Good advice to college students on coping with the new economy is even better advice for anyone in the work place

The Via Meadia reprint of their advice to college students from 3 years ago applies even better to those of us in the work force. The rules of the economy have changed radically and we better know what is going on around us or we will be in trouble. The post is Back to School.

Here are the major headings, my thoughts, and a few quotes

1.  The real world does not work like school.

The structured bureaucracy of schools (sit down, take notes, read this, write a paper on that, complete a quiz on these dates) is radically different from the work world. If your work environment is like that today, your job is in danger.

If you don’t understand that point, you really need to read the full article.

Creativity, integrity and entrepreneurial initiative will pay off; following the old rules and hoping for the old rewards is a road to frustration.

2.  Most of your elders know very little about the world into which you are headed.

Most college profs, your parents, almost everyone working in the professions, and most people in the work force don’t realize how radical the changes will be in our near future.

Don’t lean too hard on advice from those folks.  All the rules have changed.

3.  You are going to have to work much, much harder than you probably expect

5.  Get a traditional liberal education; it is the only thing that will do you any good.

For those of out of college, the choices of classes to take doesn’t apply.

Two concepts do apply:

Be a life-long learner.

If you studied hard in college, you need to study half or quarter that hard every week you are working. If you didn’t hit the books much then, you need to do that same amount every week, year in and year out.

Maintain that pace until after you retire or you will get left behind.

If you work mostly with your brain instead of brawn, you have to keep learning new stuff as fast as you were in college or you will be obsolete sooner or later.

Second, learn outside your field of expertise.

Try to have as broad a reading list as you can. I’ve read lots of economics books this year.

Over the last few years I’ve read half a dozen pop psychology books. All great stuff that stretches my brain. Also stuff that helps understand people and organizational dysfunctions.

6.  Character counts; so do good habits.

Behave as if everything is public. Things that are not public may become so very soon, and at a time not of your choosing.

(I)n a world in which employment is less secure, competition tougher, and your reputation for integrity and productivity are the most important assets you have, character is going to count.

Check out the full article. It is long, but provides good ideas on coping with the radical change around us.

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