Continuing with our bad career idea of being whatever you want to be, I want to share something I experienced while doing an East Coast circuit of talks several years ago. As we were billeted, we got a chance to have personal contact with a number of people who had organized the events.
As usual, the dialogue eventually took us to discuss what we were doing for a living.
Funny, isn’t it? What we recently talked about in a video as being the biggest decisions in life end up being what we are most interested to learn about other people, starting with our questioning their worldview perspective, then their marital status and/or family makeup and finally the careers involved.
As we moved from place to place, I started to take note of a pattern respecting the careers of the people with whom I was associating. We were billeted with a university math professor, a fisherman, a pastor, a teacher, a policeman, a music producer, a financial planner, a prosthetist and a host of other people in various positions, postings, careers and jobs.
What became clear to me was that it did not seem to matter whether these careers involved a lot of higher education, or money or prestige, or not.
The thread that ran through it all was that pretty well everybody I visited was happy with what they were doing for a living, with the notable exception of the fellow who said he made his living by shoving cars down people’s throats!
Obviously, this individual was not happy with his placement, nor was the physical education instructor at the local college who could not understand why others did not see things his way.
Both these individuals were in the wrong place, highlighting that there are only two possible careers, that being, the right one and the wrong one, which, as previously stated, is determined by the individual characteristics of the person.
So much for the school-based idea about people becoming anything they want to be!
Later on, when I asked how many in the audience I was addressing were post-secondary educated, that is, had some training, diploma, certificate or degree beyond a “grade 12”, over three quarters of the crowd indicated they had.
Asking those who had post-secondary training to leave their hands up if they were presently employed in their field of training, nearly every hand went down!
Further probing the crowd, when I asked how many were content with their present employment, nearly every hand went up, clearly demonstrating that post-secondary training, while important, seemed to be disconnected from what people ended up doing with their lives, exposing yet another bad idea about careers, which is, that more education guarantees a better placement.
I also asked one more question after noticing that there were a few people who stated that they had some kind of post-secondary training and that they were working in their field of training.
When I asked how many knew at a young age that they wanted to do what they are doing today, the same people had their hands up. Not willing to accept this as coincidence, I asked what they did for a living.
They fell into two categories. They were either tradesman or farmer and fisherman, which have one common characteristic. Both of these careers are initially learned from people doing the job. That is, the skills are learned from experts in the field.
This was interesting as folks going into these careers usually do not go to college to find them, but rather know what they want and go to college to qualify to do just that. This educational process is called apprenticeship, but we can also refer to it as mentorship.
This East Coast experience led me to question the whole idea of why the world advances going to college as the most important thing one can do respecting education. Perhaps this is why there are a number of people who, while post-secondary educated, are not actually working in the field they’re trained in.
I believe that there are two lessons here. The first is that post-secondary training does not guarantee success and that if we try to find a career by first getting the training for it, there is a good possibility of failure.
The second lesson is that we ultimately find our place, with or without this higher training. God sees to it, if we let Him.
There’s a prevailing view that higher education means greater success. Is it true that the more education someone has, the more successful he or she is going to be? No. Perhaps yes, but that will depend on whether you start by determining what you desire as a career, or simply go to college to find that.
Higher education is certainly beneficial, providing more options for possible careers, but it does not guarantee a successful placement in life. However, before we proceed further down this path, we will have to discuss what success actually is.