Thinking Of Returning To School?


If you are one of the many people who are finding that landing a job is difficult at present, one of the things you might be thinking of is returning to school to further your education. This could be just the remedy you need or a colossal waste of your time and money, resulting in kick-starting your career or leaving you saddled with debt and still with no job. Yikes! Isn’t that your biggest fear!?

Debt; four simple letters which together could find you with a poor credit rating, affecting your future ability to buy a car, a house, even land a job with some organizations. Just the thought of going to school and investing a year or more of your precious time only to have the possibility you could emerge still in the same situation with no job prospects? Why it’s enough to drive a person crazy!

Hang on a minute. Let’s look at this rationally and objectively. Take a breath; a deep one that fills your lungs and then exhale. Do it again. Better? Okay, let’s begin. Oh and I should add that I have no vested interests in any educational institution.

Supposing that as our premise, you are finding it difficult to get job interviews and when you do, you’re not getting job offers. It could be that there are too many people with the same qualifications as you, and in addition, some of your competition have added education. The decision to head on back to school and may be exactly the right decision if employers in your field place a high value on extra education, or you learn they view your education as out-of-date.

Could be that your degree from 1981 is now of questionable value, or in a field like technology where advances come often and quickly, you’re losing out to new grads. If you have been able to narrow down what course or training you’re lacking that is holding you back, then returning to the classroom to get it is wisdom my friend. Don’t even read the rest of this article; get up and go register now!

Another solid reason for more education is if you have come to a point in your life where a completely different career is in order. You’ve grown and with aging you’ve found you have new interests; interests which you’d like to pursue as a career and your current education doesn’t qualify you to compete. Same advice, quit reading and contact the College or University and get yourself registered.

There is another kind of situation you might be in which could also have you considering the classroom as an option. You might not be at all sure what kind of work you’d like to do. Returning to school would cocoon you from the world of work for 2-3 years while you pursued a degree or diploma.  Couldn’t hurt at any rate to add some letters to the end of your name, and hopefully you’d figure it out in that time.

Well it’s not up to me to say one way or the other but generally I’d say all education is worthwhile. It will add to your resume and maybe some time in a placement applying those skills could indeed spark a real interest you then pursue and life all works out beautifully. That money you owe when you graduate isn’t debt at all but rather an investment you’ve made in your mind and your future. Well done!

However, that time you spend in a classroom could actually prove harmful. If you graduate and then don’t feel inspired to look for work doing what you went back to school to learn, that money you spent might actually just be plain old debt; with you no closer to knowing what to do with your working life.

A good idea perhaps is before investing your time and money in school, interview some people doing the work you might be doing upon graduation. Pick their brain, find out what they really do and ask yourself if you’d be happy in a similar position? Ask the employers you’d be asking to hire you when you graduate if they prefer graduates from certain schools or programs. Not much point happily going to school somewhere only to graduate and then find employers don’t value what you received or the institution you got it from isn’t recognized.

One thing is for sure; don’t return to school just to hide from work. If you’re not sure what to do, spend some time working in several jobs. Invest a year – maybe two or three actually – doing a number of jobs finding out what you like and what you don’t.  You choose what goes on a future resume anyhow, so don’t fret about job hopping; you’re on a mission of discovery.

Going back to school is a wise decision which will improve the way you think, make you more competitively employable and give you an edge. However, upgrading your education and then finding out you’re eventually working in a job you could have got three years ago without your new degree might be a waste of time or just part of your education in the game of Life. Depends on your attitude and how you view things.

Best advice if you’re on the fence? Make a decision either way, and make it NOW; the stress of not deciding isn’t helpful. You’re on the clock.

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Experience Alone Won’t Get The Job


Are you looking for work and counting on your extensive experience to tip the scales in your favour over other applicants who have formal education but less experience? Do you think it’s unfair that you’re being rejected time and time again because you haven’t got a Certificate, Diploma or Degree? There are good reasons behind those decisions organizations are making to go with other candidates and best you should not only understand them but accept them. Better still though is turn your frustration, resentment or bitterness into action and go get the training to complement your experience.

How long has it been anyhow? You know, since you’ve been applying unsuccessfully for jobs and getting passed over because you don’t have the required academic requirements. What’s kept you from heading back to a classroom and coming out the other end with that document? Pride? Financial investment? Fear? Stubbornness? A lack of appreciation for the training or the process? Whatever the reason, it says much about your attitude and apparently you’re spinning your wheels and going nowhere without it. How does it possibly make sense to keep trying to get a job you really want when you don’t meet the key educational requirement and are doing nothing to change the situation?

