As an adjunct professor at College for Creative Studies, there is something I am noticing that is a cause of alarm for me. First, let me explain that not only am I passionate about art, I am also passionate about entrepreneurship. I believe in small businesses – they are the backbone of our economy. Small businesses cannot succeed without a business plan. I am a firm believer in business plans.
What I am concerned about is this so called wave new generation that is coming up in the past two years and this year – they have no interest in starting a business nor have they ever worked for anyone. Somehow they have managed to go through high school not working part time and they are in college, not working part time. That is alarming to me.
There are companies out there complaining lack of qualified employees or even finding good employees with good work ethic. I am looking at them. Last year, was the first year I had the majority of the class tell me that they were not interested in starting a business. As part of the course work, their final project is writing a business plan. I make them do it anyways – I tell them that it will make them better employees – at least they will understand what their “boss” is going through and as to what it takes to run a business. Hopefully they will contribute solutions and add value rather than just punch in and clock out.
I realize that perhaps some of these kids have been unable to find work – due to the economy for the past ten years – the job market has been tight. Any part time job out there – they are competing with many other individuals as well as adults. So, they may have given up as a result. The downside to this is this: what we see – lack of work ethic. lack of ideas or contributing value for whatever field they go into because they have never been given the opportunity to be part of an organization or team.
I don’t know what the answer is – but it is alarming what I see in the classroom. Not too long ago USA Today reported that the number of start ups have declined in the past three years and of course the paper blamed it on the economy, the banking industry and the fears of entrepreneurs. Typically startups are the highest when the economy is down, but now startups are at all time low. That is a big warning bell here. I think that trend is here to stay for a long time.
We as a United States definitely do not want to become a “service” nation – where we all end up on minimum wage. We want to be the “idea’ nation – where we are doing research and development, the manufacturing and technology where there are higher wages and better standards of living. We don’t get that by letting kids get by, accepting status quo.
I keep fighting for my vision of what I want for myself and I have been told that it is too high for me. Like I’ve been shooting for the sun when I should have settled for the lowly moon. Why? Its been frustrating when I can’t seem to be given the opportunity to prove myself. But I do understand why some people give up. Believe me, it is very demeaning, demoralizing, and dehumanizing when you’re out there, trying to get what you want for your self for your personal and professional development. And you feel like you can’t get it or you’re just getting nowhere. We all want to be contributing members of the society. When we can’t – we feel worthless as a human being. It takes a lot of strength to keep on going every day.
I am sitting in the sound room, listening to Cowboy Junkies, two cats and dog sleeping under my feet in the room with me. The window is letting the light in and I see snow fall. Ugh. I spent most of the day grading yesterday. We met for dinner with another couple. Today – I hope to finish up grading early today so I can work on my own school work. Maybe a chance to get downstairs too.