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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Career Day

I was recently asked to speak at a Career Day at a local High School. For my corporate career, of course, not my entrepreneur career. I was so glad to see a school have a career day. My High School never had a formal career day. It was an eye opening experience that showed me we are failing our youth by not giving them the information they need to make the best decisions for themselves.
The purpose of this blog is to speak to those who are starting to see more and want more out of their own efforts. For most of us, it came from direct learning in our 20's as we started to work full time in the corporate world. I wish there would have been more resources like this blog and the other blogs we have been able to connect with when I was just starting out 9 years ago.
I think since seeing Career Day, there is a big point I have been missing. Most of us who are or want to be corporatepreneurs have now gotten into the habit of seeking out and finding our own sources of information. From our personal life experiences, there are those of us who reject the normal careers or normal life as the best that could be done with our talents and interests. We have learned to stand firm in our beliefs when faced with those who ask "why couldn't you be happy climbing the corporate ladder and achieving a comfortable living by all normal means?" Once you convince yourself that you want more out of life, it is easy for you to avoid the onslaught of social pressure to just live a normal life. That does not mean we don't feel the social pressure, which has been the topic of many recent blogs, but we at least know enough to balance that with what we hear within ourselves.
The point is we are failing our youth because we do not give them enough support and information to let them feel comfortable with choosing their own path rather than forcing them to take tests to fit their interests into preexisting career paths that will leave them longing for more by their 30's. The reason for this is because we do not even give them enough information and tools to learn enough about how the real world works.
When my brother in law was looking at colleges and majors, I sat down with him for a night talking about life. I was so jealous of the information he had access to at his finger tips. Online, we were able to get information about the various costs of schools he was considering. We were able to go to Salary.com to see the starting salaries of the types of careers he was considering at the time, and even print out sample paychecks for budget planning. From Rent.com or any Housing sites we were able to look up the types of houses he could afford on a given salary and even look for new cars he could afford. This is an amazing amount of information to have at your fingertips. I never had this much access growing up. If I had I am sure I would have spent hours upon hours playing Fantasy Real Life.
From the types of questions I got at Career Day, it was quite clear to me that no one was sharing these tools with kids to help them begin to understand the impact of their choices. Especially these days when kids expect to get onto MTV Cribs but have no idea how to get started.
I think as corporatepreneurs, we are used to searching far and wide for our tools and information because no one shares any information and the perfect plan for one of our businesses may not reapply at all to another business we may choose to start. While always looking to improve my corporatepreneur life, I have been able to at times look back and enjoy the journey for what it has been. I do see giving back as a big part of my corporatepreneur plans and one reason I jumped at the chance to speak to a High School. I have already created a scholarship at my Alma Matter. But, now I think we need to start share our life lessons to more of our youth, to share with them the tools we have learned about how to live your own life.


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