Throw Out the Trophies!

It does not seem possible, given the high unemployment rate, that companies report they are having difficulty filling jobs.  The “real unemployment rate” is between 16.6% and 22.7%, not the reported 9.1%. You can see the explanation here and prove it to yourself. No one in the media is reporting this.

The WSJ came out with The Journal Report on Monday – the lead article Why Companies Aren’t Getting the Employees They Need reported:

– 52% of US Companies report difficulty filling jobs

– 47%  of employers blame the prospects lack of hard job skills or technical skills

– 35% cite of a lack of candidates experience


Dr. Cappelli who wrote the article and lays the blame at our educational system and at companies for not doing the training and apprenticeship programs like in the past. I agree fault can be found in both arenas and what about the potential employees themselves? Could it be they can share the blame?


trophy-3-midCould it be the responsibility is with many of today’s Trophy Generation? When I was a kid, only the champion of the league got trophies or medals, not everyone on every team in the league like it has been for decades in the USA. We came to believe that the American child’s ego is a delicate flower that needs to protected and nourished.  If an ego is not protected, the child may very well feel distressed or sad. This might lead to self-esteem issues which, if requiring the help of a therapist to overcome, might lead to lawsuits against whoever didn’t give the kid a prize for just participating.

Do you believe that it is still very possible to achieve success ? I do because there are so many satisfied with being mediocre. They are average and OK with it. Just look around you each day. How many people do you run into who are switched on and truly great at what they do? We have embraced mediocrity and entitlement. Each day the entitlement mentality grows in America and has led us and much of the world to the brink of disaster.

Just look at the current Occupy Wall Street movement. What does that even mean? What do they want to have happen – an even bigger government? That has not been working too well. Check out this montage of signs from the event in NYC. A big complaint of many there seems to be this: I went to college, I deserve a job.  I think we have pushed the “follow your passion” movement too far. It has to be balanced with reality.

Going into debt for $138,000 and walking away with a degree in Poetry, Art History, Philosophy, Native American Feminism, Recreation and Leisure Studies may not be a good idea. Especially when the total student loans now exceeds the nation’s credit card debt at 1.0 trillion and counting . There are now 111 colleges in the USA that cost over $50,000 a year! I agree with Bill Goss, founder and Managing Director of PIMCO, ” College was great as long as the jobs were there.” Read the entire article here .

Wouldn’t it be better, if you had that kind of money to invest, to instead create/buy a business and train your child to run it?

That way you create a salable asset and have no debt! College or technical schools (enrollment has been booming) can be a good investment for many to acquire tangible skills that are in demand in today’s economy . I know I am reconsidering the common track of attending college for our kids (14, 12 and 7) right now. I think it requires a paradigm shift around education, creating income and a lifestyle. Money is an exchange of value not time. Do you believe that?

Many think it is unfair that some earn so much money. It is not the hour of time, it is what happens in that hour. How much value do you bring to the hour? If you have skills that are easily duplicated than you severely limit your earning ability.

The question is; what are you willing to do each day to become more valuable? Are you actively working on yourself each day, not just on your job? There are many with a great education, perhaps even earning an MBA or even a PhD who do not have the common sense, people skills or ability to apply their knowledge to be a great employee. They may be darn near unemployable.

What can you do? I suggest you adopt what I call the 4% Solution – invest 4% of your day, one hour, back into the most valuable resource you have – you! Are you getting better? Are you more valuable than your were five years ago? What is your plan? It is even more important the farther you are into your career. You must believe that you are good and that you can get better!

What do you think? I would love to hear from you.

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