A number of articles discussing dead-end college degrees and wages stink have surface on the Internet. The U.S. Minimum Wage barely allows U.S. workers to sustain a one-income family household. Downsizing seems to be trendy in the American economy while some states are wrestling with making $10 an hour the minimum wage.
Despite this economic trend and the long-lasting recession, we still perpetuate the same old way of thinking. We are conditioned to go to work, making other people rich while we scrap by on barely enough living wages. We are conditioned to believe that having a college degree or some kind of formal education are the keys to success. But are they?
By the same token, a crop of articles about young entrepreneur echo-boomers entering unchartered territory earning millions before their 30th birthday have also made headlines.
Yahoo! buys 17-year-old-tech-whiz website
Youngest American Woman Billionaire Found With In-N-Out
Meet Ian Purkayaastha 19-year-old Millionaire Truffles King
What is even more astounding about these stories is that many of them are doing it without college degrees and little formal education. Hmm, does this trend deserve a closer look? Should parents continue to push for college degrees or should they be encouraging their children to break from traditional wisdom and explore their inner creativity and dreams?
As a person who was raised in the conventional way of thinking, to get a “good job with benefits,” self-employment was never discussed or thought of as a rational option. I stayed much too long on a job that I hated and it offered no mobility. After attaining my degree in 2001, I’ve changed careers three times, and I haven’t celebrated my 50th birthday yet.
Recently I attended a job transitioning seminar that provided coaching for displaced workers. The room was filled with many people like me. Some had been on their job for less than 24 months, while others had served their company for many decades. Suddenly a restructuring of the organization and they found their positions downsized or phased out. We were unemployed and grappling to recover another good job hopefully one with “good benefits.”
When my son came to me at a pivotal point in his life to decide if he should accept a well-paying job with benefits or take the plunge into self-employment, it was a no-brainer that I advised him to believe in himself and jump in with both butt cheeks.
One year later and not without a lot of challenges and setbacks, his business is still standing. He hasn’t become an overnight millionaire but he has managed to hang on and he has managed to fare a little better than breaking even. Admittedly, this is the exception and not the norm according to statistics on small businesses. “Mom, not many of my friends parents say what you say. Everybody I know is looking and hoping to find a good job.”
The reality of today’s world is there is no such thing as a good job or a secure future with an established company. Walmart the U.S. largest employer is wrestling with how to keep their shelves stock in the wake of recent layoffs. And they’re not the only one that has been laying-off.
What does all of this mean? It means that as parents we have to keep an open mind and balance common sense with today’s reality and market trends. Maybe it’s time to break away from conventional ideas and begin exploring new options and directions in advising our children about their future. What was once true in 1950 is highly irrelevant in the new millennium. We have to begin considering self-employment as a viable alternative when it comes to bringing home the broccoli.