Don’t Look Back, We’re Not Going That Way

Marcia Wallace


PDD prepares parents and their children to be labour market aware. From where we sit, pragmatism will have to take precedence over “chosen fields” when it comes to choosing post-secondary education, unless those fields are aligned with the needs and objectives of employers. Parents and children together must arrive at an understanding that certain jobs will be more ‘secure’ than others and that some ‘chosen fields’ may have to be ‘un-chosen’ and rethought. Especially since there could be something better out there.

Our parents built lives and careers around the 40-hour—or longer—workweek. There was an air of predictability about it, jobs were full-time and permanent, and they came with benefits and pensions we could draw on starting at age 65. Many of us have. But in less than a generation, 57% of jobs have become precarious and 40% of jobs will be done by robots and artificial intelligence within the next 20 years.

The bright side of those statistics is that 43% of jobs are not considered precarious and 60% of jobs will continue to be done by people, for now. That’s where the job market is and we tell our clients that. Then there are emerging markets. We tell our clients that, too.

It isn’t a cliché to say that the world in which we grew up has changed. It’s a statement of fact. This is the only world we and our children have.

Here’s what we know about it so far:

  • We survived as a species by evolving and adapting and innovating and inventing. It’s in our genes, and we’re not going back to the age of the horse and buggy any time soon. Unless the buggy is powered by Tesla.
  • We’ll be spending the rest our life in the future so it only makes sense that we get used to it
  • Business has documented everything it’s done to bring us to this point, including where it plans to go, and it’s left a trail. We should follow it.
  • Marcia Wallace was spot on when she entitled her book ‘Don’t Look Back, We’re Not Going That Way’
  • Post-secondary education will be a prerequisite. But it will have to be the right education.

Employers don’t hire personnel any more, they buy talent and they’re making no secret about what they’re looking for in that talent. On June 12th, Ottawa announced that it plans to cut wait times for foreign workers wanting to join Canadian technology firms. Meanwhile, employers are using applicant processing, screening and evaluation software to eliminate all but 10% of the résumé traffic they receive, because only 10% of it is usable.

I recognized the need for what ultimately became Personal Due Diligence (PDD) in 1976. My daughter was born in 1977 and we resolved to provide her with the means to make informed decisions about higher education and how to approach the world before she ventured into it. The decisions were made well in advance of committing funds to that education. The same applied to my son who was born three years later. In each case, we began the process two years before they graduated from high school.

My children were six years ahead of their competitors because of when we began the process. They had the time to explore and evaluate options they would otherwise not have come to their attention. They had the time to indulge their curiosity,  test their assumptions and make comparisons. They didn’t know it at the time but they were gearing up to conduct their first full-fledged job searches.

We encourage parents to take these matters seriously because tuition is 40% more expensive today than it was 10 years ago and the trend will continue. Neither their children’s time nor their tuition will be refunded if they make the wrong decisions about what to study.

Stories about the plight of 300,000 graduates who were working as unpaid interns broke in 2012. They didn’t do due diligence when it came to investing in their future, they gambled, and they lost. The Government of Ontario has pledged to close the income gap between permanent and part-time employees. But like all governments before it, it remains silent on the subject of labour market awareness. PDD is anything but silent.

The fate of those graduates wasn’t inevitable then and it isn’t inevitable now. The gaps in what parents and their children know about the forces at work in the labour market and the global economy must be filled in. PDD is in business to help its clients fill them in.

Our ancestors arrived in North America from away 23,000 years ago. They came from away with their wits and their instincts intact. They adapted to what they found here and they survived. We can do the same for our children and ourselves if we put our minds to it. Our ancestors had no choice. Neither do we.

It took over four years to create this so that we could share it with you, and we haven’t stopped.

We should talk. There will be no charge for that first conversation. It’s a small price to pay considering that your children’s future and yours is what we’ll be talking about.



Neil Morris
President & Founder

Phone: 905 273 9880
Email: info@personalduediligence.ca
Skype: fnmorris
Web: personalduediligence.com