RUSH: Now, this job hunting thing. I mentioned this a couple days ago and just haven’t gotten to it. It’s a website I never heard of called Penelope Trunk blog, and I don’t know what it is. I don’t know if Penelope Trunk is the name. I don’t know if Penelope has a trunk and that’s what the blog is, no idea. I just know that I ran across this.
“New Paths To Get A Great Job,” and I read it, and I’m fascinated. She’s obviously a young person. It’s an advice piece. And I’m reading it, and I’m saying, “It’s exactly what I did 40 years ago.” But yet to her it’s brand-new. And she starts — I think it’s a she because of Penelope. I don’t even know if I’m right about that. But this thing starts this way.
“Of course I have to open this post with something about how stupid college is.” Now, that grabbed me right at the get-go. “Colleges are finally responding to the problem they charge tons of money and then graduates are unemployable and in debt. Colleges are responding by becoming job preparation centers. And Frank Bruni, opinion editor for the New York Times, says this is a waste of time and resources. HereÂ’s whatÂ’s better:
“1. Skipping college.
The real issue we have with admitting that college is not a path to the work world is then we have to ask ourselves why we send our kids to high school. There is plenty of data to show that teens are able to manage their lives without the constraints of school. The book Escaping the Endless Adolescence is chock full of data, and a recent article by my favorite journalist, Jennifer Senior, shows that high school is not just unnecessary, but actually damaging to teens who need much more freedom to grow than high school affords.”
Now, you can see how this was attractive to me, because I looked at all this as prison. I looked at all this as holding me back. I knew what I wanted to do, and high school and that stuff was an obstacle. It was keeping me from doing what I wanted. Now, don’t misunderstand. You’ve got kids listening, I’m not trying to tell people don’t go to school. I’m just telling you how I looked at it. I’m not advocating not going to high school. Of course I picked things up and learned, but as a young person I didn’t want to be there. I knew what I wanted to do. By the way, I didn’t do well in formal education, and at the time I remember having conversations with my parents. They were obsessed with me getting good grades, making the honor roll, of course, parental pride.
I never gave ’em that. I did get an A in penmanship one time. My mother was thrilled that I got an A in something. But I talked to them, “You know, this is too formulaic,” and my dad said, “They have to do it this way. There are too many kids. They have to come up with a formula that is the best for the most in terms of educating people. They can’t tailor education to each individual,” which I understood and I understand that now. But my problem was I didn’t fit the formula, but yet I got plugged into it like everybody did, and I didn’t like it. I found ways around it, by the way. I found ways to do what I wanted to do, at the expense of doing other things. Now, this piece here says…
“2. Focus on internships instead of school.
Kids should be working in internships in high school. Because the best path to a good job is a bunch of great internships. But great internships donÂ’t go to people who need money. They are mostly for young people. Yes, this is probably illegal and classist and bad for a fluid society. But we will not debate that here. Instead we will debate why kids need to go to college if the internships are what make them employable?”
The whole point of this is that we’ve got a factory set up here. We’ve got a formula that starts with kindergarten, preschool, whatever it’s called, then elementary school, then middle school, then high school, then college, and this is a young person who is starting to say, “Wait a minute, I finish all that and I’m still not employable. I finish all that and I’m still not trained to do anything, and yet I owe somebody anywhere from 25 to $200,000.”
So you’ve got young people starting to ask themselves about the formula that they’re being plugged into, and looking at alternatives to actually learning something. It’s fascinating. Internships, think of apprenticeships, think of things that have been done in the past that this young person doesn’t know. Whoever this is thinks they’re onto something brand-new, never happened before. When in fact everything this person wants or thinks ought to be done has been done before and is now something that’s in the past and is supposedly outdated or outmoded, apprenticeships, internships, you figure out what you want to do and you go there. Instead of going to high school, or you combine the two. But that’s how you end up becoming employable. You actually get experience doing something.
Now, understandably some careers require a lot of education and a piece of paper saying you have been and then you have to pass certain tests. Doctors, lawyers, I mean, there’s no substitute, you have to know that stuff and you have to be admitted to certain schools. So there are exceptions. But the person points out: “You cannot take this route if youÂ’re saddled with huge student loans. You canÂ’t take this route if youÂ’re inundated by homework in required subjects you donÂ’t care about. You canÂ’t take this route if you have no work experience when you graduate college. ItÂ’s too late. (DonÂ’t tell me you need to go to school to learn, okay? People just do not believe this anymore.)”
Then the next suggestion here is: start a company instead of writing a resume. And she talks about the latest phenomena of how startups are happening in Silicon Valley. And she’s right, or whoever wrote this is right. You know what’s happening in Silicon Valley? Entrepreneurs are starting Internet type companies. A recent one is something called Wavii, it’s about 10 or 12 people, I think, and they created a bunch of algorithms that will take AP, New York Times, whatever it is news copy and immediately rewrite it in conversational language, in an app for your phone or your iPad. Well, Google just snapped these guys up. It’s called an aqua hire. They essentially acquired the business, but what Google really did was hire these people.
So these guys who started Wavii, and this is one example, and I may not be fully up to speed on it, but rather than these guys having to stick with it and maybe go out of business in the process, they were hired as employees and their company was bought, too, but essentially their business was purchased by them becoming employees of Google to develop the program with Google engineers on tap, and there are countless examples of this type of thing happening in Silicon Valley. That’s just one. And those type of things are referenced in this piece as young people actually in the workforce rather than in school. They’re just focusing on things they love, they like to do using their talents and expertise, and they’re earning a lot of money doing it without any real formal education.
So young people are seeing this happen, and they’re asking themselves, “Why am I in school here?” I don’t know if anything will come of it. To me it is primarily fascinating because all of this is about going against the grain. Forget the formula. Screw what everybody says you have to do. Find what you’re interested in, and find a way to go do it, which is what I did. They think it’s new, which was what made me chuckle.