You are not a job counsellor

Dear Editor,

I found the piece titled “Teens should ditch ‘follow your dream advice” publishe in last Sunday’s paper quite interesting.

The matter reminds me of an exchange  of opinions - a while back, between the Editor of the  S.O. newspaper and a judge of the court regarding the shortness of a sentence given to a criminal. The editor was not too happy with the sentence-me too- so the judge answered him this way. “Mr editor I am not a journalist and you are not a judge.”

I would say the same thing to Ms McQueen: I am not a financial advisor and you are not a job counsellor.

I am going down the line refuting (mostly) or agreeing (hardly) on the points covered by her.

Firstly the title. Teens have ( who had not?) dreams and are passionate about something. Geniuses and successful men all over have proved this fact at galore. It would be more appropriate to say: “Teens should follow their dreams and be passionate about it.”  

Logically and her poor choice of statistically sampling is somehow erroneous. We all know that most of the mistakes (or success) are done when we were young and inexperienced.

You are blaming them for something they  have had  very little control of their choices at that age. Unfortunately the young follow the (well intentioned) advise of friends and relatives as to what career they should choose. 

Choosing a career is one of the most serious undertaking when we are young. If in doubt, the best choice  is to look for the advise of an experienced job counsellor. She mentioned that in her book she talked to career counsellors  and “they admitted their default advise”. Apparently she talked to inexpert career counsellors who give a bad reputation to the profession. 

My advise at this point Ms McQueen is to have a very serious hard look at the book written by Dr. B. Haldane: “How to Make a Habit of Success”. Unfortunately  not too many career counsellors know about the existence of this brilliant book.

In fact all the Fortune 500 corporations follow the expert advise of the inventor of the career counselling. By the same token most of the young people in the U.S.A., Canada and the U.K. strictly adhere to the guidelines  explained in the book when they plan to choose a career.

Why interview babies who don’t know why career life is all about.? At that age every girl wants to be an actress and every boy wants to make a lot of money. Too much TV and glamorous, magazines. True. 

You touched education and its cost. Fine. Let me define education for you. “Education is simple the acquisition of information and an indication of that ability to make such acquisition” You said “they come out with a degree that they don’t know what it means”.

Yes they do: they mean money for them. If that is what they are after. The transition you refer to the university degree to an industry, that is a total different  story all together. That is called  “job hunting” In fact my book : “Job Hunting; Sharpening Your Competitive Skills” deals exactly how to go about effecting that transition.

Now here is a point we must agree: “ now going to university does not mean you will get a job.” If that would be true, we would not have poverty per se. To be honest with ourselves. Getting a job is not that hard IF you know how to go about it.

And in this high tech life such help is available. If you have an education it gives you  an edge. If you have quality education your chances are better. By that I mean high quality teachers. Poor and leaderless countries like Samoa can’t afford that luxury. 

If you think you are college material and have some money (your own or borrowed) you can get any degree you WANT. And here is the crucial mistakes those kids make when they pursue degrees that they WANT. 

Wanting to get a degree and BEING QUALIFIED  to get that particular degree is as different like day and night.

Being qualified means that your skills-talent and abilities matches with great accuracy the skills needed to perform that particular job. And how do you find out what your skills are? Simple. Use SIMS (System to Identify Motivated Skills); and where do you find out what skills are needed for such and such jib? Consult the database called O*NET-Dictionary of Occupational Titles. 

Today there are more than 30,000 different occupations or careers in the United States. By the same token there are 4.5 million job vacancies. And why those vacancies are not filled? Simple. Because people looking for a job don’t have the skills needed to handle those jobs.

But the jobs are there, waiting for qualified applicants to fill them. The advise; get a degree for which you have the qualifications –not the one you want.

If you fill vacancies for the simple fact that those vacancies have to be filled you (the country0 suffer the consequences. Unfortunately that is a fact in Samoa. Being hired by a “panel” is like being  operated by the midwife. If this aberration is not corrected expect inefficiency, corruption, under performance, thievery, mismanagement, etc.

