Recently I received a resume from a young lady that had just graduated with a master’s degree in Oceanography looking for a position.  She sent this to me in hopes that she would be chosen to work for the company I had a contract with.  She like so many hopefuls she applied on line and waited to hear if she was chosen or not.  She was.  She had the schooling and background the customer was looking for. 

When I spoke to her about the position she was eager to interview and did so.  The client liked her and saw a fit for her not only now but in the coming years even giving her a tour to show her what she would be doing in the future.  The future she went to school for. This was neither an ordinary job nor customer of mine.  It is one of the top agencies in this prospective field.  This is one of the largest and respected institutions in the world.   The money was standard for this type of work and really a great start to any mind that wants to get in to the work force and do what they had gone to go school for.

The beginning of this career is like where most careers in specialized fields begin at the bottom of the ladder.  YOU need to learn the systems the way things operate.  Good or bad they are there for a reason.  Building blocks don’t just come from book knowledge doled out by professors that have never been in the field or have worked just in theory not practice.  They come from doing things we may not find exciting but it is the dues you pay to build up your knowledge to prove yourself to those who have been there before.

This was just too much for the little student though.  She was given a gold star for just doing the job.  She was went to school and paid her money so that she could go out in to the world and show all those people that she knew more than they did. She was smarter.  Her professors told her so.  She was told at school that she was special and that the work force would accommodate her.  Companies need to make special efforts for her. THEY NEED HER!  She had no interest in doing hard or monotonous work for a year or two. This was beneath her.  She was used to gold stars. Whatever she did she got a gold star and she was not getting one now.  She was normal not special.  She was cheated but not by me and not by this agency.

She was set up for failure.  We have been teaching our kids that there should be no winner or loser.  That is not true.  We are lying to them.  The world is not fair. In the work force you don’t get a gold star for showing up (Unless you are in the federal government or a union job) but that is another story.  When I told her that by passing she was missing out on something really special she scoffed.  That is until I told her that I had four others who wanted the position and they will be a year ahead of her by the time she would be able to apply.  She was not told that companies, like people, do not like to get the cold shoulder.  They don’t like to be told no.  They, unlike her, have lots of choices.  You see the market is pretty grim right now for college grads.  Heck it is pretty tough all over.  They are being told there is no competition and they don’t understand it when there is.  They want their gold star for showing up.  That is what Universities are selling them.

They say that gold does not tarnish.  Maybe all those gold stars were really pyrite.  They say you get what you pay for.  She sure did.

Views: 9095

Comment by Will Thomson on August 2, 2013 at 2:04pm

Derek, this is a terrific post.  This topic has come up a lot lately with my peers.  This new generation expects that they will be given a gold star for everything.  It is NOT true.  It is a generational difference, but unfortunately something that will be around for a while.  My daughter is going to a pre-k graduation tonight.  She is wearing cap and gown.  The first time I did that was when I graduated from college.  Thanks for the post!

Comment by Chris Russell on August 2, 2013 at 2:24pm

Things they dont teach you in school. Fantastic lesson here Derek, thanks for writing it.

Comment by Amber on August 4, 2013 at 10:20pm

Ah, yes. The trophies for showing up...

Comment by Derdiver on August 4, 2013 at 10:27pm

I miss them as well Amber, I do.

Comment by Tiffany Branch on August 12, 2013 at 11:28am

Soo true. Don't even get me started on those who want a gold star and promotion for doing the bare minimum or what is expected.


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