Let’s Get to Work
The whole point of the Common Core curriculum is to prepare kids for college and careers. At least that is what it says. But the truth is, the things kids need to do to be prepared for any career whether or not it requires college are not addressed in the curriculum at all. And parents and students will ignore these skills at their own peril.
First of all texting and emailing to the contrary, employees need to know how to talk to people. My grandfather made that point to me very long before technology had taken over communication and it is as true today as it was so many years ago. Almost every career requires verbal conversation with other humans. Students need to learn how to express their opinions without being offensive to others. They need to learn how to be active listeners so that the person to whom they are speaking feels heard. Active listening doesn’t mean the listener needs to agree with the speaker but it does mean the speaker needs to feel that what has been said was absorbed.
Secondly, jobs require that people dress appropriately to the job. While it is lovely to consider oneself fashion forward, the fact remains that some of that forward fashion is unfit for the workplace. Even on a dress down day, jeans with strategic rips are going to be acceptable in very few workplaces. Ditto sexually provocative and suggestive clothing. A student can insist that his/her apparel is self-expression protected by constitutional rights. Insist all you want. The employer just won’t hire you. And the other thing you should know is that employers can be quite creative in selecting a reason to terminate your employment. Dress for success- corny but true. Appearance makes it clear how important a person thinks the activity is. We need to teach students to dress like what they do is important.
Personal social media is out there for all to see. When students post sexually inappropriate topics, those topics will hang there for a future employer to check out. Employees should not be using workplace email for personal messaging. Everything that is posted on an employer’s email reflects on the brand of that employer. Employers do not want to see their brand tarnished.
Sick day leave is not a right. Sick day leave is a privilege by which a person gets paid even though he or she is at home trying to get well. Employees should not feel the obligation to use up every sick day whether or not they are sick. No matter how great a person is at his/her job, no job is getting done when the employee is absent. Parents and teachers should model the behavior of staying home only as necessary. Absenteeism at school is the forerunner of absenteeism at work. Never a good thing.
Email is a more casual form of written communication than is a hard paper document. Nevertheless, when it is being used for a business purpose grammar and sentence structure needs to be recognized. Schools need to teach kids how to write a formal email that is part of a business communication and how to write a personal email that may have all manner of truncated sentences and abbreviations known only to the youngest generations of users. Everything an employee does under the employer’s brand is a reflection of the employer. Students need to be taught these work skills. If we in schools are serious about preparation for college and careers then we need to teach the real job skills. Trust me being brilliant in algebra II or biology 101 probably won’t get you to work and it sure won’t allow you to keep on working if you don’t have these job skills.