I just got a new blog from Seth Godin. I love Seth Godin. There isn’t anything he says that’s not worth listening to, looking at, and really taking in. Every one is a “head’s up!”
This one was about College graduates. They are not finding jobs. According to Seth, only 20% are being hired. He spelled out a plan for the other 80%.
This is directly from him – and it’s worth repeating:
“How about a post-graduate year doing some combination of the following (not just one, how about all):
Spend twenty hours a week running a project for a non-profit.
Teach yourself Java, HTML, Flash, PHP and SQL. Not a little, but mastery.
Volunteer to coach or assistant coach a kids sports team.
Start, run and grow an online community.
Give a speech a week to local organizations.
Write a regular newsletter or blog about an industry you care about.
Learn a foreign language fluently.
Write three detailed business plans for projects in the industry you care about.
Self-publish a book.
Run a marathon.”
Seth Godin June 9, 2009
Does that sound like “make a Self to believe in?” It does to me. You know there was a time when that kind of learning was a part of growing up. Maybe you were fortunate and had a playroom. Maybe you and your friends and/or siblings made up plays, did projects, made costumes. A child’s world was full of challenges in groups with objects they made or made believe.
Maybe your opportunities didn’t include something so structured but maybe you didn’t know that it was so important. Whether your parents had money or not I bet you found it paid to be inventive, to put yourself out and you found out at least a little bit of who you are by bouncing around in a group not just awash in your daydreams or one on one games.
More than likely your parents participated, they watched you, clapped, gave you pointers. Maybe you hated it, maybe you loved the chance to be in front of your peers and your leaders. It almost doesn’t matter because no matter what, you were getting something out of it. I bet the put downs you may have felt look less harsh now than they did then. I bet if you had some of these experiences time has worn off the edges and what you’ve gotten into since has made them look smaller.
My teenagers are heavy with the weight of their studies, their friends, their social networks. They think this is the heavy time in their lives. They are sure they have more eyes on them, more commitments, more drama and tragedy than they ever will again. They feel experienced and unsettled yet they expect a steadiness to their lives that what they rail against most gives them. They feel the hang of their safety net but not the support of it.
And, as Walter Cronkhite used to say, “and that’s they way it is.” And ever was and no doubt ever will be. But that doesn’t absolve us as parents, as leaders, as friends and mentors of our responsibilities to show them how we feel, who we are and what is important to us and to the world we inhabit.
We need to look at that list, get a head’s up, see what we see, who we are, what is important to us and what do we want to do about it. Then let’s all of us take some of those tasks to heart. Do them well. Because if college graduates are not getting jobs, if they are at loose ends, they need us now more than ever.