Life has a Funny Way of Choosing a Career for You.

I'm Still Searching for My Career.Every winter, I find myself asking our juniors and seniors what their plans are after (if, in some cases) they graduate.

Generally, I get the same answers; college, work, the military, get married, or the #1 most popular response… I don’t know.

As adults, whether we are administrators, guidance counselors, teachers, or parents; we all want a specific answer and an even more detailed plan on how students will accomplish their goals and become productive members of society.

We don’t want to send them into the future and have them change their mind 27 times (that being said, you know a lot of people go to college for 7 years… they are called doctors- Google it).

We want young people to pick a path in life and then stick to it.

This is well-intentioned advice, but how often does anyone pick a career in high school, and then actually stay with it for 40 years?

When I was in high school, my plan was… well I didn’t actually have a plan.

Come to think about it, I still don’t (mental note… come up with a career goal so that I can stop flopping around through life like a newly caught bluegill thrown onto the shore).

By the way, I think that was my first fishing reference (you have to admit…it was just a matter of time).

One of my greatest achievements in life is that I have never really looked for a job. Opportunities just seem to find me. If you are thinking that makes me kind of pathetic and extremely lucky… I would have to agree.

It does bring some excitement to my life. My anticipation builds as I wait until my next job finds me. Keep your fingers crossed, I am hoping for greens-keeper, neurosurgeon, typewriter repairman, or Mike Rowe’s sidekick.

Regrettably, I spend more time reading about career advice, then actually doing anything about it (pick a career blog… there are about a 1,000 of them).

As educators, we seem to push kids towards getting a four year college education. I think maybe because that was our plan (those of you who actually had one).

This is good advice, but lots of people are successful without graduating from college.

It doesn’t concern me if my plumber, mechanic, or cable guy didn’t do that well in high school Chemistry or English 4 class, or have a college education.

They have skills that I don’t. Sadly, they also probably did better than me in Chemistry and English, but that is not my point.

I often wonder if it is unrealistic to expect a 17 year old to have a plan. Most of them think the future is what will happen at lunch or right after school.

To expect them to map out a long term career goal while still a teenager seems like wishful thinking on our part.

I meet people everyday who are great at their jobs, but I don’t think they are necessarily working in a career that they considered in high school.

They probably had some idea of what they wanted to do after graduating, but life has a way of pushing us towards what we are meant to do.

Everyone’s career choice is much more complicated than meeting with the guidance counselor 3rd period and choosing one out of a book.

Money, relationships, children, health, etc. often send people into a career that they hadn’t thought of at the time of their high school graduation.

I think we might be better off having a system that has kids work in different vocational areas during high school which would give them options and ideas.

Then we could send them all to college for a year or two without having them declare a major.

That should be enough time and life experience to allow them to make educated decisions on their career paths.

Now that I have this educational problem solved, I think I will search the internet for a new car.

I’ve heard that neurosurgeons make really good money.

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What ACT Score Do You Need to Get Into OCU?

Are ACT Scores Overrated?Why is change so difficult? It can come so slowly and can be so painful for some people. Unfortunately, I think this is magnified times 10 in an educational setting.

Are people afraid of the process of change or the result? Why do they always assume change will be for the worse and not for the better?

I am assuming most schools don’t have a mission statement that reads “This too shall pass”.

Schools are supposedly made up of forward looking people whose main goal (in theory) is to help prepare students for the future. Shouldn’t we be just the type of people who want to embrace change and be willing to accept whatever comes our way?

It seems to me that higher education (junior colleges and colleges) produces educators who are more liberal in regards to change and those of us in K-12 education are much more conservative (ie: scared).

Public education should value people who aren’t afraid to look for better ways to teach and educate children. School Boards should put a premium on administrators and teachers who can think of ways and can see better opportunities to run schools and get students the education that they need (ie: think outside the box- ie: I hate that phrase).

I won’t argue that there are not instances when teachers and administrators are open to change. It happens, but I think that it is the exception more than the rule (people win the lottery and buy Bob Dylan CD’s, but I have never met one).

More often, people treat change like a tax audit, a full-body exam (I will just leave it at that), or a trip to have their driver’s license renewed.

People fear change like they fear; public speaking, death, a New Kids on the Block reunion, dark places, heights, two-headed cats, clowns, or being buried alive with Michael Jackson.

When presented with change we are too quick to say; what’s in it for me, or it won’t work, or why even try because the change will never last.

I think the business world is far more open to changes. Their world rewards changes and addresses stationary attitudes far more quickly than the educational world.

They have a system that judges them quickly. It is fairly simple and easy to understand. It is called, have you made money lately?

Educational people don’t like to be judged. We don’t like test scores, evaluations, or NCLB (all work of the Devil). We want to believe that there is no way to evaluate us fairly because administrators or school boards could be out to get us (work of the Devils).

But if we are not getting better, aren’t we getting worse? Shouldn’t we welcome suggestions on how we can improve? Shouldn’t we want the newest and latest technology?

I think everyone should work on day to day contract. Human nature tells me that we would all work harder, look at changes with an open mind, and tackle new challenges.

I don’t want my doctor, or plumber, or members of the military, or even the guy who changes the oil in my truck to be on a five-year or lifetime contract. I want to judge them on what they have done lately. Especially the oil change guy (don’t tell me how you changed oil when you first graduated from Oil Change University or you are too close to retirement to learn and use the new oil change equipment).

Plus, if you work hard and your present employer decides they don’t want you- I bet there is a school system or business out there somewhere that could use a person willing to accept constructive criticism and maybe even change.

Students change. Society changes. Technology changes. Shouldn’t we.

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