Today’s post is going to ruffle some feathers, but that’s the way it goes. When you’re young, older people offer an abundance of well meaning career advice that is often outdated. I am 44 years old, so you can imagine the career advice that I was given in the early 1990s… go to college, get a job, save for retirement. Sounds pretty familiar, right? There are still a large number of families and guidance counselors giving this advice to teens today. I know this because I have a teen, and I see what messages he’s getting from his high school. The cherry on top of that career advice was, “become a teacher. You’ll get summers off and have the same schedule as your kids.” Sounds pretty logical, right? This advice was obviously given by someone who was not a teacher in public education. Today, I am going to share the reality of being a teacher and the career advice that I wish I had been given and that I am giving to my children today.
A Teaching Career: The Lies They Tell
If you’re a teacher, let me say that I have the utmost respect for you and what you do. I was a public high school physics teacher for 12 years. In that time, I met some truly amazing young people that I still keep in touch with today. It was my privilege to teach and mentor them, and that was the high point of my teaching career. However there is a big hairy set of lies being perpetuated to get more people into the teaching profession. The first big lie is that you’ll work from 8 to 3. The first two years of my teaching career, I easily worked 60 -80 hour weeks. I wrote lesson plans, created engaging labs and projects, graded countless papers, stayed late to set up laboratory supplies, and worked on individual modifications and record keeping to document meeting requirements for student IEPs. After the first two years, I changed districts and had a bit more support. My work hours cut back to 60 hours a week. I still worked evenings and weekends for what averaged out to be HALF of minimum wage. As a Texas teacher, I did not qualify for social security. After paying for childcare, I did not have enough extra to pay into a retirement fund much less pay my modest mortgage without my spouse’s income. Summers were spent in required inservice and staff development, and when there was time for rest there was no money for vacation.
The second lie is that your job as a teacher is important and respected. Let me clarify… it IS important, but it is clearly not understood or respected. I had two situations where I was assigned to be a mentor for two men who decided to leave careers in engineering and physics to be physics teachers. You know the old saying, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” That is utter BS, and as evidenced by these two men teaching is one of the hardest jobs a person could ever have. They left careers in their chosen field because it was too stressful. They came to teaching because they thought it would be easier. The first one lasted 3 months before he finally just stopped coming to work. I found boxes of ungraded papers behind his desk, and he would not answer his phone. He finally turned in his resignation stating that teaching was “the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.” The second gentleman lasted longer. He was young and had flunked out of graduate school (he was going for a masters in physics), and he thought that teaching high school level physics would be a piece of cake. His knowledge level was adequate, but he was unable to interact with students, faculty, and parents. He finally left after a year and a half to avoid a virtual lynch mob who were after him. He did not know how to deal with students who refused to pay attention and do their work and the parents who blamed him for their child’s failure. This is the reality of what teachers deal with.
The third lie is that schools are focused on student education. This is the most egregious lie of all. Ask any classroom teacher, and they will tell you that the pressure to get students to perform on state assessments is immense. There is no time for inquiry based, interest led learning in public schools because teachers are forced to drill test taking skills even starting at the Kindergarten level. School administrators know that funding depends on test performance, so that’s the bottom line that they tow. State legislators who overwhelmingly have zero experience with public education beyond their own days as a student many years prior call the shots and pass laws that they think will improve the system, but the impact is quite the opposite. Instead of having time to pursue topics of interest and nurture a love of learning by occasionally exploring topics of student interest, teachers are saddled with packets of worksheets and curriculum guides with strict schedules forcing them to be on the same page as every other teacher in that subject and grade across the district.
So if you made it through all of that, you’re probably a teacher or educator in some form. My point here is not to whine, but to point out the reality of the situation that was presented as the perfect “mommy career advice” that is given to so many bright, capable young women. Upon reaching my mid 30s, I was living paycheck to paycheck, spending almost zero quality time with my family, horribly burned out with my career, and had almost zero retirement savings. And if I didn’t change what I was doing, this was never going to change. Where did it all go wrong?
