So, my eldest daughter, who is a few months away from turning 16 (holy shit), is about to go on her very first interview for a part time job.
She is nervous.
Understandably so. Other than working as a counselor at a summer day camp, by all accounts, this is all new territory for her. This is the big league…a job…a real job – albeit a part-time job that will probably be seasonal…but a job nonetheless.
It’s a job with a real company, a retailer, with a boss to report to and hours to keep and policies/regulations to adhere to.
My wife and I think it’s a great thing. Not only will it look good on a resume and help position her as a well-rounded individual when it comes time for her post-secondary pursuits, it will also help her with time management and hold her accountable should she not deliver on what is expected of her.
While she will only get about 15-20 hours a week until Christmas, I understand how difficult it is to get employment for kids her age and older or just graduating from university.
Unemployment rates in her demographic are at about 14%. Competition is at an all time high with fewer jobs for over qualified candidates.
It used to be that going to university or any other kind of post-secondary institution would almost guarantee you a meaningful entry-level position with a company who appreciated and respected raw, youthful and exuberant talent. It guaranteed you a future. Placement rates used to be quite high.
Now, not so much.
After watching a panel discussion recently aired on TVO focusing on this demographic and their work pursuits post-university, I have to be honest…I am scared for my daughter.
While she has some ideas of what interests her, they are all “in the clouds” …. pursuits that either won’t pay a decent wage or might be freelance. They won’t point her give in a direction that will ensure her future success in the form of a sustainable career doing meaningful work.
How does a kid her age know what she wants to do with the rest of her life?
I am not even certain, at my not-so-youthful age, about what I want to do with my own life?
While plumbing is a honorable profession that can endure the highs and lows of the economic roller coaster, its not something I see my tall, statuesque daughter doing (although it would be a unique marketing idea to have an attractive young woman coming to your house to snake your clogged drains!).
What is she going to do? What are we going to do to guide her without pushing her? We want her to discover her passion and follow her heart.
She doesn’t think much about this kind of stuff even though we encourage her to devote some mental energy to the idea once in awhile.
Where do you begin? How do you tell a kid who loves music and wants to be the person who sources music for movie soundtracks that that kind of gig is very niche and not easily attainable? While I know it isn’t just about money for her generation, I also have to wonder how well paying that kind of job is and will it carry her for her working career?
No, she isn’t going to be a doctor, lawyer, scientist or accountant.
I know she is going to do something else that is equally great and exciting with her life. But I also know that the journey to get there will be challenging, frustrating and filled with disappointment.
I understand what my parents went through (and to a certain extent, are still going through) with me. I – just like them, worry that my daughter will be able to take care of herself…feed, clothe and provide decent shelter for herself and that she be an independent person regardless of whoever she winds up settling down with.
I worry for her.
Parenthood…I signed up for all the good and bad bits. This bit is a particuarly shitty one….wish me luck!