Today at work we were talking about our kids and how we want them to be successful in their careers and that as much as we would like to, we can't live that part of their life out for them. They will have to make the choices, one at a time, that take them through their working life. They will question their choices, weigh the benefits, and probably take a fall or two in the process.
My son has already had a couple of jobs and is currently embarking on his third one at Panera Bread. Of the first two, one was a pretty positive experience (groundskeeper at a church) and the other was not so good (checker/cart boy/bagger at Woodmans). The not so good experience gave him a taste of how bad management and policies can make a job not-so-fun. He was finally let go when he was sick with pneumonia - including a doctors note - and was unable to cover his shifts. He bid good riddance and is a better person for it. I've heard from many people that Woodmans' management policies are pretty laughable.
Anyway, my coworkers and I were talking about how we got to where we are today. In my case, I took a job right out of college doing manual map drafting for a Minneapolis mapping firm, Markhurd Aerial Surveys.) The job was pointed to me by my girlfriend at the time. This was a woman I dated for only a few months - one of those connections that I'm certain was put in my life to get me a job.
The interesting part of this job was that it only paid $5.50/hour.
With a college degree.
My friends pretty much laughed at the fact that I would even consider it. My point was that I was doing a job I loved, in my field of study, and gaining valuable experience in the process.
Well, it led to a layoff. Then, a job offer in a place called, Waukesha, Wisconsin to do "CADD mapping". It was a significant pay increase to...$7.50/hr! Now, most people thought this was hardly worth moving out of state for a $7.50/hr job. But this time my rationale was similar:
Take a job that I would love, in my field of study, gaining even more valuable experience, for a little more money!
That was the leap of faith I would tell my kids to take today if they were doing the same thing. I would question it, no doubt, as my own mother did when I moved. But I think it is these leaps that give us the most growth. I was scared to death driving across the state of Wisconsin, but I am glad I followed my instincts, because it lead me to a career that I have been blessed to have.
So this summer my Sarah will be taking an internship in Vilas County, Wisconsin. It will give her valuable experience, for a little pay and give her a sense on whether environmental science is what she wants to pursue.
And we will be right there with her, cheering her on.