If experience alone was enough to qualify people to excel in their professions of choice then consider this: every Addictions Counsellor would be a former addict, all Divorce Lawyers would have failed marriages, every person Prison Guard would be a former inmate. Does this seem logical or even preferable? Certainly not to me.

Experience is a tremendous asset and I acknowledge that unreservedly. However experience alone I’m happy to say doesn’t qualify you and that’s a good thing. Many people with experience are poor communicators for example, and so just because they’ve  got extensive first-hand experience, (such as a victim of abuse), there’s no guarantee that’s going to translate into making them a brilliant personal Counsellor or Speaker.

In fact, in many cases a person having experienced trauma first-hand is a poor choice as an employee. Without any training in place, they themselves could be incapacitated and unable to help others if in the course of their work they find working with other victims triggers their own memories. They could also think it helpful to share their own stories instead of validating the individual experience of the person there for the help who wants and needs to be heard telling their own.

Oh yes, there’s tremendous value in getting back into a classroom and learning techniques, theories, best practices, communication styles, giving value to differing perspectives and emerging with an altered and improved appreciation for higher learning. I can think of quite a few people over the years I’ve personally known who adamantly refused to see any real value in returning to a classroom until they actually did. Those same people only later admitted that they were glad they did because once there, they understood what I and others had been saying. In short, they came to value the EXPERIENCE of formal education in their field. How’s that for irony?

Still there are many who place their own experience high and above anything they could ever learn by graduating with a Certificate, Diploma or Degree. They don’t have a full appreciation for time spent there; certainly not at any rate when weighed against life experience. Here’s something though; your experience as real and valid as it is, without education could cost a company a lot of money, their reputation and possibly destroy them utterly.

Suppose for example a childcare centre hired all their front-line providers who had babysitting experience alone; no Early Childhood Education Diploma’s, no membership in organizations that ensure standardized practices and adherence to legislation and pertinent acts. Now let’s further suppose that this centre was YOUR centre, where YOUR child attends and something tragic goes wrong because their extensive babysitting experience didn’t prepare them. Are you likely to sue the organization for hiring incompetent staff? Are you going to hold the Board responsible as well as the Director who hired that employee? You sure are. Yes, you’re suddenly going to want to ensure that every employee there has both experience AND formal training with something as precious as the care for your child in the discussion.

Same thing goes with the people who build the houses or apartments and condo’s we live in. We hope and trust that not only do they have experience but, we also trust they’ve been taught a thing or two, that they have safety certificates, that the tradespeople have their tickets qualifying them to do the work. We don’t want to find out later on that the Gas Fitter has zero education but has been, ‘doing it’ for years.  Oh well then, that’s okay then when you come home to find an explosion has leveled your abode because they didn’t do the work properly.

Look, if you have extensive experience I think that should be recognized, and it is by employers. However, you’d be well-advised to admit – even if grudgingly – that there is also value in formal education. One isn’t better than the other but together they improve your chances of being a successful job applicant. You will gain an understanding and appreciation for your field of choice and most importantly learn more than you’d expect.

Education; something perhaps to reconsider.

 

 

Reflecting On Choices


Looking back on your work history, are you surprised in any way with the jobs you’ve held and the direction your choices have taken you in? Or conversely, if your 20-year-old self could look into the future and see the work you would be doing throughout your life, would that glimpse hold a promise of all the things you expect?

Of the two, we can only look back with 100% certainty at what we’ve done. The best we can do when it comes to our future is to make some decisions that we hope in the here and now will prove to be ones that make us happy in the years ahead. Only the passing of time confirms we’ve made choices and decisions that we regret or we come to appreciate.

At some point in your own life, you may pause and take stock of what you’ve done and evaluate if the direction you are moving in is still one you’re happy with. To be more accurate, you will probably have many of these times; some of them lasting longer than others. A moment such as this could come 2 years into a university course that you come to realize isn’t for you and so you drop pursuing that degree and change your major. It could also come after years in a job when the thrill is gone and you wake up one day wanting a different work life.

