Earn Your GED, Get An Entry Level Job...Maybe

by Samantha
(Whiting, Indiana, USA)

It's a jungle out there for high school AND college graduates!

It's a jungle out there for high school AND college graduates!

There are all these GED tests. I took a GED practice test and now I've been done with high-school for 3 years.

I haven't really been able to figure out what I want to do with my life. I'm the only child left in my home. My brother just got married and my other two sisters have been out of the house for years.

I took a year off from all studying and now for 2 years I've been wandering around my house, looking for things to do.

I was never really able to get a solid job after high school, just little jobs here and there from family. Working at a burger joint or waitressing is just not my thing. But this is supposed to be the only thing I'm qualified to do, I guess.

Now my parents are saying that I need to go to college just to get an entry-level job to pay my way through school and get some traction in life. But I don't feel that's right for me.

I was supposed to qualify for entry-level work just with a GED!!

I started researching about entry-level jobs in my area. It horrified me to learn that even college grads can't secure entry-level jobs!

I have zippo experience at anything except washing dishes, fixing my room and eating food, and babysitting. But after seeing what college grads are going through, I've become nearly hopeless even though college isn't what I want to do.

I came across your site while researching for trade schools. It gives a lot of good advice, I think, about starting your own business and how to get out of that box that everyone is trying to stuff themselves into. In other words, the rat race my mon and dad keep talking about.

But what should I get into? A rat race?! I don't think so!

I know nothing that I could do to get started on building a business quickly. I mean, to me looking for entry-level job opportunities is like looking for a strand of blond hair in a hundred stacks of hay. I don't even have a resume...

I would like to try out what you're saying about becoming a contractor in a specific area of work. The trouble is, how can I figure out what to get into? How do I find out where my talents lean? And how will I know whether I will be good at it or not?

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----- Arturo's Reply to Samantha -----
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Dear Samantha,

When lions are first introduced to a pride of their own kind, the cubs typically lack confidence around the adults, except toward those who raised them, namely their mothers.

But a time comes when every cub must grow up and take its place in the pride. It takes a while, but by play acting as stalkers and even challenging other adults, the cubs become ready to hunt.

This is the way of the jungle. It is not the way of man, unless you believe that man is an animal and wishes to behave as one.

The way of man is to be the follower of an elder, completing appointed work as a pupil along a productive trajectory until he develops sufficient proficiency to undertake the assigned work without further guidance, at which point the pupil may become a master to a younger follower.

This is known by the ancient term of discipleship and it's the cultivated way of thinking about education.

You're first a disciple of your parents. They delegated responsibility for your instruction to others, such as your school teachers. You chose to fire the lot by taking a GED test.

But as you still live with your parents, you are still their follower. Let me, therefore, not outright contradict their advice to you to pursue for greater knowledge, if they cannot impart it to you any further. However, let me say that you are correct to question college as the single most important source of knowledge, and this is worth discussing with them.

Although you do not regret opting out of the college alternative you do bemoan your lack of experience. Yet in the same breath you speak of your experience in household affairs.

Assuming that you've been competent in your work at home and diligent in completing whatever your family has given you to do over the last few years, there is no reason why you should see yourself as ignorant of what it takes to get some assignments done.

The question here is how marketable are you with the experience and knowledge that you do have.

You ask a series of question in the end that are very appropriate to consider in your situation. What you should get into, for instance, depends on what others want, not on what you want. This should take some pressure off of having to ask yourself first and foremost what your talents are.

Rather, look where other people's talents are failing them and ask whether they want these inadequacies resolved for them. That's the time to ask yourself whether you can resolve them and how.

Do you know new moms who have to make it back to the rat race to keep the lifestyle that they want but who also want their new baby to be cared for by someone they trust?

If the answer were yes, then that's the time to ask yourself "Could I be good at babysitting a newborn or 2 all day?"

The same goes for knowing whether tired mothers, disorganized singles, hungry college frats or busy executives want to spend their precious little time washing, cleaning, driving on errands, cooking or rather trading some of their less precious cash for some of your available labor.

If you apply the same kind of thinking to any other use of your skills, whether you refine them through on-the-job training or schooling, you'll do far better than anyone who presumes that a diploma from any college or trade school will buy them a job.

Jobs, even entry level jobs, are not for sale. Jobs are the buyers. You're the one for sale.

And if you fail to sell yourself well, no job will hire you, no matter who you paid to vouch for you, namely college professors with their words of accreditation written on a piece of paper called your diploma.

Please write back if you have further comments or need additional help. You don't have to let the jungle swallow you up.

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