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Career Planning On Education Science and Technology

Should You Be Qualified For A Tech Job?

So what do you think? Should you be qualified for a tech job at a place like Google? The truth is that it no longer matters what you think or what excuse you make. If you want to keep earning in today’s economy, you better catapult your skills into the 21st century real fast.

Home Computer Lab

Before you conclude your skills are in tune with the technical demands of 21st century jobs, do a little research. I thought I was current. I did the research, and I have been going back to school since the moment I left my old job in February.

Let’s Hear From Someone That’s Actually In Da Game

A Trip Down Memory Lane

When I was in my 20s, 30s, and even early 40s, I remember watching people my age struggle with some real basics of personal computing. I’m talking about things like password reset or connecting to a network printer. The usual excuse was, “I’m not very good with computers.”

Who said anything about being good at computers??? At my last job I would hear coworkers call IT because they couldn’t remember their password. They couldn’t map their terminal to the local network printer, when the printer’s IP address was labeled right on the side of it. I guess they didn’t think they needed to be qualified for a tech job, and I haven’t talked about anything technical yet.

AngryAtComputer
If You Can’t Troubleshoot Your Printer At Work on Your Own You’re In Trouble

All I could think was, “Get ready for early obsolescence.”

As HR Director for a company that was considered the industry standard for innovation, it concerned me that much of our company management team was close to being replaced by our online software. By the time I left, I could see how our online software had finally accumulated the same technical wisdom it had taken some of these managers a lifetime to accumulate.

I wasn’t concerned for them. I was concerned for the young men and women working under their leadership. We’d hire entry level staff straight out of high school, as unskilled as possible, that could answer the phone, navigate various screens, write down an order, finish writing it as soon as the call was done, and be ready for the next call. How would they climb the ladder now, if there was nothing new to learn – no value to add? The software did all the heavy lifting, AND it never called in sick.

Online Software: Opportunity Killer Or Creator

The online software eliminated the need to 1) know complex mathematical operations, 2) know what system components were compatible or incompatible, or 3) know technical aspects about the products selected for the solution requested. Once the customer learned to use the software, the software eliminated the need to have as many estimators other than those with power user knowledge. In that regard the software was an opportunity killer.

However, as the old proverb says, where one door closes another opens. The example of my old job is the narrative of a company doing what it had to to stay ahead. It is the individual’s burden to remain aware of risks and opportunities, to react productively when they present themselves, and to reinvent him or herself when the harsh reality finally sets in that there is no staying still. There is only move forward. The only constant in life is change.

For The Unprepared: An Encounter With A Harsh Reality Awaits

You'reFiredImage
This is what will happen to you if you don’t get your skills 21st centuried-up! Have you ever had to do the walk of shame, just because you chose not to retool?

The day of career reckoning is coming for those who won’t get their skills 21st centuried-up. Unfortunately, many of the managers at my old job used their age to define them. All they did was say they were too old to go back to school. They got offended, retired, or looked for work at another place. The fact that they’d seen the train coming and didn’t do anything to stay in the game was a hard pill to swallow for many of them.

Is The Self-Deception More Prevalent Than Just At My Last Place of Employment?

If you’ve read our mission statement it says that our mission is to prepare the youth from working class families to become undeniably qualified for a tech position at a Silicon Beach/Valley company, like Google. I’ve now shared that mission statement with people hundreds of times, and they look at me like I’m a fool, or there’s no reaction at all – just a glum facial expression. It feels like I’m the crazy one.

impactofonlinsw
Once all the technical product wisdom was captured in the software the technical support department on the left was no longer needed. Customers could do a better job on their own using the online software shown on the right.

It’s been almost as if the fate I’ve drawn for those I’ve spoken to didn’t think that it applied to them and their kids. The concept of becoming obsolete overnight was just too hard to grasp. They continue believing that somehow we are going to figure it out for those who fall behind.

WHAT???

Let’s Face It. Ignorance Is Bliss. Delusion Is Even Better.

Seriously. Who wants to wake up to the question, “Should You Be Qualified For A Tech Job?”. I do, and every day I talk myself out of answering Yes. But the delusions must stop. You must stop running away. If not, you run the risk of believing your own bull—t. I did.

Homeless Picture

For a moment I had started second guessing myself. I had fallen for the lure of self-deception. Heck, I even played along.

The mission wasn’t gaining traction. So I threw a picture of a homeless encampment on my YouTube channel’s page, and all of a sudden people started paying attention. I had changed nothing else. I just added the picture. Self-deception rewarded.


Lie To Yourself Once & You’ll Lie To Yourself Again

displacementmileage

The positive feedback felt so good, I had to keep playing along. I added a few stories about families I knew who had fallen victim to displacement, and people started telling me they liked what I was doing. Can you say, “WHAT”?

Once again, I had changed nothing else. Just added a few pictures and talked about displacement.

Sure, there’s a connection between these different topics, and they are all worthwhile fighting for. The problem is people are seeing their fate come at them like a speeding bullet, but they can’t find it in them to move out of the way. So no more distractions and trying to find the long way to speaking the truth. Let’s just talk straight truth. We can’t help others if we can’t help ourselves first.

This Problem Is More Ours Than Anybody Else’s

It would appear there’s a few people out there paying attention to the complex truth, and talking about it. The rest of us are resting on outdated trends in income-education correlations. But education is where the urgent change needs to happen first.

