The Kids Are All Right: A Letter To Graduates Sick Of Hearing How Tough It Is Out There
High school and college graduates,
If you are concerned about your future, then the last thing you’ll want to do is browse the web looking for advice on what to do following your big day. Most of what’s out there right now seems like it was specifically designed to scare the crap out of you. It’s almost as if the writers are looking at what they perceive to believe are your bleak opportunities as a sick way of feeling better about their own mediocrity.
If you follow us on Facebook and Google+, where we often post links of interest to those concerned about tests or their overall education, then you know we’ve pointed out a few doom and gloom links in the past. That’s not to say we share the same outlook for your future. Rather it’s there to say, “Hey, this is what people are saying about you — care to prove them wrong?”
This week, while looking for something of interest, we came across a post at Forbes that pointed out some alarming stats about how companies are producing more with less manpower, and how that means you’ll have an even more difficult task finding a job once you move across the stage and collect your diploma or degree.
And while the stats may be true, we want you to forget about them, completely. Yes, the conclusions are accurate. Yes, technology has enabled the outright elimination of several types of jobs that were alone enough to take care of a family of four. Yes, the pool of available jobs compared to those of you submitting applications will only grow smaller and smaller and smaller.
Forget every last bit of it. Why? Because there’s no other purpose behind those stats than to increase your stress and devalue your self-worth. You didn’t create this stacked-deck system. The generations before you did. It’s how the world has always turned. You’re born into a set of challenges that weren’t yours to own. The same can be said of the baby boomers, the Generation Xers, and all those who came before us.
However, in spite of the drama, we’ve all found a way to not just survive, but thrive. The Internet itself is proof of that. One of the greatest educational, informational, and entertaining tools of the technological world was useless until about 16 years ago.
But since its inception, younger people just like you have transformed it through social media, smartphones, web applications, etc., into a more advanced thing than any of us knew back in the days of dial-up. Look at the creators of Tumblr (high school dropout) or Facebook (college dropout) as examples. People like you may be written off by the older crowd, but that’s only because they’re foretelling your future based on their world and their rules. They aren’t innovators, so all they can see for you is failure.
And therein lies the key to your future successes. Learn how to innovate. Learn how to make your world a different world than the one you grew up in. Every generation is filled with its share of innovation. Even the generation that is currently writing your epithet.
But even in innovation, creativity in one generation can run its course, and at that point it takes a new vision to keep this planet spinning round. Your vision. You’ve seen the tools that make your world easier. How would you build upon them? What are your interests, and what can you do to make them more accessible to other people?
They will tell you that whatever your education level is, it’s not enough. Do any of you see the irony in that? They’re the ones who’ve built upon the educational curriculum that came before them. They’re the ones now telling you that your education won’t be enough even as they write the plans for what you “must” know to step out into society alone and be competitive.
That should tell you how valuable this kind of gloomy “advice” is. Consider the source(s).
There is still plenty of room for the innovators of your generation. We haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of what can be accomplished — what will be accomplished — by those of you who are being counted out. So get out there and prove the naysayers wrong as so many from the Class of Now are already doing.
Remember, even if the opportunities out there today are sparse, there’s always room for you to make new ones. In fact, making opportunities is what distinguishes those who lead remarkable lives. Good luck, and congratulations.
[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]