Even as unemployment remains sky high, a whole category of vital occupations has fallen out of favor, and companies struggle to find workers with the necessary skills. The causes seem clear. We have embraced a ridiculously narrow view of education. Any kind of training or study that does not come with a four-year degree is now deemed “alternative.” Many viable careers once aspired to are now seen as “vocational consolation prizes,” and many of the jobs this current administration has tried to “create” over the last four years are the same jobs that parents and teachers actively discourage kids from pursuing. (I always thought there something ill-fated about the promise of three million “shovel ready jobs” made to a society that no longer encourages people to pick up a shovel.)
Advanced education is a great thing, but it is not better than being skilled at a trade. Not that there is anything wrong with having a PhD in Philosophy, but honestly in an end of the world scenario, that skill set isn’t going to impress me much. Sorry. Skilled labor makes thing happen. When a plumber finishes his day, there is hard evidence of his work. Me? I work in accounting. Sure, my job is important to keep the company rolling, but there isn’t any hard evidence of what I did for the day. Balance this, JE that, generate a work paper. Next month I’ll do it all over again. At the end of the year, I’ll gather a bunch of paperwork and hand it off to auditors. TEOTWAWKI? Nobody will care about balance sheets and P&Ls. Thankfully, that’s not my only skill set.
Encourage your children to make the world a better place. They aren’t settling if they choose to be a plumber. If my toilet won’t flush, a plumber is far more welcome in my house than an attorney. Without pig farmers, we wouldn’t have bacon. Tell me that’s a world you’d want to live in.