The unwritten promise of a post-secondary education has been to earn a degree in an applied field such as engineering and you’ll end up with a good, stable job, but the millennial generation is finding that can no longer be counted on. I have been thinking about this issue for some time. Last year, I posted an article on this blog by Robert Reich, Professor of Economics at UC Berkeley and former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton. I was stimulated to share that article by what I was seeing with my own students from the University of British Columbia, and contrasting that with my own experience years ago, walking into my Silicon Valley dream career by sheer chance. That simply no longer happens. Grads must begin plotting out a plan early, no later than the beginning of their third year, and begin to execute on it in order to find an entry-level position commensurate with their education. Networking and cold calling is imperative, but as this article points out, even that may not guarantee solid employment.
There is a lot of hubris and fantasy here in the Okanagan that no amount of reality can kill. Contrasted with that is a political faction that wishes for nothing more than the status quo. In yet another example of Kelowna’s long-standing poor employment market, and bizarre claims of being a technology industry hub, high tech employment in the Okanagan is being curtailed by the mass exodus of qualified graduates to employers outside the Okanagan.
I have been giving some serious thought to the importance of personal resilience in times of adversity. Terry Fox comes up as a prime example of resilience that has inspired people all over the World. But how do such people develop it? Can it be learned? It is a character trait that appears difficult to measure, only appearing in certain people and not others when faced with a severe personal challenge. It is something that all management professionals should ponder carefully because such challenges will most certainly appear in their careers.
Let’s be frank. Finding a decent job commensurate with your new UBC degree in Management has become extremely difficult. I have blogged previously here on the discounted value of a degree, as explained by UC Berkeley economist and former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich. For those living in the Okanagan or hoping to stay here to enjoy the sunshine, I urge you to relocate to a region with better employment prospects. BC Business recently published a ranking of BC cities for employment prospects. Kelowna ranked 17th, despite being the second largest region in B.C.. Calgary is no better option for jobs these days.
We all have our own reasons why we stopped teaching. Some are voluntary, others involuntary. John Beck discusses many of the uncomfortable issues of evaluation and faculty politics that get in the way of the joy of teaching
I personally have seen in my past career, and personally experienced how simple humility is a key characteristic of leadership. This may seem counter-intuitive but it is not. People are drawn to the charisma of a leader who is also simply humble, and who appreciates the values of those he or she leads. A leader like that can get subordinates to follow them anywhere. I think there may even be an inverse relationship in human behavior between hubris, and leadership success. By that I mean that the more arrogant and overbearing a person, the more insecure he may actually be, and therefore less successful in the subjective art of leadership.
In a bizarre sequence of events this week, I have yet again witnessed someone literally self-destruct as a leader due to their failure to exhibit simple humility and to be aware of other stakeholders, whose support or not, could make or break the leader.. Successful leadership is a fragile thing, a subjective human experience. I have written about this phenomenon previously on this blog.