While America's high schools and colleges succeed in so many areas, most fail when it comes to teaching their students how to get hired for their first job.
In this segment from Industry Focus: Financials, host Gaby Lapera is joined by Fool contributor Daniel Kline to discuss those gaps in many people's education. In addition, Lapera shares her thoughts on what happens when someone graduates from college without ever having worked before. The two also talk about what young people may learn from working a bad job and how even tough experiences prepare them for their future professional life.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on June 28, 2017.
Gaby Lapera: I think the other type of skill that's really good to have, and knowledge to have in general, is how to get a job. How to interview. And also, not being scared of working. I went to school with a couple of kids who graduated college and had never worked before. They didn't even work in college, like, at the local ice cream parlor for fun money. Nothing. So they were all so scared to go to their first job, because they'd never been out in the real world and worked with other people. And realistically, most people out there are not super geniuses. You're not going to get to your first job and be the dumbest one there or the worst one there. You're probably average, if anything.
Dan Kline: You talked about working in an ice cream parlor. I ran a giant toy store. While that turned out to not be my life's work, you learn a lot of things. And you say -- the kids who worked for me, mostly kids, in that store, they learned what it was like to get yelled at by a jerk. Not me, the customers.
Lapera: [laughs] Yep.
Kline: So if you have a customer who, sometimes it's ridiculous. It was a hobbyist who wanted a color of paint that hadn't been made in 20 years, and we made every effort to show them what we did have and could get, and they would scream at you. Well, in the real world, people scream at you sometimes. And you have to learn how to handle that professionally, and how to move on. So putting your kids in work situations where they interact with people where they have to learn that life isn't fair -- sometimes someone can be terrible to you, and you have to sit there and say, "Yes, sir, I'm sorry that you're not happy." And obviously there's a point where it pushes into abuse, where the manager has to get involved and escort someone from the room. But whether it's being a busboy or any level of public interaction, or even just working in a back office doing filing, the world isn't pleasant. And I have had some young employees who, in the journalism video game space, had never been criticized. And when, in the normal round of them handing in their work, I would say, "It would be nice if you had a shot of that," literally as mild as that, tears.
So you have to make sure your kids are ready. It's just like in sports -- if you don't keep score and everybody gets a trophy, the first time you do keep score and your kid realizes he lost, it's going to be very bad. So they need that experience, especially the academically gifted ones, of not being good at something. Were you really great at your job at the Fool, as good as you are now, on day one?
Lapera: Absolutely not.
Kline: I wasn't. I worked with our former editorial director. I think four of my first five ideas were rejected -- flat-out, "We're not publishing this, it's terrible." And I had 15 years of journalism experience at that point. You have to get a hard skin, and you have to learn that really early on.
Lapera: I think it's helpful -- you're just going to have an easier time of it when it's time to be on your own.