The educational attainment indicator can no longer just be looked at as degree-not degree. It has to ask, what kind of degree did you obtain? The college enrollment indicator can no longer be looked at as college-no college. There has to be a measure of, “How good is your school?”

I’ll tell you right now, if the best my kid can do is a JC or a Cal State, it may not be worth the hefty investment. The school better have a value return that’s worth the cost.

But the problem isn’t our kid’s problem. It is ours!! Our education needs a boost. If you are in your 20s through 60s, and you are not beefing up your computer skills, you may not get to make that final house note, because you’re not going to have work, and you’ll run out of money.

An Intermission For Some Inspiration

So Let Me Ask Again. Should You Be Qualified For A Tech Job?

KingWithShadowPawn

To think you will be employable without at least some level of technical computer knowledge that goes beyond knowing how to use MS Office or Google Apps is like this pawn pretending to be a king. It is delusional.

So What’s The Takeaway?

If your past education did not involve learning how computer hardware and software work, you need to go back to school. I mean, that’s if you’re interested in working for pay.

I’ll leave you with an excerpt from an article I just read in the Wall Street Journal.

BlueCollarJobsWhiteCollarEducation

If these are the expectations for blue collar jobs. What will they be for white collar jobs? So should you be qualified for a tech job?

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On Education

Parental Involvement In Schools


To all my friends with their kids still attending school. Don’t let your child be another statistic. Parental Involvement In Schools is needed as much as it ever has, maybe even more. Beef up your school IQ and then teach your child to fight his/her own battles.

What I am sharing with you in this post is wisdom for public school parents that I cultivated over a span of 30 years – teaching kids, consulting and coaching educators (from superintendents to the senior office manager), working in the private sector as HR Director, and now sending my own kids to public schools. Read it – twice if you have to. I know it’s a long read, but believe me when I tell you that your children will be grateful that you did – especially if they’re struggling in school right now.

My Original Thoughts About Parental Involvement

Not too long ago I wasn’t a big proponent of parental involvement in schools. I had been a teacher, an advocate, and even a parent trainer who taught about parental involvement in schools. After all that what I concluded was that parental involvement in schools didn’t help the educator. My philosophy switched to the following: The best help a parent can provide to a school is:

  • Make sure your child has a good night’s rest
  • Feed your child a complete and nourishing breakfast before school
  • Make sure your child starts homework assignments right after school
  • Discuss the homework and look at it before your child goes to bed
  • Reward your child for excellent performance, incentivize your child for very good performance, make it clear you expect better for mediocre performance, and hold your child accountable with consequences for sub-par performance

The Personal Experiences That Opened My Eyes

Had it not been for the repeated complaints my 15-year old daughter shared with me about her chemistry teacher, and my unimpressive interactions with my 12-year old daughter’s middle school principal, I would have remained oblivious to a harsh reality. That is that even if you do all the right things at home, and your kids show up to school every day, on time, and ready to work, they will still be assigned unaccountable, lazy, and half-hearted educators. At least some of them will be this way.

I thought that by setting high expectations for my kids, and providing a nurturing environment that put a high price on education, I had done enough. That is what my parents did, and it worked for my sisters and I. Having upheld my end of the bargain, I expected the teachers to reciprocate by checking for understanding, taking time to answer relevant questions, and making time to address the needs of students whom he or she couldn’t help during class. But, I was wrong.

The Best Parental Involvement In Schools Happens At Home

I thought that my kids had the advantage of having a first teacher, me, that is over-educated and willing and capable of assisting them with any assignment on any topic. My parents couldn’t do that for me. 

On top of that, knowing how adults are in general, I am also teaching my kids how to fight their own battles, and respectfully persist when an adult on the school district’s payroll didn’t give adequate response to a concerned student’s inquiry – no matter how annoyed that adult got. It’s amazing how unwilling some of these adults are to do their jobs right.

With all this knowledge of how school personnel should behave, and after teaching my children how to behave in schools I thought I could refute these tired approaches to parental involvement in schools still taught at parent institutes. And you know what? I was correct.

The Fruits of Teaching My Kid To Persist

My 15-year old visited her counselor twice, requesting a transfer out of her chemistry class. She explained that the teacher lectures. He doesn’t teach. The counselor naively shared that she couldn’t help, because if she did, she would have to transfer out all of the other students that had made the same request. Apparently, there are plenty. She indicated that she had already spoken to the teacher, but that she would again.

My kid simply asked “Well if you are telling me that so many students are complaining about this teacher, and you say that you’ve talked to him already, don’t you think there’s a problem that’s not for us (the students) to be dealing with?” The icing on the cake came when my kid said she would check in with the other chemistry teachers herself to ask if they had an open desk in their seating plan.

Sometimes We All Need a Reminder of What Our Job Is

Who knows what happened next, but my kid says her chemistry teacher has been teaching slower, and taking time to answer questions thoroughly. And guess what the students did as payback? The greatest number of students turned in their last completed assignment on time than for any prior assignment in the whole semester. Guess what they saw him do for the 1st time all semester? Smile.

Parents!!! Knowledge is power. Get knowledgeable. And pass it onto your kids. If not, they and you will get screwed. This the best advice I can give you about parental involvement in school.