General Badassery Episode 34

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Jeffrey J. Selingen's College Unbound (Amazon affiliate link)

This week I'm railing against the American higher education system, which of course might be of interest to you if you are entering college or sending your children there, but the obvious question is: what does this mean to you, in the business world?

Well, I'll tell you.

We have a massive number of educated men and women out there who do not have sufficient influence to go out and get a decent job. They're smart, they're capable, they want to work - they just can't seem to get anyone to hire them.

There's a culture of desperation growing there which is much stronger than the culture of entitlement we hear so much about. These people are not bad people, so much as they are people who bought into the system they were handed... without a clear idea of whether that system was still working.

It has to work, right? Why would your parents pressure you into it, and companies demand you weather it, and banks loan you money for it, if that system didn't work?

Because they either don't know, or don't care.

Basically we have this model for how a person's life goes, which essentially consists of going to school until you go to work, and continuing to work until you retire.

The theory is that you will work at the same place, but it's really difficult to do that. Rises at most jobs don't keep pace with inflation, while switching jobs every two years produces an average 10% pay rise each time.

And that's without considering the possibility of layoffs or your employer folding entirely.

Of course, if you're not one of those people - probably because you either didn't go to college, or went to college long enough ago that it still worked, or just got lucky in the employment lottery most college grads have to play - you might wonder what all this is to you.

Well, it's an opportunity.

You have a chance to work with college-educated people who really, really want to do something that matters... but don't know how. They need direction, mostly. They need someone to tell them what to do.

They're pretty good at doing it without much supervision. And the major thing they need is a mindset adjustment, so they can switch gears from the old industrial era way of thinking - to the "new economy."

You know, the one where you can run your own show and not have to be told what to do.

Which is really the same old economy, since you've always been able to do that, but we call it new because we got complacent about the whole college and job and retirement plan. That was the "new deal" back in the day, but hey; meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Switching over to being the boss was always the smart move, but most people are of the opinion that they can't do it. They need to be convinced, oddly enough, that they are in fact capable of being their own boss and doing their own thing.

The fun part is, they'll pay you to convince them.