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So, as some of you know, when I'm not writing this blog or dreaming of my next trip, I work in Economic Development. In general terms, I'm tasked with creating jobs for my region. As you can imagine, in the last few years that's been really tough.
This task, although challenging, is really important to me for so many reasons. One, I think it's so important for people to be able to have meaningful and fulfilling careers of their choosing. We spend so much of our lives preparing to work and at work, that it really should be something that we are proud of at the end of the day (in an ideal world). It's also important to me, because I feel as though a whole generation is primed to be left behind due to this recession that we are still pulling ourselves out of.
I was recently at a conference where Dr. Yong Zhao from the University of Oregon spoke about his thoughts about the educational system, and he commented how we now have the best educated baristas and bartenders that we've ever had. He had a lot of great points and he's someone worth researching.
After he spoke, I posed a question about what can be done to help those over-educated bartenders. So many people from my generation graduated college with student loans, that they only got because when we entered college, jobs were plentiful and we felt assured that we'd be able to pay them off. The recession hit, and they, along with many others found themselves out of work. Many of them took positions in fields (if they were lucky enough to find one) that were unrelated to their degree and that required little or no advanced education. Fast forward 6 years, and they have a whole lot of experience that doesn't make them competitive for jobs in their field any longer. Particularly compared to fresh graduates whose education and experience is fresher and more relevant, and also fair worse compared to baby boomers who are also still in the workforce. And still those student loans sit...
And yes, sure there are programs that help reduce your student loan payments (which you should take advantage of). But that doesn't solve the greater problem. This doesn't address the fact that by the time that many of these individuals are finally in jobs that could lead to a career, that they've lost nearly a decade of their prime earning potential. Which means they are behind in saving for retirement, and potentially will not climb as high due to their late start.
If you're in this generation, then this is not news to you. But, I did find after I posed my question, that this was news to a lot of people there. I was comforted though that many people that day, and since then have brought this question up and acknowledged that it's an issue. But that won't fix the problem will it?
What should we do? One of the suggestions that Dr. Yong Zhao had for people still in school applies to us as well. We need to find and nurture an entrepreneurial spirit in ourselves. We all won't be lucky enough to find our dream jobs. And if you are finding that you're still lost and not finding it...build it!
We need to be a generation of risk takers, builders, and dreamers. It's hard and it's scary, and not all of us will find the right path on the first try. But let's not let the world tell us that there's not a place for us at the table.
There are a lot of resources out there to help you get started with generating the experience and knowledge necessary to make your dream a success. If you need help getting pointed in the right direction, leave a comment below!
Don't let discouragement keep you from having the life you want!
Hi there! I'm Skeeter. I grew up moving a lot and that makes me a bit restless for travel and exploration. I started this blog with my husband Pat when we decided to backpack New Zealand for a year. We are always looking for the next adventure and are loving life. We're just your average couple with two sassy dogs and a love for travel. We're sharing our travels and the tips we pick up along the way.
Hello! I'm Liz. Blogging is very new to me, but I'm so excited to finally write as much as I talk!
"Don't forget to travel happy"-Skeeter & Liz