How to get there from here by making sure there will be a “there” to get to

Visualizing some things can be a challenge. Take the Higgs boson [1] or the neutrino [2] for example. No one has ever seen let alone touched one, but it appears that they do exist. We see faces [3] every day so they’re less of a challenge, but which of those faces is vying with you for that job you’d pinned your hopes on? Or the job [4] “people” say will be waiting when you or your children graduate?

That last one is a little trickier. If you’re a parent of someone in post-secondary education or contemplating it after high school, you may not have been following the stories about graduate un- and underemployment that started appearing at the beginning of this year. Or lived through the experience. The full extent of the phenomenon became a fact of life only recently, and all but a very small handful of the people who have lived through it have yet to be parents.


The GPS system that came with your car or that you added as a standalone unit or an app on your smartphone is much easier to visualize. So is what it does. But it’s also a metaphor for [3] and [4].

GPS systems work flawlessly as long as the software is up to date. But you may have found yourself at coordinates you requested and an empty lot where what you were looking for used to be. It’s happened to me more than once, mainly where service stations were involved and my gas gauge was flirting with “EMPTY”. The software and the technology weren’t at fault, but Garmin or Google hadn’t reflected the “disappearance” in their software yet. I had to make the trip to find out.

For us, those were isolated incidents. But how many millions of people own GPS navigation systems and how many isolated incidents in total have they experienced? GPS navigators will find alternates for service stations and they’re usually close by. But what if the destination had been 900 kilometres and 2 days away and I’d assumed that my destination was still at its original address and hadn’t bothered confirming that it was? Or that the company was still in business?

You wouldn’t have taken that address for granted, especially if $50,000+ and 4 years were at stake. But the stories that began appearing at the beginning of this year about students with degrees and no jobs involved taking for granted that their employment destination would be there when they arrived. They gambled and lost.

Moving, evolving or disappearing industries or jobs are hallmarks of the times we live in and it appears that too many parents and their children aren’t factoring that into the equation. The “software” and the “hardware” of the matter were available. Had they looked for it, many of their stories might have had happier, if different, endings. By taking for granted what they should not have taken for granted, they deprived themselves of real competitive advantage. The price they paid was discovering that there were no other service stations in the area.

The Personal Due Diligence Project provides guidance in how to extract and exploit the economic, political and labour market “software updates” being delivered as you read this. The process will contiunue every hour of every day whether you’re already working or have children who hope to once they decide on their destination, how best to equip themselves to reach it, and how to reassure themselves that it will be there when they arrive.

It’s been said that there’s never enough time to do the job right, but there’s always enough time to do the job over. Not today, not in this labour market, and not at the prices we’re paying for post-secondary education and jobs that disappear.

The Personal Due Diligence Project wants you to get there from here. And we’ll be happy to explain how we do it. Please call or e-mail us to learn more.

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