TED Conversations

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

What about the job market?

While I see the validity of Robinson's talk, I am concerned that if we encourage the youth to pursue artsy careers they may end up in financial trouble. I am currently a freshman in college and I see firsthand that the majors such as dance, music, etc., are extremely hard to become successful in. The best paying jobs lie within engineering, technology, and mathematics.

Questions to consider: Can there be a balance between academics and arts? Is fulfilling your passion more important than financial security?

progress indicator
  • thumb
    Mar 6 2013: While we wait to move it; I'll say that as an adult you can pursue whatever thing you want, within limits. However, you need to know that you'll probably have to wait tables while becoming the next Picasso and probably will never be financially independant at your craft.
    To be honest, I am torn....I know a couple people who left well-paying jobs tp "follow their dream", leaving their partner to suddenly pick up the slack and causing a downward shift in their lifestyle. I find that very selfish. On the other hand, I think killing all your dreams forever is a horrible way to live...
    • Mar 6 2013: Thanks for your comment Michael! I completely agree with you. And this is my concern with Robinson's arguments. I feel that academics should still have a precedence over the arts because when our kids are entering the work force, its a cruel reality awaiting them. Perhaps picking up a hobby on the side could help with the balance?
  • Mar 6 2013: When we look at average weekly wages in America since 1972 and adjust for inflation - they have been consistently falling. Average weekly wage is a number compiled by the federal government. Ravi Batra talks about this in his book which was first titled - The Pooring of America. Because of the low interest rates and low inflation, it has become obvious the last few years. Probably the politicians don't want to talk about it. Also, with the increase in college costs and student loans your age group has an almost trillion dollar problem we didn't. In addition, many of our good jobs have been off-shored. There are also still body shops. Although there are problems in employment for engineers and computer guys, people are still imported to do these jobs. I was talking to one in my volunteer work who was not being paid what he should have been paid. I assume that is the reason for some of the H1B visas. Godspeed - I hope everything works out, but be careful.
  • thumb
    Mar 6 2013: robinson's point is that we have no idea what kind of jobs will be needed in 5 years, let alone 20. we will need more computer guys? managers? engineers? biologists? we don't know, and therefore we should not have a one-size-fits-all generalized schooling system that is 500 years old. we need to teach kids to be flexible and dynamic. it is not art vs science.
  • Mar 6 2013: Briana- My observation about the job market in America is I feel uncomfortable about suggesting how anyone might make a living. I enjoyed college - That's what one should want, but not everyone may want what I did which was to be a physics person. Also, it didn't put a student in debt for his life like it does now. We have collapsed the wage structure of the country, and I don't see the attitude of the people doing that having improved. Owing a bunch of money in a Depression is not a good thing. Godspeed
    • Mar 6 2013: Thanks for your comment George! Would you care to explain what you mean by "we have collapsed the wage structure"?
  • thumb
    Mar 6 2013: I think the frame work you want to think within is about goals not as much your life's purpose, as this can be ambiguous.

    Goals are concrete that you can aim at.
    • Mar 6 2013: Pat you make a good point. But what if you set a goal such as being the next Picasso?
      • thumb
        Mar 6 2013: A goal like that seems like it is more about being interesting than interested?

        What about setting a goal based on your interest and steps that will get you closer to that goal? What steps have to be taken how many hours do you have to practice in order to improve. Remember it takes 10,000 hours of practice to get good at something. This is REAL work not posturing but actually DOING the work in order to achieve the goal.

        In other words set yourself up to succeed and win, follow your genuine interest leave being interesting to others.

        Stephen Jobs made the comment that one of the most useful classes he took was in calligraphy and how it influenced his thinking and the Macintosh and Apple. Don't sell art short.
        • Mar 6 2013: By no means am I selling art short. In fact, I am a lover of the arts. I just feel that it is important to communicate to people exactly what you said: that in order to be successful in these careers one must put in the time and dedication necessary to make a substantial income.
  • Mar 6 2013: Working on it... Thanks John!
  • thumb
    Mar 5 2013: Hi Briana,
    Can you move this conversation to the questions category?