Editorials by Robert Kirwan
Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?
do you want to be when you grow up?”
is the million dollar question that has been asked to young people since
the beginning of time. In “the old days” – when I was growing up –
the answer was fairly obvious for most of us. It was considered your
personal responsibility to find a good job so that you could earn enough
money to support yourself, your family and to help you enjoy your leisure
time. You were more concerned about decent pay, adequate benefits and
providing for retirement than you were about “finding your place in
society”. You learned to be satisfied with the work you were able to
obtain, rather worry about wasting much time and energy bouncing around
from job to job trying to find something else that would make you happier.
things are a lot different! Young people coming into the workplace now are
very confused. They’ve been promised all of their life that if they
study hard, get good marks and stay in school they will be able to do
anything they want. They have been told that there are plenty of good
careers out there that will provide them with wealth and happiness. All
they have to do is continue to get the right education.
despite all of the positive encouragement and despite the vast multitude
of different career choices that exist today, we find that 50% of all high
school students avoid post-secondary education all together, entering a
life marked by going from one odd meaningless job to another while trying
to decide what they really want out of life. Of the 50% who do manage to
go on to college or university, over half of those either drop out of
their original course or switch to another program. And further, only half
of those who remain in their program to the end will eventually find a job
that is related to their studies. Finally, almost all of those who achieve
their objective of landing a job in their chosen career will change
careers within the first seven years of beginning the new job.
what in the world is going on? Why is there so much confusion? What has
happened during the past several decades that has made it so difficult for
everyone to come up with an answer to the question, “What do you want to
be when you grow up?”
will say that there are so many career choices today that it is difficult
for a person to make up his/her mind. I think it is a much deeper problem,
and it has a lot to do with the fact that young people today are being
“groomed” and “directed” towards careers that are all wrong for
them in the first place.
parents, we all want to do what is best for our children, so it is easy to
fall into a trap. You try to provide your children with the education and
training that YOU THINK will help them get them into a career that YOU
FEEL will be suitable and worthwhile. Sometimes this requires your child
to try to do something that he/she is just not suited for. To show you
what I mean, let me share a story with you that has always been one of my
upon a time the animals in the forest decided they must do something to
meet the problems of a new world. So they organized a school.
adopted the activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming
and flying and, to make it easier to administer, all the animals were
required to take all of the subjects.
duck was excellent in swimming – better in fact than his instructor –
and made passing grades in flying, but he was very poor in running. Since
he was slow in running he had to stay after school and also drop swimming
to practice running. This was kept up until his web feet were so badly
worn; he was now only average in swimming.
rabbit started off at the top of the class in running but had a nervous
breakdown because of so much overwork trying to compete in the swimming
squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the
flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead
of from the tree-top down.
eagle was a problem child and was disciplined severely. In the climbing
class he beat all the others to the top of the tree, but insisted on using
his own way to get there.
the end of the year, the animals decided to close the school. The duck
went back to swimming all day; the rabbit ran through the forest; the
squirrel flew from tree top to tree top; and the eagle soared in the blue
all my 28 years as a teacher, I NEVER came across a single student who was
not gifted in some particular area. Everyone possesses a PASSION FOR LIFE
that allows him/her to develop superior skill levels and a love for a
certain aspect of life. Some love sports; the outdoors; working with
machines; working with children; working with older adults; etc. These are
things that they love doing more than anything else and these are things
at which they are exceptional. These passions stay with you for your
met a young lady the other day who was enrolled in a program which would
give her a diploma as a Certified Make-up Artist and Nail Technician. When
I asked what had interested her in this particular career, she stated that
she had always loved doing creative art when she was young and wanted to
get into a career where she could use her artistic talents. She felt that
working with make-up and nails would allow her to use her artistic skills
and continue to develop this passion.
So whether you are a high school graduate looking for your first
job, or if you are a 65 year old retiree looking for a new career, always
remember that you will be a lot happier if you develop your strongest
skills and do what you do best. If
you want to be happy, look for a career that will fit in with your true
passion for life and your natural talents. Don’t try to change yourself
or do something you are not comfortable with just to fit into a career
that looks promising or you will be looking for another job real soon.