In our house everyone works once they hit the age of 8. Yes that’s right - 8. The day after your 8th birthday you better have a plan… All kidding aside [not that I am], I’ve always told my friends that it’s a bit too late for their children to develop good work skills and deductive reasoning abilities when they graduate college. They need to start when they’re in their mid teens or they’ll be living in your basement forever.
Take my daughter Christa for example. [She’s the one on the left.] Brilliant girl. Wants to go into sales, PR or marketing when she graduates. So what’s she doing for the summer? Flipping burgers? Working at the car wash? Retail? Helping dad? Nope. Christa decided she needed to hone her leadership skills and become a better presenter – so she’s a staff cadet at the local army base teaching methods of instruction, leadership and drill. In French no less.
The skills she hones this summer will make her more employable when she graduates from McGill University. And BTW it’ll also make it easier for her to get in when her resume is compared to those who flipped burgers, worked at the car wash….
You see at the end of the day when your son or daughter graduates
from college or university they’re not really employable. Unless they’ve graduated with a specifically rarefied degree they’re just smarter than your average 20 something but they
still have to be trained - smart as they are - in the specific environment and/or industry they choose. Employer realize this and have put up with it for decades but with shrinking profit margins etc. employers are looking harder than ever for those who have experience.
So if you want them to get the first shot at the best jobs when they graduate then do a little homework for them. Find out what part-time and/or summer jobs they can do now which will help them start acquiring experience. Any experience which puts your children in the environment or supply-chain of the industry they want to work in, helps.
- Economist – work at a bank – at least you’ll understand debits credits and how money flows.
- Biologist – work at a nursery, farm, zoo, park, health board
- Scientist – work in a field office, clean labs, do unglamorous research
- Sales – retail is fine but if you really want to learn how to persuade someone take a job as the guy/girl who sells/opens new accounts for Sears at the mall. You’ll learn plenty about rejection…
These where all jobs yo can pick up almost anytime of the year AND while they may not be glamorous - it's experience which will help them later.
Parents, the idea is to emerge them into the environment they
want to go into. And the gruntier the
job the better because a.] they‘ll initially be doing the "joe-jobs" when they
graduate anyway and b.] it’ll put them ahead of their fellow students for the
best jobs when they graduate BECAUSE they’ve already got SOME experience. some is ALWAYS better than none!
This sounds so simple. To bad it took me 20 years to figure it out. I really could have been someone...
Well It hasn’t gone to waste on my children. They’re all well a ahead of where I was at their age. Heck my 12 year old daughter is a 1000 miles away on stage at Disney as I write this, singing and dancing her heart out [she's the one on the left - my wife and business partner Anita Martel is on the right].
So what about you? Are you going to tell your children now how to set themselves up for success or simply nag them to move out or your basement after they graduate.
I'm encouraging mine to experience life in the pursuit of the dreams they have today knowing full well those dreams may just change. But in the end I’d prefer to “visit” with them at their new apartment --- as soon as possible --- and not have them living in my basement.