The Overlooked Link Between School and Work

Education is introduced as easy yet soon becomes grueling for many. Kids can’t leave K-12 curriculum. So some of them suffer through it. There are programs for those who struggle.

The School-Work Association

School is preparation for work. That’s obvious. Unfortunately, the details are overlooked. Most people work day shift jobs. Kids attend school within the same time frame. In both scenarios, attendance, punctuality, obedience to authority, development, and performance are emphasized. They get graded on it. Employees get paid for it. If those principles are violated, kids get detention, phone calls to parents, or suspensions. When workers do it, they get counseled, written up, or terminated.

A Bad Fit

Professionally unhappy adults continue gagging on bad jobs or wrong jobs because of the money. No wonder adults tend to hate (or dislike or remain unchallenged by) their work. They tolerate the wrong positions for too long (or at all). Kids unknowingly pick up on parents’ hidden feelings and opinions. Then they subconsciously emulate that behavior. Parents rarely tell children a bad fit exists.

Most parents wait until high school to pressure kids into choosing a career. That’s probably because the schools emphasize it then. If they dread the world of work, why wouldn’t their kids?

Oh, the Fear

Kids so fear disappointing parents academically that they’ll lie to avoid it. It could be about wanting to enroll in college. Maybe it’s about what jobs they want. They’ll say they’re aiming for the moon. It’s to relieve the pressure on them. They don’t realize that it doesn’t end. The parental pressure matures into professional pressure from peers and bosses.

On the upside, parental opinions matter to them. On the downside, they don’t think parents will accept disagreement on one of the biggest decisions in life. They also fear the consequences of standing by their words. Again, school is preparation for the workforce.


They shouldn’t have to suffer like this. We should be interested in directing them toward fulfilling work. Adults’ negative experiences in the professional realm don’t have to be theirs. A parent would have to construct a plan to change careers. Kids wouldn’t. To qualify for a dream job, Mom or Dad may have to volunteer or take a second job. Kids wouldn’t have to do anything that would jeopardize their personal relationships.

Think of all the things that would be asking a lot (or too much) of an established adult. Starting over, becoming the newbie, and internship are actions kids can safely take now. It’s early, so they are like blank slates. They have long futures ahead of them.


When they first start having academic problems, hire that tutor. Enroll them in summer school. Don’t wait until it is a gargantuan, costly task requiring surrender. Give them assessment and personality tests. They’ve probably got a marketable job skill they wouldn’t hate to use. With the proper launch, they’ll land on the moon.


20 Things We Forget About College

As parents, we forget some things along the way to launch our little adults into the world. Maybe we didn’t know these things in the first place. There’s no doubt that we haven’t always shared the workforce changes that are clear to the experienced.


  1. The most important thing is to research and choose a career. That will tell them if college is even necessary to achieve it. It usually isn’t for the first few years or more on a job.
  2. Accept that they may want jobs of which you don’t approve. In other words, they may not require college.
  3. They can have a gap year. They’re usually more interested in becoming free adults than in more school. This also helps if they’re undecided about a career.
  4. They shouldn’t be undeclared. Before you say it worked for you or someone you know, check the stats on that path. The time and money spent are non-refundable. Do more of them complete a program or drop out of college? If they graduate, how many of them don’t change careers by age 40? Did they finish under outside pressure or did they reach a professional conclusion? How much do they make in comparison to those who followed through from the start?
  5. Some students drop out despite talking a good game. Find out why. Living someone else’s dream, losing sight of a goal they don’t fully support, and hating school are a few reasons.
  6. College doesn’t take all day. This means that full-time students’ courses generally take less time out of the day than high school did. That leaves time for everything elseā€”part-time work, socializing, studying, and sleep. High school students wish the school day ended at noon. In college, the schedule can be arranged to facilitate that.
  7. They should work part-time and only in jobs pertaining to their majors. The advantage is that they can do it part-time, which is anything less than 40 hours a week. Sure, we know that, but where does it show? Anyway, no more of those Starbucks jobs to pay their share of the rent. Unless their career focus is on finance or retail…This era of their lives may be the only instance where they can risk this.
  8. It isn’t a magic bullet anymore if it ever was. Have we forgotten that if most people send their kids to college, more of them will end up closer to the bottom of the pyramid than the top?
  9. They may not make big bucks. The idea is to avoid poverty, not to keep up with the Joneses. We lose sight of that.
  10. We’re being vicarious and using them to achieve what we didn’t. There’s a lack of objectivity there. At some point, their dreams for themselves outweigh our dreams for them. Let go. The kids can handle it. We raised them, didn’t we? Meaning well but should step aside.
  11. Get an associate’s degree (or a certificate) along the way. Somewhere this can pay. Get all the gems possible while running from the monster. Isn’t that in a video game?
  12. Find an employer who will pay for that associate’s degree (or certificate). If they do make enough to be independent, the goal has been met! More college is optional then. Breaks are allowed.
  13. We don’t suggest that they act like adults even though that’s what they are. They can choose which days they attend school. Not having to go daily is a plus.
  14. Majors matter. They are not arbitrary. Some pay more. Others will compensate them well regardless of a lack of experience.
  15. We stress the four-year degree yet frown on the certificate and associate’s degree. Some students only have enough motivation to achieve one of these. If so, let it ride. It’s their truth, not ours.
  16. We hiss and throw the stink eye at vocational education because of for-profit schools. There are other places to get it. High schools and county government agencies are two examples.
  17. Employers pay for college. Encourage them to get jobs in industries they like. Anything can happen if a job (or culture) is the right fit.
  18. Have them find mentors for the careers they think they want. Do this whether they work, volunteer, or intern. These people can tell them if and when a degree will be necessary. It also initiates professional networking, which has proven success.
  19. It’s not all about making money. Telling them to aim for the highest of incomes could promote greed and materialism. Money doesn’t solve every issue. It can also create new ones.
  20. They can afford to make half of what you think they should. Roommates make this reasonable. Neither scenario has to be permanent.

Did I miss anything? Do you disagree? Was I clear? Tell me in the comments.