Why Society Pushes Kids To Go To College
A college degree seemed to be the Holy Grail for this small town girl. No one in my family had a college degree, and I was very bright. Like any parents, mine wanted better for me, so that is the direction they pushed. My dad narrowly graduated from high school because his skills in english composition were poor. However, he was a math whiz, a hard worker, and the best problem solver that you’ll ever find. After he returned from serving his tour in the army, he started working a milk delivery route for Borden milk company in Houston, Texas. He saw that the franchise owner was making good money, and the harder he worked, the more he made. So when my dad got the chance in the early 1970s to purchase a Pepperidge Farms bread franchise in Houston, he jumped on it. He built that up over 17 years to be recognized as the top producer in the Houston area, and one of the top salesmen in the entire company. He was naturally good with people and had good business instincts. My mom was able to stay at home with us full time, we owned our own home, my family purchased a farm, and we went on multiple trips each year. Yet even though my parents were living the American dream of the self made kind, they still steered me away from business and toward college.
To them and most others, a job meant security. Back in my parent’s day, an average white collar worker stayed with the same company for 20-30 years. Changing jobs or even careers was an uncommon event. Work hard, follow the rules, and you had job security. That all changed when the Texas oil boom turned into a bust. Luckily, my parents sold their bread franchise months before the economy bust, and we moved to our farm in central Texas. Farming is hard, and you lose more money than you make. Lucky small farms can manage to break even, but we weren’t so lucky. This happened in my teen years, and I am sure it was a huge factor in the push for me to go to college. It seemed like good advice at the time. Were you given this kind of advice?
The Times Have Changed
If you look at the current economy and job market in America and compare it to the state of things just 40 years ago, you will see stark differences. Taxation and automation have reduced the amount of manufacturing in America.
A quick look at the infographic above from the United States Census Bureau reveals that manufacturing jobs have seen a sharp decrease while jobs focused on serving the aging population of baby boomers has seen a sharp increase. Other areas are pretty stagnant despite our rapidly growing population. So even if the same proportions of students are heading to college to major in English, History, or other Liberal Arts fields, many of them will end up making your daily non-fat double shot latte with extra cinnamon. Numbers do not lie. So what is a young person to do to have the best chance of living the American dream in today’s economy?
Career Advice From A Former JOB Slave
I always have been and still am a vocal proponent of education. I love to learn, and I feel strongly that everyone should keep learning daily. There are many ways to learn and improve yourself, but don’t let the model of education that you probably experienced in public education set the bar for the learning that will shape your life. Here are some great ways to invest your time that will deliver big results in your lifetime success.
Read Good Books
Read books by world changers and about world changers. Study those who are shaping the world, and take notes. Here is a good list of books to start with. If you’re busy, get the audiobook version and listen while you workout, commute, or do the dishes. Make the time to invest in yourself. Read at least 1 self development book each month.
Network On Purpose
Look at your circle of friends. Are your friends talking about important things, encouraging you to grow, being positive and uplifting? Or are your friends glued to their game system, drinking and partying everyday, or constantly complaining about everyone and everything? We become the average of the 5 people that we spend the most time with. Up your average by being selective about who you allow on your island. While you are striving to better yourself, surround yourself with people who are doing the same. If you are the only one in your circle who is trying to better themselves, you’ll be the crab trying to climb out of the bucket. The other crabs with you will latch on to you and pull you back in. Be selective about finding your tribe and vote the losers off your island.
Hang out with other people who are set on improving themselves and the world. Look for points of light, and BE a point of light that attracts others. Connect with these people, and get to know them. Just collecting Facebook friends isn’t enough. Invest the time in getting to know these high quality people and become a value creator. When you look for and find ways to provide value to others, you will become someone they know, like, and trust. You will build a high quality network that will be your biggest asset. Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you know but who you know?”
Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty
This is the title of a great book by Harvey McKay that teaches a true life and business principle that is foreign to the average American these days. The average person spends more time watching Netflix than building a financial pipeline each day. If you’re going to school or working 9 to 5, you still have a lot of free time to build a financial pipeline that will continue to produce revenue for you while you eat, sleep, drive, and hang out at home. Take a look at your daily activities. How many hours do you spend watching a screen? Maybe it’s television, gaming, apps, or social media that eats up your time. What could you accomplish if you were to utilize that time differently? What will your life be like in 5 years if you do nothing?
