and influences have not changed since we entered the workforce many, many years ago. When they look to us for guidance on how to pursue their ambitions in life, to which many of them are similar to our own, we simply give them the old blueprint from what has been passed down from generation to generation. We are merely teaching them to “Find/Get A Job” rather than how to find, create, and/or build a career. This most certainly is not an easy thing to do. We must teach our children/teens the basics, which the blueprint for (career) success most certainly offers. However, the blueprint for the much desired career success has changed, therefore we must change also. If graduation from high school is indeed the starting point, we must begin to prep and train them before starting high school. Middle school years are extremely important for building the foundation to further academic success, as well as to seriously begin selecting a career path of interest. Once they enter high school, the first two years should be/are designed to help them decide on a career choice, then develop their raw talents and skills so that they have a solid structure to build upon. This is usually the more traditional method of how high schools prepare students. However, during their sophomore year, there needs to be more emphasis on making sure that students understand the reality of continuing their education both formally and informally, traditionally and non-traditionally. We often rely solely on our adult experiences and the “go to school and get your degree” message we send to children as being enough motivation and/or advisement for them to do well. When in fact, that is nowhere near what they’ll need to succeed in college and after they graduate with their degree. Students need to be aware and mentally prepared to obtain their degree and willing, able to pursue another (not long after obtaining their first). Although graduating from college is the goal, it does not signal the end of one’s journey towards success. After graduating from college and obatining a job, one must not allow themselves to get too comfortable with this new adult success. Greater success is obtainable and should be pursued. One cannot allow themselves to become stale or complacent, therefore it is a must that an individual seeks out ways to improve themselves by adding to their repertoire of talents and skills at least every two years. This message hits some at first, while with others it takes years of under employment, under achievement, and/or complacency. This is a harsh reality that we don’t want our children/teens to face, but they need to see and understand the severity of such. While there are clues in the bitterness from adults that have settled for under employment, under achievment, and/or complacency in their jobs long ago, that children/teens may come in contact with each day, that evidence falls far from being sufficient.
As mentioned before, long gone are the days where one can earn a decent living with just a bachelor’s degree under their belt. A master’s degree is highly prefered, if not a must to even receive a phone interview. If one is not able to pursue the much desired masters degree, certification in a particular field indeed is one of the best alternatives next to humanitarian work abroad. Both are extremely marketable, and one may also continue to build upon their qualifications and credentials by doing more humanitarian work abroad, and by obtaining more than one certification. The other incentive in adding working abroad and certification(s) for more depth to one’s resume and experiences is that these things are sometimes a fraction of the tuition that a master’s degree program will cost. Children/Teens need to expand their thinking by expanding their options for career growth as a professional, not just simply one looking to obtain a job. The mentality behind this gives many nothing to look forward to after getting the job other than to look for another job (offering the same level of work, with very little to no chance for professional growth, with the same stagnant salary structure). Children/Teens may also move light years past their peers by seeking out ventures through education enrichment and initiatives that continue to spark their interests, and becoming better at utilizing their talents. The story of Caine Monroe is proof of that. His third grade imagination ran wild as he built a video game arcade in the back of his father’s auto part store out of card board and other household resources/ materials. Independent fimmaker Nirvan Mullick was so moved, so impressed by the story of the artistry and talent of Caine, he produced a small film that instantly went viral. The next day, Caine had crowds of people wanting to see and play in his arcade. Mullick saw no reason why this talent(s) should not allow him to go farther, so he started a college fund to ensure that Caine could explore even more career paths/options and continue to develop his talents by making sure he’d be able to attend college. This exposure will only continue to provide many opportunities for Caine to meet and potentially work with others that have the same talent, vision, and passion that he shares. This has indeed set him up for a very promising future.
Another story of a promising future is when Catherine and David Cook quietly became multimillionaires while graduating from college. The siblings were new to Montgomery High School in Skillman, New Jersey, looking for ways to make friends back in 2005. While flipping through their old yearbook one night, they discovered that by using their yearbook online they could connect with people. This resulted in them building a website for a digital yearbook where people could sign and exchange/send photos. They then launched products around the theme of their social network site, myYearbook.com. Their older brother Geoff, who was recently a graduate from Harvard, foot the bill for the site to operate. This caught the attention of Quepasa Corp., which owns and operates QuePasa.com. The corporation bought myYearbook.com for $100 million dollars last year around this same time. “We believe myYearbook.com’s proven track record in monetization and engagement will fuel significant growth”, says John Abbott CEO of QuePasa.com. While David Cook finishes his studies at the University of Colorado, Geoff Cook is COO of the joint companies, and Catherine remains co-founder. The two companies combined will have more than 70 million registered users.
These are true stories of inspiration that children/teens (as well as adults) need to pay close attention to and follow. Children/Teens should be made aware that everyday, normal students very much like themselves are doing things right now to ensure that they will have a very bright future and enjoy the quality of life that they want. They should also be made aware of the many dangers as well. Although these stories are good, they may quickly turn ugly due to the greed and envy that naturally (but unfortunately) comes with success. Moreover, they should also realize that not all great intentions, efforts, expectations, and actions produce similar results as the ones mentioned above. There is the reality that their dreams will not come to fruition. However, this does not guarantee that their efforts, talents, and skills will be in vain or go unrecognized. They may still be able to capitalize upon what they have to offer.
Life and success operate very much the same way. They will only become what you make them.