Why Kids Should Have Had 10 Jobs Before Graduating High School

The Orientation Year: How the market can breed the talent the market needs.

The way our education system and careers have been structured is that, early on in our lives, we decide which path we’re going on and then develop and specialize in that specific path. This often begins when we’re just about 19 years old (!!!). We finish high school and have to roughly pick what profession we want to pursue (likely for the rest of our lives) by choosing a college and after a couple required classes, a major. Later, we take our first job and most often stick to the profession we’ve chosen. The longer we stick to our profession, the more unlikely it will be for us to switch paths. But are we happy and are our talents allocated correctly in the economy? Likely not. Maybe your analytical realtor buddy should have become a software engineer …

Without opportunities for discovery and experimentation, many people are falling into the wrong jobs. Once they’re in them, they’re unlikely to get out.

This means that a large share of talent in our economy is wrongly allocated.

We’re in the right job if our talents are allocated to the tasks where they deliver the highest quality output with the highest efficiency. In turn, the more we feel our purpose and impact, the happier we are and the more productive we will be. And that is good for people and the economy.

But here’s the challenge: In order to discover what we’re good at, we need to try a lot of things. Yet, our career development is not designed for a lot of experimentation and often lacks transparency and education around which jobs are available to us and what they entail.

The Orientation Year

The last year of high school should consist of ten internships.

Make the last year of High School ten, four-week-long internships and create a new law that requires companies to provide the internship positions relative to their size.

In this model, the internships made available are defined by the real market conditions and therefore students will be more likely to be exposed to the types of jobs needed in the economy — jobs they didn’t know existed or didn’t know they’d love.

This early exposure to different professions would help create an early demand for college majors based on actual market conditions and people’s true passions, thereby placing people on the right track.

The Orientation Year would help to put people on the right track early on and allocate their talents where they’re most needed in the economy — based on their own passions.

Creating a flexible environment in which students (AKA pre-professionals) have the ability to explore where their passions and talents intersect with the needs of the market would benefit individual workers and the economy alike. Building such a system would ensure that new graduates are providing the most value to our economy, boosting overall job satisfaction and, ultimately, creating a more productive society.