Vocation, Vocation, Vocation



Early this year, analysts released some research-based predictions about the cultural trends that 2013 would bring.

Read this and consider:

1. Vocation, vocation, vocation.

A journeyman’s card will be a sought-after credential.

Vocational education is losing its stigma. The proliferation of quality online learning makes education available to everyone 24/7. The DIY movement and fear of taking on college debt in a weak job market are forces swaying the pendulum back to practical knowledge. Community colleges will continue to boom. Public schools will revisit part of a system they had once abandoned — training 21st century plumbers, mechanics, carpenters, and craftspeople who will find jobs, grow businesses, and make money based on practical, everyday needs…in 2013, the buzz will be all about vocational education–Voc-Ed. ‘Lindsey is learning woodworking and will apprentice with a master craftsman,’ while ‘Schuyler will be in Germany working on computer systems for the newest Mercedes models’.”

John Zogby, Founder of the Zogby Poll and Senior Analyst, JZ Analytics.

Practical, everyday needs. There’s a welcome shift, and a really smart one.

It’s hard to imagine a time when there won’t be plumbing problems to fix, when there won’t be computing systems to maintain, when there won’t be a hunger for an artisan something-or-other that your neighbors can drool over, or maybe a barbeque-ready deck. I say this even while living in Youngstown, the poster-child for the collapse of the stable skilled-labor factory job; but seriously, if the world we live in becomes a world without indoor plumbing to maintain, I’m out.

It’s not about doing a job you hate in order to climb a ladder to a job you think you’ll like when (if) you get there, or at the very least with compensate you handsomely for your misery. It’s about doing what you love from the beginning.

Plus, that bottom-rung is getting harder and harder to find. In April of this year, 53% of college grads were unemployed, and that’s not just the anthropologicalmusicology majors. That includes business, communications, chemistry, all the courses of study that used to equal instant employment. More and more they equal instant debt anxiety and non-participation in our economic exchange.

Enter Nick, my friend from high school who studied home architecture and design, apprenticed as a cabinet-maker, and is now an Austin-based woodworker who’s crafted some of the most gorgeous pieces of furniture you’ve ever seen. We’re talking really nice. He’s not waiting for someone to hop off the worn-out corporate ladder so that he can hop on- he built his own.

I keep hearing this pesky voice in the media saying that Millennials don’t want to work hard. They don’t want to put in their due and climb the ladder, and they expect to be rewarded incongruously for their work. But it looks to me like Millennials don’t mind climbing the ladder, as long as it’s a ladder they love, that they’re building themselves, and that’s really fun to climb.

That’s the age old wisdom, right? Do what you love and money will follow? Maybe this is just the first generation to take that advice seriously.

Someone needs to call the folks behind the Game of Life and let them know that they’re whole ‘get a college ed and make more money’ approach is kind of dated. At one point, that was the recipe for success. Now, it should be ‘go to college, take twice as long to get in the game, have a 47% chance of getting a job’.

They got it right in one respect- the shorter path, the one without the college degree really might just put you ahead of the rest.



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