Sunday, May 3, 2009
Waiting for a call from my former CYO hoop star "Downtown" on the possible careers available to him
Having gone back to college five years ago at the University of Texas at San Antonio, I was amazed by the number of 20-something college students who believed there was a "job fairy" waiting to point her magic wand and give some of them a high paying job, a company car and a professional clothing allowance.
As a parent of three, ranging from 23 to 17, I have been stressing the need for them to find what my colleague Brian Massey, the author of the recently published "Author at The Market for Me: Surviving Job Loss and Building Your Lifetime Career Network" would term as job champions. Harvey Mackey, the author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive" and "Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt," tells the story of his father suggesting he talk to one of his uncles about finding a job after spending four years as a college student in the University of Minnesota.
As I remember this anecdote from one of the book, Harvey and his uncle became good friends. Like any good relative (such as my favorite, Scrooge McDuck) who cared about his sibling, his uncle would refer him to opportunities and people who could help him move from job opportunity to job opportunity. Massey, who also is the chief evangelist for the recently launched cardboardresume.com, will tell you that relatives and family friends are a good starting point for building an online network of folks who can open doors for those persistent and patient enough to ask.
Today, many young people are afraid to look for their uncles, aunts or other "centers of influence" who can advise them on the job market. Just today, I ram into the father of one of my favorite CYO basketball players at my parish men's club casino night. For six years, I coached CYO girls and boys' basketball and softball at St. Francis of Assisi. I have kept up with a lot of my former players. One of them is someone I still teasingly call "Downtown" for his willingness to never pass up a 18-foot shot while playing for the parish team. This former player of mine had great confidence in his game, and he really listened to me and my assistant coaches. In short, I like the kid as a player, and he was one of my favorites.
When his father told me that his son was kind of not sure what he wanted to do, I told him that his son should call me. Like Mackey's uncle and Massey's champion, I am the kind of guy who has an hour or so to help a former player like mine.
Yet, I know that this kid may never call me. Perhaps, he will be too embarrassed to admit that he doesn't know what he wants to do after college. Yet, having an honest conversation with several people like me could help him find the kind of job that will appeal to him once he completes college.
Here's hoping that he calls, and more importantly that someone with a college kid who is a nephew, niece, former youth team athlete or student will get to read this. It's hard for some young people to admit they need help, but it's best for them to have some honest conversations about the job market and the kind of work that is available for those who complete their education or professional certification programs.
So, "Downtown" call me. I will be glad to buy you lunch or coffee at La Taza and discuss your options. I can already tell you that the NBA market for a short shooting guards with brown curly hair is not good. However, there's always a job for someone who believes in himself or herself.