People often set independent, home-study educational goals for themselves and then, before long, bail out on the goal. Many career opportunities are only available to those who are willing to take the initiative to read and learn on their own. What can be done to help people to take advantage of the employment opportunities that come from books?
For example, consider the case of reading a book which teaches something useful about computers. This is a book which will, as you read it, add to your marketable job-skills and useful life-skills. No matter what level someone is currently at in their knowledge of computers, they can certainly find a book that will teach them something useful – and a book that will meet them where they are at. The goal is do-able, worthwhile and profitable. So why do people tend to start and then give up?
10 x 30 = 300
The simplest explanation is that most people just lack the self-discipline to consistently keep on keeping on with the worthwhile goals that they set for themselves. For example, lets suppose that a book is 300 pages long – and it is written at a level that the reader is currently capable of digesting. Then, he should be able to read a few pages every day (lets say 10 – that should be easy enough if he is not working), and then finish the whole thing in 30 days. This is obviously a great idea on so many levels. So why is it so rarely done?
There are no books
Maybe some people don’t read educational books because they don’t have access to them. That is probably a valid excuse in some parts of the world, but, for the vast majority of American’s there is a library or bookstore that is reasonably nearby. So what’s the next excuse?
The books are too hard – or too easy
Sometimes people say: ”I tried to read a book, but it was too hard for me to understand it.” Okay, so the obvious answer is that you need to find a more basic level book, right? Go back to the library. A slight variation on this idea is to say: ”that book was too easy for me.” Same answer. What’s the next excuse?
I’m not really that interested in it
Maybe its just not that important? Okay, no problem. So, how did we get started talking about this topic, by the way? Lets back up for a minute.
In life, for adults, you are either independently wealthy, or a ward of the state, or you kind of have to find a way to provide for your own needs. Most people solve that problem by getting a job. Chances are, that that is where you are at. But the thing is that, generally speaking, the pay is commensurate with experience and education. So, do you want the job that pays very little or a lot? If you want to earn more, then you need to learn more.
Of course there are all kinds of exceptions, like “its not what you know, its who you know.” Those things are true (sometimes) – but it is the exception that proves the rule. For your average person, the most basic rule is: “a better education equals a better career opportunity.”
So, of course, you don’t have to be interested in reading books. But, on the other hand, your prospective employer does not have to be interested in giving you the good job, either. All else being equal, employers prefer people who have more useful knowledge over people who have less.
Unusual mental illness?
Another possibility is that our would-be book-reader has some unusual mental illness that causes him to be unable to read or think. But what is the likelihood of that? Imagine, for a moment, if you will, a group of 100 people, each of whom is able to read well enough that they could slog through this article up to this point. But each of these 100 people then says to themselves: ”Hey! Yes! That’s me! I have a unusual psychiatric illness that makes me unable to read or think!” Now, ask yourself this question: How many of those people do you suppose are actually psychiatrically sick – and how many are just professional excuse makers? (Remember, each of the 100 were able to read up to this point.)
In any case, if you think that you might have an illness, then, by all means, please visit your doctor or psychiatrist. But if you think that part of your problem might also be that you are just kind of lazy, then please consider taking advantage of the free help that is available through People Against Laziness.
I tend to be unlucky
It may be that you will end up dying without ever becoming self-supporting. It may be that, even though you faithfully work to improve your marketability, and you faithfully read a few pages every day in a book that will help you to find and carry out a job, and you consistently look for work – still, it may be that you will just be very unlucky and you will end up destitute and unemployed forever. But how likely is that? Lets examine two different scenarios:
Here I am on my death bed …
Lets imagine that you really are kind of unlucky. Eventually, you will find yourself at the end of your life, poor, broke and unemployed. Then, would you prefer to be able to look back over your life and say:
Well, at least I gave it a shot. I always read ten pages every day in a book that helped me to learn more about my career field. In the last twenty years I must have read upwards of about 250 technical books – each of which helped me to improve my job skills. Come to think of it, I guess it is kind of weird that I was never able to find any work …
Or would you rather look back and say:
I knew it really wasn’t going to work anyway, and that I would always and forever be unemployed – so I’m glad that I didn’t waste any time reading books. I am glad that I spent my time doing things that I enjoyed (like TV and video games.) I am also glad that I spent some time grieving over my failure and loss in life (which I always knew would be my unavoidable destiny.) As a matter of fact, I once saw a show that said that grieving is an important part of the process when a person is dying. Well, I’ve done a lot of grieving, so I guess I’m ready to die now …
So which outcome do you want to have? Also, on the outside chance that, by educating yourself, it might actually improve your chances to find a job – then doesn’t it (kind of) make sense that the life-path of learning is better than the life-path of giving up?
Now … where did I put that book, again?