How to ensure your kid is never unemployed

May 21, 2021 | 20-Somethings, Career Management, College Parents

Looking back over 800 clients and 18 years it’s clear that the majority of young people I work with lack practical skills they need to ensure they are never unemployed. Let me say that again. They don’t have the skills they need to never be out of a job. Which means somewhere along the line of their first 20 years on the planet, something is amiss.

I’d like to gingerly suggest to parents of all aged kids that you teach them, or pay someone else to teach them, how to do at least 5 of the following, so that they are able to jump into a part-time, temporary, or even full-time permanent job, anytime their little heart’s desire. Why? Because not working is crushingly soul-destroying. It robs them of purpose, it takes away their independence, and it allows the atrophy of their muscles. All of these things result in anxiety and depression. Which is why it is in everyone’s best interest to prepare them to always be able to be employed and self-sufficient.

1. Drive safely and confidently in the dark
2. Detail a car
3. Parallel park a car in under a minute
4. Drive a stick shift
5. Make a tidy bed
6. Clean a bathroom until it’s spotless
7. Steam clean carpet
8. Make a really great sandwich with at least 5 ingredients – in under 2 minutes
9. Carry 5 plates and 10 utensils at a time without dropping them
10. Take an order and serve a 3-course meal
11. Cook a 3-course meal!
12. Enter 50 lines of data with 0 errors
13. Work a cash register
14. Open, close and clean a pool, analyze water and add correct chemicals
15. Prepare beds for mulch and mulch
16. Know your weeds
17. Plant a tree
18. Power wash
19. Use a ride-on mower

Maybe you read this list and said to yourself, “I didn’t raise my kids to be a cleaner, or a cashier, or a landscaper! This school district is the best in the land and I’ve spent $200,000 on a college education.” True. True. Very true. But there will be times in your kid’s life, I can almost guarantee it, when they a) decide to leave their job because they hate it, b) get fired c) decide to go back to higher education or d) want to take a break from their careers to regroup. And it is at those times, when being easily able to jump into an income-generating job for a few months or more, while managing their existential crisis, is the best possible action. It will keep them independent, rather than moving back into their old rooms (much as you may feel warm and squishy just thinking about how adorable that would be.) It will keep their energy level up during the difficult time. It will give them less time to sit around and think about the negatives of their situation. And it will expose them to new people and new situations, all of which will give them greater perspective about the real world, not to mention hand them new friends and professional connections.

On a personal note, my ‘significant other’ told me to add, “most of these skills will suit them very well when they become homeowners themselves and are much easier to learn when they’re young.” This from a man who is just learning how to do pretty much all of those things at 58!

I would end this blog with the cliche “teach your children to fish” quote, but well, you already know it.

Have a great summer, and reach out if you need some counsel!

Jo Leonard