My Advice to Unemployed Youth: CAN and DO !!!


My advice 1: Find the one thing you are very good at, love to do and SPECIALIZE in that. And you will be appreciated by the community for your unique contributions. 

In Europe and USA unemployment of young people, even highly educated, is rising to alarming levels. The crisis strikes them hard. There are simply not enough jobs, they are not ‘hiring’. On the contrary. The big plan of managers is to let half of personel work twice as hard for half of former pay, right? Solution to go  back to school or stay in your parent’s house is not a real one. The numbers are staggering: from 25% to even 50% or more unemployed youth. The ILO talks about the ‘discouraged generation’ because the numbers may even be higher because many are so discouraged by rejections that they do not even try anymore. And once you are out of the rithem of school or work it gets harder and harder to DO anything anymore. If the young are society’s “Capital for the Future” we are in big trouble if nothing is done to stop this waste of energy, skills, talent and creativity.

That brings me to my key point: Find something you CAN and then DO IT !! I have seen it all around me everywhere and it starts to become a pattern. Sometimes despite discouragement at first of parents who had these “high hopes” (rich managers, successful bankers 😦 ) for their children, the boy or girl finds something they REALLY want to do and then go for it. Example: a boy in Rotterdam went to France to study in a bakery how the real French Baguette is made. He now imports the right grinded wheat and grain from France and runs a bakery in Rotterdam for bread that each morning hundreds and hundreds of people stand in line for to buy. Declicious.  Yes it is hard work and he still learns new skills in his craft he really enjoys doing. Everywhere you can see that there is a  real demand for CRAFTSMEN and CRAFTSWOMEN.

So my advice to the young is: get out of this ratrace for identical job-skills which are interchangable and find yourself something you can do and want to grow into by learning from a mastercrafsman/women (yes they are still around). The objective is to make things or do things or write software that is unique, has room for improvement by you and gets better every time you DO it. Yes, there are bricklayers and bricklayers. Repair (getting things working again) is a valuable and very satisfying skill too. 

What are these Crafts? Sure, we should define craftsmanship far more broadly than “skilled manual labor”. Writer Richard Sennett maintains that the computer programmer, the doctor, the artist, and even the parent and citizen engage in a craftsman’s work. Craftsmanship names the basic human impulse to do a job well for its own sake, says the author, and good craftsmanship involves developing skills and focusing on the work. Go take a look in your local FabLab (see my blog about the OP TILLT TROFEE). Yes it takes time to become a master in something, and most of what you learn is Tacit Knowledge (unwritten tricks and ways of doing something, which have to be shown to you to be believed).  But it gives great satisfaction and you earn respect. What will it be for you? I do not have a clue. Could be something weird, like welding optic fibers together without using spit. Not many can do that well and demand will be huge soon. Kid, you will find it soon enough and maybe it is already staring you in the face: YOU CAN & DO !!  (new slogan for Obama??). In every one of us there is something you are, or will be, very good at and will drive you through whatever obstacles.

My advice 2: Once you have been recognized by others as a crafsperson who really can do things, start to communicate and collaborate with other such giants who have complementary crafts, to solve problems together. You can lean a lot from each other during the project. And can test each other if you/they can deliver on promises. Yes by this combining and mixing skills you create new value (by synergy) and new jobs for others too.

For the rest of us: Give the kids who start such skillful carreer big cheers. Just stop and think for a moment how many of your friends and collegues can really DO SOMETHING well, instead of just talk about it making lots of hot air, plan, manage and all resulting in zip?? Not many of them, right! So if kids do, give them applause and buy their unique high quality stuff.

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3 Responses to My Advice to Unemployed Youth: CAN and DO !!!

  1. Sara Wedeman says:

    Thank you very much, Brother Jaap.

    I am wondering: do you have any advice for unemployed adults? We have financial commitments – families to support, mortgages to pay, and more. We also bring to the table abundant and up-to-date skills, the benefit of experience, maturity, and – in some cases – wisdom. Yet, the primary reaction we seem to evoke among employers is distaste combined with a desire to flee the premises. It is as if we were carriers of a deadly, infectious disease, e.g., the bubonic plague. I endorse the notion and value of persistence, but sometimes persistence – even when wedded to passion (ingenuity, creativity, and blah blah blah, et infintum et nauseum) is not enough.

    I eagerly await your advice on this matter. Given the breakthroughs precipitated by your groundbreaking work, I do not doubt for a second that you have something constructive to say on this matter.

    • broodjejaap says:

      The problem with “regular jobs” ,i.e. not the resurrected Crafts jobs I recommend to the young, is that in several countries the reaction to the recession & crisis is not to hire at all but to fire. The managers think they are very clever to ((simpified:)) fire half of the workers, let them do twice as much (theirs and that of their fired collegues) and pay them half of their former salaries, since those that remain are scared xxxx-less to be fired too. The consequence however is that those that are really able to handle the load, will leave fast since they know what they can and that they are valuable.
      That is the Angst that managers will have now or soon: that not the bad but the best will leave to get better offeres elsewhere.

      That is where experienced people like you can come in. Offer to the Dilbert bosses that you can come in and train and coach the Dilberts, as a special treat and attention, signaling that the company values them and wants them to stay. Be a Yedi master to the young!! I am sure you can.

  2. Pingback: Postcapitalism and the city — P2P Foundation | The Connectivist

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