Remember when you were a kid and an adult asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up? You always had an answer. Maybe you identified with Roy Rogers or the Lone Ranger and wanted to be a cowboy, or your Dad loved baseball so you wanted to be a player, or you heard a presentation by a fireman or policeman and KNEW you wanted to drive through town with sirens and lights. When we are young and immature, we assume that because someone follows a certain profession, they have certain characteristics and do certain things all the time.
As we grow older, we begin to realize that, while being a cop is a valuable public service, actually doing it can be mostly boring. And so is tending cows and being a soldier and polishing turn-out gear. And, lo and behold, not everyone who follows a profession possess the idealistic attitudes and attributes we associate with that profession. No matter what, there will always be a percentage of ass-kissers, ring knockers and the sick, lame and lazy.
During Jack Spirko’s recent interview with Anthony Veltri from DHS, mostly about his time as a responder to Katrina (Episode 916 of The Survival Podcast) he made something like the following quote that really struck me, “You ask kids “what do you want to be when you grow up?”. You should ask young adults “what do you want to be good at as an adult?”.
This change in attitude, from career centric to skill/value added centric will keep them from taking their identity from what they do and turn it to what they are, what they bring to the table, any table, regardless of career path. It leads them to develop skills and abilities and awarenesses about themselves and their environment that promotes the ability to thrive in any environment, in any career path. Not to say specific skills are not necessary, if you want to be an engineer you should know CAD. But if you specialize in CAD, what will you do when a better technology makes it irrelevant? If you have a love of engineering, you will thrive, because you will devour this new, better technology that allows you to do what you love even better than before! But, if you learn CAD because it is supposed to be a lucrative skill set for you, when it dies, you will be left rudderless.
So, what do you want to be really good at when you grow up?