Pausing to reflect on your own direction in life and how happy or not you are with it is a healthy practice. Having said that, there are some who feel very unhealthy and become emotionally conflicted with what they see as second guessing themselves. Envision the person who has someone else paying for their education and suddenly realizes they don’t really want to continue chasing that diploma or degree. Complicating a decision to change the education path is the sharing of their thinking with the person or people paying for tuition. “What will my parents think? How do I tell them? Will they think I’ve wasted their money?” These are some of the questions that one might ask themselves.

The alternative however is to go on giving the appearance to those around you that you are happy working towards your diploma or degree, or happiest in your line of work when you’re not. Questions such as, “So how is work or school going? Enjoying it?” seem harder to answer truthfully for some people who are wondering the exact same questions and weighing their options.

Uncertainty can be paralyzing. Should I continue doing what I’m doing? Is this just a phase everybody works through? Should I be paying attention to the signs and what exactly are all these feelings trying to tell me? Something must be wrong? What’s wrong with me?

Maybe nothing is wrong with you. These feelings are really just self-reflections; taking stock of what you have, what you’re working towards and evaluating your personal happiness with things. The apparent conflict comes not when we continue to move in the direction we were headed but only when that direction is debatable or deemed to be not aligned with where we now want to head.

So what does it take to change direction; do something different? Courage for sure, conviction would be nice and a willingness to take that first big step whatever that means to you. For some it means saying, “I’m not happy in my work anymore” to their partner. For others it could come out as saying, “I’ve made an appointment with the school Guidance Counsellor to talk.” For you personally, it could mean any number of other things said to whomever you’re speaking with.

Here’s the thing. It is often better to pay attention here and now to how your feeling than it is to ignore those feelings and continue down a path you no longer know is right out of some perceived duty to do the right thing. Thinking, “But this is what’s expected of me”, instead of doing what is right for you could take years to undo and might even close doors that are open to you at this moment in time.

Now be assured that many very happy people who are extremely satisfied with their careers did think at one point, “Am I cut out to be a ________. Did I make the right choice?” They might even share at some celebration of their work such a statement as, “There was a time I questioned whether I was in the right line of work or not. I’m glad I stuck with it.” So just because you come to question your current direction don’t take that self-reflection as a positive sign that change is needed.

It’s all very confusing isn’t it? The thing is that you and I, our needs change because we change. We change in response to our age, our environment, our awareness of other occupations, our financial needs, our willingness to jump and take a chance or our conservative nature.

There are no absolute blue prints that come with life and it isn’t neat and ordered and laid out for us at birth. We – you and me – we’ve got to find our way in this world, make our choices and hopefully they work out. However, embrace those moments when something stirs within and give them the benefit of your attention.

 

Embrace Moments Of Learning


I’d hope that you agree with me that a school classroom is only one environment in which learning takes place. Isn’t it true that we can learn from looking around us on a bus, sitting in a theatre or on a park bench and just about any other setting in which you find yourself.

And I also assert that learning isn’t limited to those who make up the audience in any formal teaching situation; for those who stand in front and impart knowledge themselves learn a great deal. When we learn, we grow; when we stop learning, we stagnate.

It’s indeed fortunate that our brains are capable of taking in, processing and retaining vast amounts of information. Everything we accumulate helps us to perform better in future situations, avoid what we experience as negative experiences and to increase what we perceive as positive moments. We tend to remember and then be guided by our past actions and if we wish, we can make adjustments to our behaviour based on how well or poorly things have gone before.

The classroom we were in as children and then later as teenagers tend to impart knowledge in a standard method requiring us to sit and receive information, then have our ability to internalize and use that information in the form of tests. These tests check our abilities to internalize, remember and apply that learning when called upon. For some however, this environment and the way in which the information is presented to them is less than effective in imparting that knowledge.

Not everyone learns the same volume of information, but more importantly, not everyone grasps information in the same way. There are those who learn by reading best, for some it’s listening while for others still it’s having opportunities to be shown and then try things themselves.

Teachers in classrooms of 25 – 30 children for example are in trying positions. They have to impart a large amount of educational information that is dictated by the Boards of Education for whom they work, and they have to do so within fixed timetables. The bigger issue however is that among all those children, there are bound to be a mixture of children who learn best in different ways. Auditory, visual and experiential learners make up just about any audience.

It’s for this reason that many of the best facilitators, lecturers and teachers use a variety of learning methods to reach most if not all of the people in the group. Hence you’ll find video’s, Prezi’s and PowerPoint presentations, role-playing, reading, music, reading, individual and group work in most formal learning environments.

