A CAREER IS OUT
THERE SOMEWHERE

     My 21 year old son called the other day from San Diego, and gave me some news that had me bubbling with parental pride.
     "I won the goldfish racing tournament at the local bar," he crowed. "There were 32 competitors, and I whupped them all."
    "Thatís my boy!" I cried, wiping away a tear, "What did you win?"
    "$80 in bar credits, and I didnít even use them all. I saved some for next week."
    My little boy was making money. He had demolished 31 other wanna-be goldfish racing champions and even had money, or at least bar credits, in the bank. I couldnít contain my enthusiasm.
    "Can you make a career out of this talent?" I asked. "Is there a goldfish racing circuit you can join?"
    "Iím checking," he replied. "Iíve definitely got a technique that could be dominant for years to come."
    Apparently, you drop your goldfish into a 12í long tank and then blow through a straw at the goldfishís butt to get him to the finish line before the competitor. Whatever technique my son developed, and I didnít want to ask, worked.
    Thatís good, because goldfish racing might be his best bet. Heís a senior in college, majoring in business, and the job market is looking a little bleak these days for college graduates.
    A good internship would help his chances, and he had a great interview with UBS/PaineWebber, a financial services firm. Everything was going well, he reported, until they asked him why he wanted to be a financial advisor.
    He gave a couple of solid reasons, and then added, "Also, the market closes at 1:00 and I can hit the links."
    The three suited executives interviewing him didnít even smile. He told them he was just joking, and they still didnít smile. "I didnít want that job, anyway," he told me later.
    Besides, now he has his goldfish racing career to fall back on. And he has another year of college before he has to really hit the pavement. My other son, who is 22, graduated this summer, and time has run out.
    Fortunately for him, by some sick twist of genealogical fate, he was blessed as the only member of the family with some math skills and managed to graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering. In other words, he actually has a chance of landing a well-paying job.
    "Iíve applied to Callaway, Titleist, Taylor Made and Ping so far," he announced after his first week of searching. "I plan on designing the next generation of golf clubs."
    "Thatís nice," I replied. "Do they happen to have any openings for engineers with absolutely zero experience?"
    "You never know unless you ask," he said, and I couldnít argue with him. In fact, I admired his initiative until he told me he also wanted to design cars.
    "You know youíll have to move to Detroit."
     That squelched that idea. And after he got no response from the golf club companies, he reluctantly lowered his expectations. By the second week of looking for a job, he was applying to companies that were actually SEEKING entry-level engineers.
    As of this week, he had an interview with Nokiaís cell phone division, a solar turbine company (whatever that is) and a green building certification company. He felt confident he would get offers from all three, thereby creating a bidding war for his services.
    Not likely, but eventually heíll find something in the engineering field. I went to his graduation and watched the 22 engineering graduates receive their diplomas. Then the 700 or so business school graduates stood up and marched across the stage. As I mentioned, Iím no math whiz, but it wasnít hard to figure who had a better chance of landing a job in their chosen field.
     When my younger son graduates next year, heíll be one of another 700 from the business school of his class. Where theyíll all find jobs is a mystery to me. The competition will be fierce, and it will come down to the best resume, and who shines during interviews.
    I figure heís got a good shot. Few resumes will include "Goldfish Racing Champion" as part of the package, and heís bound to find a company, someday, somewhere, who will appreciate his jokes.
 

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