I won’t tell you what my mother used to retort with when I used to bellow this at her from the upstairs landing. All I’ll say was it involved a gentleman with no underpants who originated from Timbuktu. No PC parenting when I was a girl.
Last week in a cafe, I evesdropped overheard a woman despairing as to what her 18-year-old son was going to do with his life,
“He’s just wasting his entire life. I mean my God. At this rate, he’s going to end up being a plumber”.
This statement was accompanied by a look that one might have were they to walk in and find the male and female kittens they had bought at Christmas, humping the hell out of each other. It was that look of utter disgust. And I know. They were. But that’s another story.
Although I felt like this:
Being British and because I shouldn’t be listening to peoples conversations anyway, I did this:
The next day I happened to listen to one of the most inspiring podcasts I’d listened to in a while. ‘Why kids don’t need a university degree to become successful and get a job.’ The host went on to list ’10 jobs that pay $100k or more (Without a college degree).’
Ryan Deiss, an entrepreneur and guest on the show, summed up trades perfectly.
“Every job is a trade. Whether you are a tradesman at fixing peoples teeth, their bodies, their bank balance. They’re all trades.” Ryan Deiss.
It made me feel a bit better about myself. (see ya later fear) About my constant insecurities as to what my children will do in the future.
Neither of my two are academics. They love the arts and languages, but maths and science? Nah. This, of course, wouldn’t be so bad were they in a mainstream school. I’m sure there would be some advisor person who could guide them in the correct direction, letting me off the hook with my unwanted advice. But as it is, they’re homeschooled. So it’s me, the plumber, and occasionally the old guy down the beach with his dog who likes to have a pop at what they might do in the future.
When I left school, about 50% of my friends had no intention whatsoever of going to University. They left school and got jobs as hairdressers, builders, beauticians, butchers. One worked in the bank, another at the swimming pool, and every one of these people, as far as I know, is satisfied and happy.
It seems to me, that- regardless of what these young adults wish to do- it is pretty much expected of them to go to University and get a degree. It doesn’t matter what in. Just get the degree. As if by doing so they automatically gain acceptance into the exclusive, ‘you’re doing the right thing’ club. I’m not talking about vets, dentists and brain surgeons. Of course, yes, these jobs require a degree. But many other equally exceptional professions do not. It’s almost as if by not sending our kids to university for 4 years we are failing. Just as the woman in the cafe believes; if her son doesn’t go to university, he’ll have to opt for second best. Get a trade. Become working class. That’s right. Working class. Isn’t that what we all want for our kids? To be working?
Well yes… but It’s just that we are rather particular as to which profession we’d like them to beworking in. You know… It has to be a profession on, ‘the really respectable job list’. And therein lies the problem.
You rarely hear it said, “He wants to be a builder”. “He wants to be a hairdresser.” “She’s training to be a chef”. Maybe you do. Maybe it’s just me.
Chefs, estate agents, electricians, singers, dancers, florists, jewellers, makeup artists, gardeners, mechanics. To name just a few. You don’t need the magic degree to get any of these jobs, what you do need is training. Patience. Hard work. Commitment. Years of working under a master as an apprentice. Grit.
If that’s what our children are showing an interest in, shouldn’t we be supporting them and encouraging them to obtain these characteristics and skills? Let’s not contribute to this social stigma that is attached to those who leave school and just well, go and get a job.
I for one would be proud of any child of mine who was led by their passion and ballsiness for wanting to get out into the workforce and start learning and earning.
Right. Phew. Rant over. If you want to listen to the podcast and become as irate as me, the episode is 225. If not, delete this post.
Right. I’m going to have a glass of wine, alone. I mean to fantasise about what I can spend the $100,000 I’ll be saving on university fees on.