But what of you? Do you know how you learn best? Are you aware of the exact opposite; what is for you the least effective way for you to receive, process and retain information? Knowing what works and doesn’t work for you personally is extremely useful well beyond the classroom and into work environments.

For example, you can minimize your learning curve and acquire information faster, making you more productive to an employer in the process if you relay to your supervisor the method you have found that works best for you when it comes to learning. Telling your boss that you learn best when you’re shown first how to do something and then be given a chance to do it yourself under guidance before being left alone to do it may help you in the workplace. This could contrast with how the boss has typically instructed employees in the past when he or she has just told them what to do and expected them to do it.

Good instructors – great instructors – know this to be true and will check with those they are mentoring or teaching and make adjustments to their teaching methods in order to best respond to their audience. On the job it can be problematic if those teaching and instructing fail to understand this. Can you recall a situation in your past for example where the boss told 10 people the same instructions but only 8 of the 10 employees received the message the way the boss intended it? The other 2 may have heard the exact information but not been able to do the work as told not because they are less intelligent but simply because they don’t process the information received in the same way; they learn differently.

The easy thing for us to do sometimes is put the blame on those who don’t perform as we expect and reprimand them or question their intelligence or ability to follow directions. Most often it’s not that the people are rebellious, incapable of performing as they are expected to, or just belligerent; they just didn’t receive the information the way it was intended because they learn differently.

Knowing your own learning preferences can be something you choose to share in a job interview too. Any question about a time you make a mistake could be an opportunity for you to demonstrate how you corrected a problem by requesting your training be presented in the way you learn best. This information could help the new employer understand how best to train you and show them that you know yourself well.

If you are currently working, this may also help you reassess how your personal learning style fits or doesn’t with how training is presented in your workplace; and small adjustments could make a huge impact in training sessions and those teachable moments.

What Do You Want?


What do you want to experience in your life that you currently aren’t? More money? Power? Flexibility? Job satisfaction? A stronger intimate relationship with someone? Knowing what you want can help you realize it. Not knowing what you want can seed frustration, anger, regret and confusion.

So let’s say you’ve identified that you want more income. Having decided on more income you can then move on to looking at your options; taking on a secondary job, applying for better paying jobs, investing your funds to grow them faster etc. The choices are yours to make but they all have one thing in common as they all seek to increase your overall wealth.

When it comes to relationships and wanting a deeper, more fulfilling one, you can opt to put yourself in more situations where you’ll meet more people, you can risk telling someone how you feel, or you can send out the word that you’re on the market and / or join some dating sites. Already in a relationship? You can invest more of your conscious energy in making that relationship stronger.

Now as for your career, again I ask, “What do you want?” Some people are very happy in their life just moving from job to job, doing different things, gaining a wealth of experiences, and of course being paid to do those jobs. For others, this idea of floating along and not having some overall master plan is not satisfying at all. No, some people are happier identifying what it is they want early and then taking the courses and gaining the experiences that will ultimately put them in a position to take advantage of things and realize their long-term goals.

You know I’m guessing the people in your workplace that everyone can easily identify as the go-getters. They volunteer for committees, they move with the right people, they climb the corporate ladder with speed and purpose. It’s like they’ve got a career path all laid out and are acting the plan. Well good for them you say to yourself; and you either mean it sincerely or you say it wishing it was you on that path instead of them.

Of course what we want career-wise has a lot to do with the factors we experience. If we are in our late 50’s vs. our early 30’s, we might not want to invest much time and energy aspiring to reach the top if we’re not close to it. After all, it might be we just want to play out the string, get paid for our work and then retire early enough to enjoy life without having the stress of putting in the extra hours required to impress the higher-ups and get that plum job which we might have under different circumstances reached out for.

Where we live can play a big factor too. Maybe we’re just not into a long commute, we don’t want to arrive early and work late; we’re content with how things are and to make a big corporate leap would mean moving from our cozy urban dwelling into the heat of the city; all dusty, busy and noisy. No thanks.

What do you want? It keeps coming back to these four words. What you want is very personal; there’s no right or wrong answer, but there is a personal answer. It requires some thought doesn’t it? I mean, what do YOU want?

