I Just Graduated From Brown University, But Brother Could You Spare A Dime!
Are college graduates really learning how to think creatively? Last night I was watching PBS with my soon to be 99 year old mother. The program was reviewing how so many college graduates cannot find a job or a job that requires a college education. One person featured was a recent Brown University graduate who had taken a $10 dollar an hour position recording license tag numbers for an automatic toll road. So let’s say that you are asking yourself… “After my family has shelled out $200,000 to give me a fine liberal arts education, and I have only landed a $10 an hour job what was the sense of it all?
The challenge in this economy is that everyone is polishing up their resumes and looking for a job. The question they are asking is “How do I get a job?” But is that necessarily the right or only question?
In the recently released movie “Social Network” the two Winklevoss brothers are portrayed as bullying their way into see Larry Summers, the then president of Harvard University, to complain that Mark Zuckerman, the founder of Facebook, has stolen their idea. Summers is not sympathetic and curtly shows them the door. But before giving them the boot he says or implies to them that a Harvard education is about learning how to create what you want. So instead of crying over this loss why not create something else!
In addition to sending countless resumes out there perhaps another kind of thinking should be in play simultaneously. Meet with friends who are in the same boat and begin to ask intently, “What could I or we create? How could I or we earn a living doing what I or we like? What is possible? Years ago when involved in a strategic planning process with a large client, the facilitator said to us, “Every group contains within itself the knowledge of its’ very next step. “
The very act of intentionally asking these kinds of questions seems to provide, in time, answers, and those answers could lead to a whole new opportunity.
Years ago a friend of mine’s daughter had flunked her senior year of high school. She was beside herself because she couldn’t even get a job as a cashier at McDonalds. She began asking herself what did really like and what could she really do? She loved grooming animals and found a menial job at a veterinarian clinic. In time she discovered that people would pay her to come to their homes to groom their dogs at a lot more than $10 and hour. Now she has a thriving grooming service.
Perhaps schools should be encouraging this kind of exercise. It is the kind of creative thinking that we seem to desperately need.