Career Advice for Middle School Students?

March 2nd, 2011

Robert Merrill (I’m blogging about him tomorrow, too) asked for input for a presentation he’s doing on Friday for middle school kids.  I’m guessing they brought him in because he’s been a technical recruiter for a long time.  He asks:

…if you suddenly found yourself in middle-school today (12-15yrs old)…

…what one or two things would you want someone to inspire you about concerning your future career?

You can click over to his post to see what others said, including a short comment by me :)  I invite you to give your own advice there, too.

Here’s my advice:

START A BUSINESS.

Right now.  Today.

When else are you in an environment where you don’t count on your financial success to keep a roof over your head, food on the table or your laundry clean?

When else can failing at a business venture mean so little, both to your financial viability and to your ego (or, sense of professional well-being)?

I really have no other advice for these kids.  What a great time to try out various things to see what you like (for example, do you like the details of things, or the high level strategy, or delegating?).  What a great time to learn about cash flow, profit margin, customer service, operations, product delivery, pricing, time management, work ethic, business relationships and partnerships, etc.

I would love to see more kids involved in entrepreneurial ventures, not because they could become fabulously wealthy but because the skills they’ll learn in their ventures will be skills they will use for the rest of their careers!

What do you think?  What would you tell this group of kids to do (in preparation for their future career)?

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4 Responses to “Career Advice for Middle School Students?”

  1. Lew Sauder says:

    Start your own business in middle school. What a great concept. Not only would this teach them about cash flow, etc., it would teach them that a job isn’t just the drudgery of getting up early and putting in your time. It can be exciting and fun to make more money than the standard hourly wage. Entreprenuership isn’t for everyone, but this is a great time to get a taste of it that could last a lifetime.

  2. Sterling Bateman says:

    In the state of Utah, there is a web site called utahfutures.org desiged to help those in middle school on through the rest of their career.

  3. Sterling Bateman says:

    After my first reply today I found this
    Oregon CIS spawned the national office of CIS, now called intoCAREERS which is also housed at the University of Oregon. intoCareers staff do the research and programming for systems in 21 states (Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin).

  4. Rita Barber says:

    Put your focus on Plan A, don’t have a Plan B – it detracts from Plan A. That doesn’t mean you ignore obstacles – you have to deal with the roadblocks with your eyes wide open, but don’t give up on your dream, whatever it is.

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