The Great Recession that many of us are still slogging through has taught me something that is critical for all parents: you can’t rely on one career or college degree to live.
In my 20-year career I feel truly blessed that I have been able to study and work hard to become an accomplished businessman, media company executive, journalist, public relations professional and professional photographer. Having multiple skill sets has helped me stay employed in past weak economic times and it has also served me greatly today to build successful businesses in the midst of a difficult economic climate.
I come from a blue collar background so believe me that I am not trying to show off by saying I’ve done this or that. What I’m getting at really is that technology and bad economic times have recently ganged up on my thoughts to fully convince me that it’s unwise for me as a father to raise my three kids to rely on a degree or a career to live.
The days of unchanging careers and lifelong degrees are long gone. The evidence of this is everywhere you look, including Silicon Valley, one of the most highly educated parts of the country.
A dear friend of my family, a career teacher with a master’s degree my older children know, is a case in point. He can’t find a full time teaching job in public or private schools and the only gigs he can find are all part time. Like my friend are many other unemployed college educated people. I can’t blame universities because ultimately people need to stay on top of their own skill sets but one thing I don’t like about higher learning institutions is that most of them are set up in a very linear fashion so that they produce kids that are usually only good at one skill set.
A couple months ago I was at a conference in New York where an architecture professor I met was discussing the fast changing pace of higher education. Somebody asked him what is the most important advice he gives his students about the techniques he’s teaching them. The professor said: “I tell them that the content that I’m teaching them in class is not important. The most important skill my students will need to have is to learn how to learn.”
That’s the best advice I’ve ever heard a professor give students. It’s good advice for us parents.
In our next installment we’ll discuss some parenting tricks for teaching your kids to think and learn like an entrepreneur.