Tuning into the radio recently, I listened to a mother’s phone-in, wishing her grown up son a happy birthday. She also touched upon his successful career and how he “had proven his careers adviser wrong”.
It was then, that a faint red mist began to form around me.
I think careers advisers should be brought up to date with how their predictions have fared in the real world.
Some may want to use the description, “…should be named and shamed”, and maybe that does sound a little harsh. But then how about telling a young pupil, full of passion and a life ahead of them, that they will never achieve anything or succeed at their chosen vocation?
If advisers can dispense this sort of stringent advice on a child, then perhaps as adults, these dream crushers are big enough and ugly enough to have their names noted by those who have that fire in their belly, so they can look them up many years later and thank them – thank these advisers from their seats of success – for going out of their way to tell such pupil, that they will never amount to much. Seems fair to me.
Nothing to do with revenge. Success itself deals with that nicely. It’s just a rebalance. Cost and resources wouldn’t accommodate it, but perhaps an appraisal could be done on how effective, how accurate and how helpful these advisers really are.
There are far, far too many people out there who have had similar experiences. Bring this up in a conversation, sit back and listen. And how many stories like these do we hear about involving successful people in the public eye today and over the centuries? Some of them pioneers?
Steve McQueen, the director of Twelve Years A Slave, was in the same year as me at school, and explained, as a castaway for Radio 4 Desert Island Discs a couple of years ago, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04hml41 that he was treated as a non-achiever at school. It certainly had an impact.
Although I loved writing, I was never given any helpful steers. I think the advice I received was limp. I can’t remember. Though I did like drama and had my eye set on a course already.
Of course, these negative experiences have a flip side. Those determined will go forth and prove these people wrong. This is where the opportunity to give thanks could come in.
Reality TV tracks down human angels 30, 40, 50 years after they saved the life of an abandoned baby or angels who perform life- saving actions before disappearing into the night. Programmes are created to reunite the rescued with the rescuer. We have celebrities name and talk about their most inspiring teachers. We like to focus on circumstance and consequence and platform those whose lives have been shaped as a result.
Why do advisers dispense crushing verdicts on the people who want to make their chosen career work? Some people don’t blossom in the school environment; excel with a different type of teaching, shine in specialist schools or really come into their own at university or excel in vocational training. The people who really aren’t going to make something with their lives DON’T turn up to these career meetings – though, I will hastily add that there are some exceptions for absences.
There are some extremely bright children, sometimes disguised as under achievers who have already spotted something truly helpful; that they have absolutely nothing to learn from these advisers.
To be honest, knowing what I know now, and with a bit of fire in my belly, I would never turn up to a careers advice talk. What, to be crushed? Na. If I never get there, I know that somewhere along that journey will be my vocation. I’ll be the happiest I could ever be, knowing also that I chose – not someone else – and gave it my best shot.
What do you think?