And then… what do you do after graduating?

It isn’t just the twenty-somethings who are asking questions


Ever since we’ve started blogging about our book, Kickstart: How Successful Canadians Got Started, we’ve been getting a lot of unexpected responses from those younger than us, trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives. When we first started interviewing well-known Canadians for the book (when it was still just a “project”), the aim was to pass everything we learned on to others of our generation, those members that Time Magazine had labelled “The Twixters.” A great number of our friends had just graduated from university and weren’t quite sure what road to take, what jobs to pursue, what to do next. We thought learning about successful people in arts, business, politics, etc. could help all of us get a clearer picture about the many opportunities out there.

But, with time, we realized something. Clearly, young people wanted to know about careers in their particular fields (like the story of cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Tirone David) or about those who did things a little differently (think of House creator David Shore). But it wasn’t just the twenty-somethings who were asking questions. Those in a younger generation, those still in high school, wanted to know more.

Maybe it’s obvious. It seems that students at an even younger age are concerned about what their future holds in store. Especially now, when there are so many opportunities (notwithstanding the current economic turmoil). What’s the best way to become a doctor? A lawyer? A writer? An activist? These are questions that all high school students should at least be considering. And, often, they can have an impact on where (or even if) one chooses to go to college or university.

Our goal with Kickstart is for teenagers to take note: of the possibilities out there, of the routes to take and of the great lessons learned from those Canadians who have been there before us.


And then… what do you do after graduating?

  1. Are there *really* “so many opportunities” out there? In fact, sociologists who study youth (e.g., Côté & Allahar; Furlong & Cartmel) have demonstrated, very convincingly and with much data, that this is not the case — at least not compared to previous generations. In fact, today, youth are one of the most under-employed, under-paid, and, in a word, exploited groups in society. One of the reasons for their predicament is the collapse of the youth labour market (roundabout the early 1980s) and significant economic changes (i.e., decline of manufacturing/industry and a shift towards a ‘service economy’). There can only be so many cardiovascular surgeons, big shot TV series creators, doctors, lawyers, and high demand writers. Of course, if you ask me, we certainly need more activists — to change this crappy situation. No doubt, youth need to know more about possible career routes. But are a few good success stories really going to help the vast majority of youth when such stories do not reflect the reality of our social and economic structures? I doubt it.

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