I am a Gen-Xer. I was told in college that I would have three, four, maybe five different careers before I retire. I heeded that advice, and indeed, it gave me permission to look for that change. I get stagnant, I get bored, I let my ADHD get the best of me, and then I start looking for ways to move on to the next career. I always ask, What's Next?
It's either that or rearrange my living room again.
Even though it's been three years since I left the recruiting business, I still think like a recruiter. And I have something to say:
Corporate Recruiters are missing the point: the idea that careers are going to jump around, the career coaching that my liberal arts professors kept hitting on, nearly 20 years ago. They want to hire employees who have only had two jobs in ten years, or less, for some, but 5 years at a job seems to be the magic number. Even in technology hubs of California, there are companies who will not hire someone who has had three jobs in five years, who is “a jumper” in recruiting terms. But these companies are getting stagnant themselves, because the people they hire want safety before innovation. They’ve hired brilliant engineers on H1B visas who fear losing their job and being sent home, who literally are not in charge of their own destiny. It is the golden handcuffs. It is a cruel and unusual punishment for wanting a better life and having the IQ and skills to get it. And it is forcing these companies into mediocrity. Innovation means change, it is inherently not safe. There are really very few companies who get this.
I digress. I do that. Oh, look at the kitty!
Look, I’ve done corporate, I’ve done small business, I’ve done non-profit. I've seen it from all sides. Now I’ve made the jump to education, which funny enough, is what I’ve always said I wanted to retire from. When I was 22 I said I want to be teaching when I retire, but who knows what will happen in between. I didn’t really care. I was thinking I’d be teaching Shakespeare's influence on pop-culture at the time, but I’m teaching computer skills to elementary kids, instead. Okay, good enough.
And I love it. I’m teaching technology to the next generation of change agents. But teaching them how to cut and paste in Microsoft Word is, in some ways, doing them a disservice. I feel like I need to be teaching them how to look for change. How to look for and become a master user of the next great thing the digital age spits out. And then to find the next thing. But half the time I have to teach them to just click and see what happens first, they are terrified of making a mistake. They are scared to think. We're working on that.
But still, the world of Education isn’t meant for innovation, either. There’s not enough money to innovate. Change has a lot of red tape, and you can’t test fearlessness.
Then I read a couple of articles about a group of people who are defining change.
Very thought provoking stuff. I've come across some education focused websites which are committed to teaching teachers and students how to innovate, without fear of all that “bad stuff” the internet introduces to our kids (speaking of fear - you should see this next generation of parents. They are ruled by fear. But that's a different post.) Sites like Edmodo, Glogster, Storybird. There are so many more popping up each day, it's breathtaking.
And I am going to teach them to my students - maybe they'll learn how to be fearless in the process. It's not just a career lesson, or a classroom skill. It's a life lesson.