Post Secondary Blues

The graduate with a Science degree asks, “Why does it work?” The graduate with an Engineering degree asks, “How does it work?” The graduate with an Accounting degree asks, “How much will it cost?” The graduate with a Liberal Arts degree asks, “Do you want fries with that?”

My son, half of my pride and joy, my first greatest work of art – my Thing 1. I love this person so much. I have dedicated my life to bringing Thing 1 and Thing 2 into a constant and happy state of living. In his final year of highschool, Thing 1 entered a metamorphosis. He became cranky, belligerent, unpleasant. No it’s not just a teenager thing – it’s a ‘making the most important decision of his life’ thing. Or so he thought.

Many discussions had led to nothing. He decided he wanted to go to University but couldn’t decide what to take. Why? Because:

  • every single decision would have a major impact on his future;
  • every single decision would be wrong;
  • any decision would mean all options just disappear immediately – no chance for change.

Thing 1 brought to my attention this intersting article by Jeanne Meister for Forbes Magazine. “Job Hopping Is the ‘New Normal’ for Millennials: Three Ways to Prevent a Human Resource Nightmare.” In it she quotes: Ninety-one percent of Millennials (born between 1977-1997) expect to stay in a job for less than three years. This means that our kids will have between 15-20 jobs over their careers. This is nuts. HOWEVER, it might be the solution to Thing 1’s troubles.


A few years ago Thing 1 wrote this essay for school:

Career Choice: A Student’s Bane?

Everyone knows that as time goes on, things change. In fact they rarely ever remain static. This is especially true during the late teenaged years of a young adult’s life, like mine. For example, today in the mail I was sent an information packet from some university in Alberta that, up until now, I’d never heard of, right underneath that was an issue of the “Lego Magazine” that I had subscribed to in the third grade. In this point of our lives we are deciding who we are and what we will do. Including one of the most stressful decisions of our lives, choosing a career and before that, what post-secondary education, if any, we wish to have.

One problem used to be having next to no choice in this matter, if your dad was a smith, you’d become a smith, if your dad made shoes for a living, that’s what you would do. Nowadays, youth are living in a world with so much possibility and potential it’s petrifying! I could live my life as a store manager, a soldier, a banker, a lawyer, a doctor, a vet, even a stand in bride’s maid!

The world is our oyster, but there are too many pearls.

The problem some of us are faced with is “You can do anything, but not everything,” and this is a CURSE to anyone remotely like me, so swept up in life you wish you could live it a thousand times. What if I want to be the ambassador to England AND the first man on mars. In this potential filled future I could see myself doing anything, but never everything.


I want to venture into the unknown, leave the academic environment to experience the world, but I also want to teach. I want to be the richest man in the world, as well as attaining enlightenment atop a lonely mountain in a Buddhist monastery. If anything can be said about our world, it’s that it’s diverse. There are seven billion lives to live, but you’re imprisoned within your own.

Deciding what you want to do feels limiting and restrictive, like you’re being forced down a cramped chute that ends with you facing the downside of your mortality. Every night we dream a thousand different dreams only to wake to a constant day.

How can someone with any amount of sanity commit themselves to the same regime every day?

At least, that’s one way of looking at it. As stated before, everything changes, including the economy and job stability hasn’t quite recovered to the time when our parents and grandparents worked. Forbes cites that Millennials will work about fifteen to twenty jobs during their time in the workforce, staying at each for less than three years! This can be seen as the death of lifetime careers, or the tragic loss of “what happened to our company pension” T.V. episodes.

Either way it is undeniably liberating. Thanks to the “Global Financial Crisis” of 2008, mass layoffs are now common, I should know, after all, my dad has been laid off twice since this debacle started. These layoffs, often demonized for creating short term profits, can also be looked at as a chance to do something new – a clean slate. If you’ve always wanted to be a tour guide, start studying your favorite city. A doctor? Head to med school. Not only does this new economy allow for the current work force to try something new, it takes the millions of tonnes of pressure off of students and graduates today.

Now they can see their careers as finite, their foolish aspirations as possible (for a year or two) and their C.V.s as corporate passports logging a colourful and diverse job history that is above all else – fulfilling.

Now, as we, the youth of today, look to our futures, to the thousands of pearls at our feet, we are gifted with the chance not to lock ourselves in cubicles, but to explore and discover. So what if your job as an airplane salesman never took off, or your fishing company couldn’t stay above water? In this new world experience will be king, no matter where you acquired it. The daily grind is yet to be a thing of the past, but we know it will never be the same. Like everything else in this world, now, our jobs are changing too.


Works Cited

Meister, Jeanne. “Job Hopping Is the ‘New Normal’ for Millennials: Three Ways to Prevent a Human Resource Nightmare.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 14 Aug. 2012. Web. 8 July 2014. <>.

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