Be in the Flow – Follow Your Path!


You Have a Graduate. Congratulations! —- Now What?

Are you the parent, relative or friend of someone who is graduating? Or may be you are finally getting that long coveted degree? Now what?

What are the options and how viable are they for you or that someone you care about? Do you have helpful ideas or inspiring experiences you would like to share? Share them by leaving a comment. Or feel free to send them to me with the subject line “Graduate”.

Here is a short list of ideas of what to do next:
• Do nothing
• Get more education
• If you already have a job, ask for a raise
• Get a job or a better job
• Go into the armed services
• Become a consultant
• Be unemployed
• Depend on someone else to support you
• Do a gap year: volunteer or see the world
• Volunteer
• Get an Internship
• Start a business

The bottom line is that you have been learning to do something. Hopefully it has prepared you for something you want to do. Now you need to shift gears from being a learner to someone who applies all that knowledge and skill to help others. And get paid for it.

There used to be a couple simple steps to making that transition.

• In the olden days, you became an apprentice.
• In the more modern era of educational choices, you got an education, created a resume, and got a job.
• A small number of people start companies.
• An even smaller number of people start companies that become successful.

In today’s job seeker climate of higher unemployment and job uncertainty, and with all the available technology, starting a small, home-based business is becoming a more tempting alternative.

Story: Drop out of college, get $100,000

“Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder and one of the first investors in Facebook, is proposing a controversial path toward more rapid innovation. His Thiel Foundation announced that it was giving 24 people under 20 $100,000 fellowships to drop out of school for two years to start their own companies.” Read more here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/05/25/136646918/paypal-co-founder-hands-out-100-000-fellowships-to-not-go-to-college

This is an interesting debate. I think that a college degree has long been seen as the ticket to a better life. Getting a degree from the “right” school has been viewed as the ticket into the elite clubs. Was it true? Is it true now? What do you think?

I have read that education was invented to create a “conveyor belt” approach to creating qualified people to work in the factories of the industrial revolution. Kids were filled up with knowledge they would need to know to fill a job in a factory. In the process these young people were also sorted to find the obedient ones who willingly sat through whatever information they were taught and would make excellent candidates for the mindless repetitive work of a conveyor belt or assembly line. But that was a long time ago. Education has morphed. Or has it?

Education for the most part treats learners as empty vessels to be filled up with information. At the other end of the spectrum are the homeschooling stars that have been given the freedom to discover their passion early in life and were encouraged to pursue it. They love learning and are more likely to become lifelong learners. People like homeschooling superstar Evan O’Dorney, the 2011 winner of the prestigious “Intel Science Talent Search” $100,000 award. http://www.societyforscience.org/STS and http://blog.drwile.com/?p=5140

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

My feeling is that in education we have it backwards. Instead of learning first and then figuring out what to do with it, we need to start with the end in mind.

Spending a large sum of money to go to college with the hopes of figuring it out later, could become a burdensome financial obligation with uncertain outcomes and potentially a decade long debt to repay. Trying to figure out where the jobs are going to be when you graduate, or betting on “safe careers” or respectable careers like doctor or lawyer or scientist aren’t necessarily going to work either.

Think of all the computer people who thought theirs was a safe well-paying job, who have had their jobs outsourced to India and other countries. Now they have job skills that are fading fast, on top of that may be they never liked the work in the first place. Ouch.

Let’s use the analogy of the car GPS. If you don’t know where you are going, chances are slim that you will get to your destination. If, on the other hand, your car has a GPS and you put in your desired destination, then the car’s guidance system will help you get there. I think education should be approached in the same way. Figure out where you want to go in your career, then figure out the best educational options to get you there. Here is what I suggest.

Prioritize your goals.
1. If you need to pay your bills so you can eat, by all means look for a job now. Get educated on what it takes to find a job in today’s job market. There are many resources: the library, internet searches, Job ministries at your local church or synagogue, job circles and educational programs at community colleges, the unemployment office. Lots of people are there who want to help you succeed.
2. If you have time, get clear on what you love to do, your interests and strengths. Who are you and what makes you tick? Connect with people who do what you might want to do. Volunteer, do an internship, or get a job in a field where you can observe people who do what you might want to do. Do some informational interviewing to find out what those people love and hate about their work. Get educated about the field you want to work in. Nowadays, whether you are looking for a job or building a business, people want to work with people who are good at what they do AND who love doing what they do.
3. Have a clear vision of where you want to go. Every road has construction zones and detours. Every job has its tedious and unpleasant sides. If you don’t have a compelling vision of where you are going and why you are going there, you’re more likely to get derailed or give up.

Taking it Farther:

If you are like most people, you have been taught to sit still, be obedient, turn in your homework on time, and get either stickers and smiley faces for good behavior or the dreaded red marker all over your papers to let you know that you are not measuring up. Somebody else decided if you are good enough or not.

Isn’t it time to decide for yourself that you are good enough and exactly what you are good at? I believe that every one of us has the potential to make a valuable contribution. What might yours be?

Contact me:

If this was helpful and you want more, I’m here for you. Call to schedule coaching and start living the life you choose. Call Edith at 847.913.3900. You can also reach me at Edith@esCoach.com.

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