Here is a point that I have to strongly disagree with McQueen and her friend Edwards. They say: ”The problem with passions and dreams can change as people go thru life.” Is that so.

My dreams and passions have not change a bit since I was a child. You might not get your dreams to be real, but does not mean your dreams are going in smoke. No ladies, the dreams are still there, perhaps   unfulfilled. Dreams are like good soldiers and good teachers; they never die, only they fade away.

There is nothing to be disastrous about following your dreams and what you are passionate about. Did your dream was about going after money?- financial advisor. Successful people are those who follow their dreams and passion. Period. Nothing wrong with that.

What is wrong is when they choose a career or occupation they don’t find out for sure what they are good at, and only you can find out that if you follow the right career path. And only the experts can guide you in that direction.

The main reason why so many people (80 %) are unhappy in their jobs is because they chose the career they wanted, to realize later that they made the wrong choice. Only a small percentage (20%) have chosen the right job; meaning those jobs they  are qualified for. Waste of life? Of course.

Colleges and universities, even high schools, here and everywhere (like in the U.S.) should have what would be called a JOB COUNSELLING CENTER to scientifically guide potential careers seekers in the right path. I would pay special attention to those who are shooting for a dream job. Hard to do it? Not at all.

 That mission should squarely rest on the shoulders of the Minister of Education. Everywhere. By the same reasoning the ministry of CIL and I.L.O. should train unemployed youth using the most modern method of job finding.

In fact that book by yours truly can be found now at all the libraries in town, that method is seven times more effective than the traditional methods used here and in most countries. Two ex presidents of the U.S.S. praised that method.

Also the P.S.C. should eliminate once and for all the use of the so-called “panel” to choose critical positions in the government. They should hire professional interviewers to choose  scientifically who is the best quailified person to take up jobs like C.E.O.s and A.C.E.O.s.

By complying with the above statements the country will march forward. Why? Because we need people in the government who love people and satisfy their basic needs –read the Village Voice to realize the state of poor living of the most vulnerable portion of our population. Ministers  and CEOs dealing with these humanitarian acts sit comfortable in their offices without bothering to serve the people who pay their salaries. 

We need new blood, people with revolutionary ideas, initiative, imagination, ready to solve the deep problems facing the country. Look at our agriculture. Farmers barely feeding themselves with agricultural “techniques’ used at the time of Christ. Claiming for jobs to supplement their meagre earning from their plantation. What MAF-SACEP got to show for 5 years of “research”? The Fugalei maketi is still selling the “old suspects” (taro, banana, bread fruit, etc.) where are the oranges, apples, lettuce, fruit and vegetables? Big supermarkets are stocked with junk food from wall to wall. No wonder obesity and the NCD are kings among our poverty ridden country. 

By not doing so a trail of unemployed people will populate the streets, not knowing what to do with their time. And more likely they choose the easy and risky path of crime, thievery and prostitution to survive. Poverty is the common denominator. And think that some so-called leader assure us that there is no poverty in Samoa. Holly Toledo! Mama mia!.

Education is vital,(but not necessarily so, to succeed in life). But it helps a lot. Provided you look for a career, after you find out what you are good at. By bypassing this critical requirement, you ended up choosing the career you want. Maxim Gorky condensed this thought very nicely, he said; “ If your job is a pleasure life is a joy; if your job is a duty, life is slavery.”  Are there billionaires without an education ? Of course they are. Henry Ford was, so is Bill Gates. These two people , as an example, knew what they were good at and followed their dream, and they were or is passionate at what they did or do.

To finish this piece. Dreams never die, neither change with age. They may go unfulfilled, yes, but they are there, waiting for the right opportunity. Being passionate about something in life is a good indication of your desire to succeed. Remember this and remember well: dreams and being passionate about something in life are key factor to succeed at anything you pursue, anytime and anywhere.. No shortcut will do it. Easy to say it, but not impossible. Go fulfil your dreams, and never give up.


Orlando Huaman 


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