Throughout our lives we should always be “Pursuing a Brighter Future.” With the passing of one third of this year already behind us, now is as good a time as ever to think about and plan on how to make tomorrow and the future months and years ahead better than the past. The word PLAN seems to be a key part of many lessons I write about – because I firmly believe that thinking and planning are the first steps towards moving into action.
Let’s begin our discussion this week with examples of Pursuing a Brighter Future for high school juniors, seniors and college freshman. This age span can be a most trying time in one’s life. These young individuals would like to do something productive with their lives, yet they are normally very confused about what it is they want to do. Perhaps they should learn a trade after high school at a technical school or attend a college or university in pursuit of a potentially higher paid job? However, unless they are set on following in a family member’s footsteps, most young individuals don’t have a clue about what curriculum or profession they would “ENJOY.” Thus they use a trial and error process of elimination which can be both costly and very frustrating.
As an avid reader of magazines, I would highly suggest that young people begin similar reading habits early on. Many magazines report on the hottest professions that are in most demand; the hottest areas for job growth; the best places to live and reside; and a plethora of lists of information and ideas about how and where to pursue a brighter future. For example, this month’s edition of INC Magazine explored in detail which states and cities are creating the greatest job growth in the United States. This is important to know, in order to further investigate which jobs are in most demand in these boom towns.
Other magazines, publications and websites will list what specific professions are in most demand today as well as which will be in demand tomorrow and five years from now. This information can be extremely valuable in planning one’s future. Choosing a career should not be like playing darts with your choice of professions listed on the dart board. If a student and their parents are going to invest lots of money, time and resources in a formal education – it’s best to focus on a profession where one’s education and skills will be in high demand.
Too often today, individuals graduate from a college or university with a degree in hand and no real prospects of a job in the area they studied. They settle for a job working as a clerk in a supermarket or perhaps go to work for an employer who would hire any warm body who will show up for work every day. Not doing their research and planning up-front, regarding a clear and lucrative career path that’s in high demand, many young college graduates find themselves in a frustrating predicament. Their choices are to work in a low paying job requiring menial skills, in which they cannot support themselves; or go back to school or college for another round of high cost education to pursue an advanced degree or change fields completely. It’s quite unfortunate that this scenario plays out with predicted regularity.
Parents and educators are fully aware of the challenges facing young adults, yet they just don’t do enough to prepare young people for focused career paths. It’s seems as if they’re more interested in making sure their kids get “AN EDUCATION” that they will enjoy, rather than focusing on a career path where jobs are in high demand.
This dilemma isn’t limited to young adults. Too often more mature individuals stay in jobs and professions in industries that are shrinking and will someday die or morph into another business completely. Again there are magazines, publications and websites full of lists of industries; as well as documented cities and areas of the country which are shrinking in jobs and population growth. It’s important to recognize these signs earlier than the rest of the people in your company or hometown – in order to plan and “Pursue a Brighter Future” in another profession or city. By staying informed and focusing on current and future trends – you will avoid waiting too long to prepare for a major change. Be proactive and don’t wait until your city is closing schools; there’s an overabundance of homes on the market; and your town’s home values are dropping like lead balloons.
If you make it a lifelong goal to constantly “Pursue a Brighter Future,” you will have a better chance at being a leader rather than a follower. Become an avid reader and listener and always keep your eyes and ears open to all new technologies, trends and opportunities. Then prepare yourself by planning and gathering the proper knowledge and skills in order to capitalize on the lucrative opportunities that become available.