Everyone, at one stage or another is asked this question. I would like to put forth that there may be more to this innocent question than one realizes.
I was reading a blog entry at thousandaire.com last week, which spoke about the university system and how some programs do not produce employable individuals. The author argued that graduates who learn hard skills, such as in engineering, for example, are in a better position in the job market than “general business majors”, because they learn specific “skills”.
That got me thinking: Is the reason that general business majors seem aimless is that there is no magical “be” at the end of the proverbial rainbow? After all, when they graduate they will not be an engineer, doctor, lawyer, CPA or other defined career.
How do we solve this predicament? How do we inject purpose back into our education system?
Let’s start asking our young people: What do you want to create?
This question forces the respondent into a creative mode – from a “noun” to a “verb”, so to speak. The concept of a “career” becomes something that is actionable. This goes beyond fulfilling a role into creating the role.
The world runs on entrepreneurs. Progress is measured by the supply of new and different services and things that we can now have. Some of the jobs that are being created right now don’t even have job titles yet. Did any 5-year old or 17-year old ten years ago say: “I want to be a social media expert”? No. The movement was driven by: “I want to create a platform for ordinary individuals to interact in real-time”.
When our college entrants think “what do I want to create” they are forced beyond trying to merely graduate from something, to thinking about accomplishing something.
Can you think what a world of difference there would be in the college experience when “business” majors go in with this perspective? Students will have a purpose other than “getting a degree”. They would go in wanting “to create something” as a goal and customize their course to reach that goal. They would emerge from college with practical skills that are relevant to employers in specialized sectors and give themselves a serious competitive advantage in the job market.
The balance would have shifted more than this, however. These graduates now have up-to-date, relevant skills to create the good or service themselves, without the need for an employer to be the middleman. Isn’t the boss just a proxy for the consumer/market anyway? The graduate can take the skill directly to the market.
The great thing about living in the internet age is that, as individuals, we now have the opportunity to compete with corporations and win. There are many individuals on twitter.com, for instance, who have more of an audience that some public figures and some personal blogs are seriously well-known and earning hundreds of thousands for their individual creators.
I don’t know about you, but I really like having choices. This shift from “what do I want to be?” to “what do I want to create?” would have a profound impact on the thoughts surrounding the concept of “career”, because it puts us at choice as to how we want to spend our time and which direction to direct our labour.
Why am I bringing this up in a personal finance blog?
To reach financial freedom one needs to create assets that will replace a monthly paycheck. You need to create a business, an investment portfolio, a piece of music, a piece of literature, an iphone app, Real Estate or something similar that will provide hands-off cash flow. People can go through their lives with the “be” paradigm, never create anything and therefore never experience true financial freedom.
Am I wrong? What do you think?