You Can Be Anything You Want… REALLY?


MP900309635The United States is the land of dreams. It is the most powerful and successful nation on the planet, and we as Americans know it. We’ve been told throughout our lives that we can be anything we want. You just have to work hard.

Is that really true?

Should we really be telling high school graduates they can do anything they want? It is really true that you can be anything you want in this economy? I ask this for a couple of reasons. I do believe you can still be or do anything you want in terms of a career, but I’m just wondering if you should.

Did he just say we shouldn’t strive to do or be what we want?

Yes, and no. When it comes time for a high school graduate to consider their career path, they are presented a wide variety of options. Most of which are respectable career options. The problem is, society doesn’t need most of those fields to succeed. YIKES!!!

Are you saying society doesn’t need me?

Nope. Society needs everybody to contribute. Society also needs a well balanced blend of different walks of life or careers. So yes, society does need History majors, Art majors, Literature majors, etc. The problem is, those fields are not in high demand. They also, in times of economic uncertainty, are fields that will often be cut first, because they are not crucial to the survival of the human race or society. (Some will protest this observation and I welcome the debate).

The problem I see is that we have been grooming our graduates to pick any field they have an interest in and just go for it, without giving them the true tools needed to analyze the likelihood of success in that field. Am I saying that we want to tell the next Picasso or Tolkien to pick a more lucrative field? No, but let’s be realistic. There are shortages of workers in many good fields that will benefit both the employee and society.

So what are you proposing?

Well, I know this is a larger topic than I can grasp, and my small minded solutions will not address the big picture issues of all unemployed college grads, but here is my solution.

Stop subsidizing college education for fields that there isn’t a demand for and start providing more assistance for those fields that have a true worker shortage due to lack of skilled workers to fill those positions.

Let’s just drop financial aid options or drastically cut them for non-essential fields and pile that money on the fields that are truly needed such as:

  • Education
  • Information Technology
  • Medicine
  • Energy
  • Engineering
  • Sales
  • Manufacturing

This is just a few, and these fields have huge gaps in terms of the number of actual skilled workers available to fill the open positions.

I’m not saying we should eliminate the other fields and I also don’t want to make it harder than it already is to get into these other fields, but we as a society really need to start pushing the future workers of this nation to fields we need. Then, if you still decide that an Art degree from some private college is worth the extra money, that’s all on you and I wish you all the luck.

I want to make sure that I haven’t offended on purpose those of you who have chosen careers in any of the fields I’ve mentioned. If you are currently working in those fields I applaud you and am glad you’ve made it work. I’m talking to those who have gone into the field all to find there are no jobs available and weren’t likely to be any jobs. Wouldn’t it have been nice if someone had told you before you did it? Or did they tell you and you just didn’t listen?

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