Some people think that just wanting something is akin to dreaming. Write it down they say and it’s a goal. Plan to make it happen by developing some written steps that have some kind of timeframes attached and you’ve got a workable map that will lead you to the goal you’ve described. But there are a lot of people who have their goal in mind and they still make it happen without the benefit of writing it down and mapping out the steps.

Then of course there are those who have no goal in mind other than seeing how life unfolds. If opportunities arise with respect to their career, they’ll think about them at the time rather than plan now to stand at that crossroads. To be honest, in some fields there are new jobs that didn’t exist even a short time ago, so how could anyone have planned to make the move to the jobs that didn’t exist? So there are many people who are content to find something they enjoy doing and just plan to continue doing it until they no longer enjoy it; then and only then do they look around and say, “Okay so what are my options?”

When you’re in school, good advice is to keep all your doors open down the road by getting all the education you can; the degree over the diploma so to speak. It can open more doors down the road; doors you don’t even know exist. But what about post school? What actions can you take to keep your doors open?

Take advantage of learning opportunities your employer presents. Network positively and often. If you get the chance, take the lead at work on some project so you both learn and stretch a little while getting known to those you don’t normally interact with. Keep looking every so often at other job postings just so see what’s trending. Could be a perfect job comes up and you find your next move.

What do you want?

Who Will You Be? Ever Considered This?


One of the things I enjoy about my job as an Employment Counsellor is the many people it brings me into contact with and hearing their life stories. Ask somebody to tell you their story – and give them the time to tell it – and you’ll learn some amazing things.

There are a lot of people for example who chose at some point to drop out of school. Some of them saw getting a job the fast track to moving on with life at the time. Others dropped out to support their family, and in others, their families placed a low value on education. The ones going back realize that getting their grade 12 is important, and it’s their current struggles and success they relate that draw you in.

Oh and the job seekers? Ah, they have fantastic stories to tell. Their tales involve hopes and dreams, rejection and heartbreak. Their stories extol resilience, tests of self-confidence, self-esteem, documents composed, communications both sent and received. Here are the peaks and valleys, the aspirations, the musings of how a single job offer could be life-changing and how much they’ve got riding on a single application. They relate investments of energy, time, precious funds, negotiating debts, losses and new hopes rising.

You want more stories? I hear people I interact with daily tell me their stories of dysfunctional families, being cast out themselves; relationships they had high hopes for dashed. There’s suffering, abuse, death, birth, joy and pain, sorrow and ecstasy. Their stories sometimes involve police chases, crime, scandal, rehabilitation, drugs, sex, fresh beginnings, re-settlement and fears. There are greedy landlords, kind bus drivers, relentless bill collectors, volunteers in soup kitchens, shelters and bargain stores in their lives.

It’s interesting because if you think about the movies and books you love most, don’t you find that many of the tales involve some heroic figure overcoming their disadvantages; working through their challenges? They are constantly faced with setbacks, they sometimes fall into despair or if they don’t, they have every reason to. At times, they undertake a quest, some journey to an end; helped along the way by people that come and go, sometimes misled by others. When the book ends; the journey complete, they feel a sense of accomplishment, and they almost always are better people for what they’ve undertaken.

There are such real life stories all around us where the hero or the heroine is walking past you on the street, making your sandwich at noon, reading a book at the next table in the library. They don’t look remarkable in any way, blending in as they do with all the other people moving about. They don’t have bulging muscles, don’t carry swords, daggers and axes; don’t have rings, gems, treasure maps or traveling cloaks. They are however real and they exist not in the pages of some book but right here before you.

The really cool part is when you suddenly realize that if someone were chronicling their journey and writing the novel of their life, this is the chapter where they came into contact with…you! Now what will they write about your influence on this person? How does your own life interweaving with theirs influence their path? Will you be the person who could have provided help and assistance but was too busy to lend a hand, or will you go down as the kindly character that gave aid in a dark time when aid was unexpected and sped the hero or heroine upon their way?

Another thing that’s pretty awesome to think about is this. Think of someone in a series of movies or books that you admire. Frodo, Anne of Green Gables, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Wonder Woman or Luke Skywalker. These characters are in a finite number of books or movies. You and I however, touch a significant number of lives each day and are thus interwoven as characters in many stories. In a single day, you and I are characters – major, minor or incidental – in more people’s stories than all the books that exist for any one of those I mentioned above. Sherlock Holmes helped clear up many problems and assisted many people, but when the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stopped writing his stories, you could count them and they were over.