Start A Business
You may be thinking, “Wait! I’m only X years old, and I’m broke. How am I supposed to start a business?” You’re right. The average brick and mortar business owner invests an average of $59,000 to start a business and will not see a profit for the first 5 years. 90% of new traditional businesses fail. So why in the heck am I encouraging you to start a business? I do this because I know that most of those who fail are not doing the right things. You must educate yourself.
What if I told you there was a business model where you as the business owner do not have to bother with employees, overhead, payroll, inventory, shipping, and maintaining a store? There is a business model that operates on the BEST form of advertising: word of mouth. These word of mouth businesses must have the best products available because they depend on raving word of mouth recommendations from enthusiastic customers. This model is network marketing. Are you surprised?
A record 20.5 million people were involved in network marketing in the United States in 2016, a 1.5% increase from the previous year. 5.3 million are building independent businesses as network marketers, meaning they are actively managing a customer base and possibly sponsoring others to do the same. 800,000 of these people are full-time and 4.5 million are part time. In addition, 15.2 million others receive a discount on products and services that they personally enjoy and use. Estimated direct retail sales of $35.54 billion in 2016 is the second most in network marketing history. 80% of all six figure earning women do it through network marketing!
Network marketing is simply a marketing model that pays the independent distributors the money that other companies spend on commercials that you skip with your DVR. Average companies depend on selling high volumes of below average quality products produced as cheaply as possible to maximize profits. Network marketing companies focus on having the HIGHEST QUALITY products at a fair price paying the people who use and love the products to advertise them. Can you see the logic in this model? In this age of things going “viral”, the network marketing model is easy to understand. Network marketing invented the concept of “going viral” long before the presence of the internet.
Create Multiple Streams Of Income
There is nothing like getting laid off or getting injured to teach you the value of having multiple streams of income. A job offers slavery, not security. At any time and with little to no notice, you can find yourself unemployed or disabled with no income. Even with disability insurance, you may find it difficult to maintain your lifestyle on 60% of your current salary. How many months’ expenses are currently in your savings account? Do you have a savings account? What would you do if your paycheck didn’t get deposited? A large majority of Americans do not have a plan B. If their primary income stream were to fail, they would be homeless. Are you one of those Americans?
Like I mentioned earlier, the best time to dig your well is before you’re thirsty. What side projects could you add to your life that will generate residual income without taking up a lot of your time? Utilize online tools to leverage your time. An excellent way to do this is to determine a niche that interests you and develop an email list of people interested in that niche. Communicate with them regularly to develop a relationship and trust factor, then market affiliate products to them while continuing to provide TONS of value. You can create targeted lead magnets that your audience will gladly exchange their contact info to receive. Here’s how you do that.
How To Take Action Today
Today is the best day to start building a financial pipeline. Building a pipeline means that one day, you will be able to simply turn on the faucet and let the revenue stream run without hauling buckets of water. Depending on a job is like hauling those buckets. If you stop hauling the buckets (working), you will run out of water (money). You deserve more from life!
When evaluating any opportunity, there are a few key factors to look for. The first is leadership. Are you joining arms with experienced, hands on leaders who will guide and coach you into replicating their success? Is the company run by ethical leaders with a good business track record? The second factor is the product or service. Is the product or service unique and highly desirable? Does purchasing the product require your customer to change their lifestyle or buying habits? People naturally resist change, so if the shift is a small one from what they are already buying you will have a higher rate of success and conversion in the long term. The third factor is timing. Although there are some good network marketing companies who have been around for ages, the chances of earning a very large residual income with them is limited due to market saturation. Finding a cutting edge company that is newer on the scene and meets the previously discussed requirements gives you maximum potential for generating a very large income stream. When you find a company that combines all of these factors, then you’re setting yourself up for success in the best way possible!
Are You Motivated and Teachable?
If you are looking for the best opportunity with amazing leadership, a unique and exceptional product, and a model that has proven success with easy to duplicate models, contact me to see if my opportunity is right for you. My team is moving FAST and is open to adding other highly motivated, coachable influencers to link arms with. You will look back on the day that you decided to begin this journey as the day that you began creating the future of your dreams!