Every time someone says, “Can you help me?”, “I’ve decided to go back to school” or you overhear, “I’m so frustrated!”, you’ve got an opening. This is the moment you get a choice on how you’ll be thought of and written up in their story. This interaction could change the course of their day, brighten their day and lighten their load…Who knows? It may be a small and incidental thing yes or maybe something bigger.

So how does it feel to see yourself as a character in literally thousands upon thousands of books chronicling the stories of the people you come into contact with? In any given day, you and I might be a helpful soul, a listener, a supplier of money, a purveyor of goods and services, someone who could have helped but didn’t, a jester or wise man with wisdom to impart. Why we might even be someone who learns from the main character.

You and I; we get all kinds of chances with each interaction throughout a single day to be supportive, helpful or a roadblock. How will you be portrayed in their journey?

Schools And How To Job Search


When I say that young people don’t know how to job search, is that because it isn’t taught in schools? Sure there is the internet, their friends and family, but in large part, society as a whole counts on our education systems to teach young people whatever knowledge they need to get a good start in life; at least in the developed world.

While acknowledging that schools and the people who work there are under increasing demands to teach beyond reading, writing and mathematics, I have to wonder at how much job searching is touched on. Teachers these days have some groups of people wanting them to get back to basics. Other groups of people want issues they feel passionate about taught to our children. Yes I can certainly empathize with the people who design the curriculum as they try to keep everybody happy; all the while in a system that has the same number of hours in a day, weeks in a school year.

The case I would make in order to have more attention paid to teaching effective job searching skills would be that the point of educating young people is to give them the knowledge and skills to live successful lives. We give them diplomas to acknowledge that success, grades to gauge their comprehension, and then we turn them loose as young adults.

Now I can imagine my fellow colleagues in the education systems around the world are dying to read to the end and hit the reply button so they can tell me how they do teach job searching techniques in school. That may be. If so, there are a great many folks I know who collectively must have been away or not paying attention when it was taught.

I can not nor would I ever use my own school experience as any relevant addition to this piece. I graduated from high school in 1978, University in 1981, College in 1983. Just because they didn’t teach it then doesn’t mean anything when comparing what is taught today. And my memory might be suspect! So I rely on the feedback I get from people I meet in my personal and professional life who tell me their own experiences with the school system. Some of them are unemployed youth and adults, some of them teaching professionals.

It can certainly be said and well defended too I suppose that the information I’m getting isn’t scientifically gathered; certainly isn’t the universal experience, and things therefore may be quite different in various parts of the world. I could check in with local school boards too and get the definitive answers when it comes to education curriculum and how much if any time is spent on job search techniques.

I haven’t done this however, and here is why. No matter the answer I would get from any educator, I still see a steady stream of young adults who show only the most rudimentary skills when it comes to knowing how to look for work. Most of these people tell me how they are going about looking for work usually has come from a family member or friend.

Now, suppose you and I did agree that learning how to look for a job is important enough to teach in schools. Could we agree on the grade or grades in which this should be taught? What about the length of time it gets covered? I know there are career days where community members file into schools to talk about their jobs, and career counselling in high school is supposed to help shape a students future education to meet the requirements of potential job posting. So yes some time is spent getting ready.

What about the kids who won’t be heading off to University or College? They should be equally prepared to know how to go about getting a job. There is a huge responsibility on the students themselves however to be receptive to this kind of educating, and we have to be honest and say there are some teens who know it all, think their teachers are out of touch and in short, close their minds to learning. That’s reality.

It’s an unfortunate reality however, that many young people are leaving school (before or after graduation), and don’t have the necessary skills to compete for work. So they may have recent education, academically know their stuff, but how to market themselves and compete for work is a missing link.

But wait: I can recall some young people who have learning disabilities, dysfunctional families and living conditions that made learning hard if not impossible. Could they have indeed been taught how to job search but only so much (and maybe very little) got through?

Could it be that educators today are thinking ahead and doing all they can in a tight curriculum to prepare young people for the world that awaits them? And those that are going to drop out because they want a job now, not another year of school to graduate; would any amount of talking convince them to stick around?

Maybe this is part of natural selection. Some pick up survival skills and succeed, some don’t but learn and succeed later, some don’t get it ever and don’t. They teach that in schools.

Maybe after all, they do teach job searching in school, and as a student it’s your responsibility not just to be in class, but to BE PRESENT. Hmmm…