Counseling @ NY Museum of Science

Few years back I was run a career counseling workshop at the New York Museum of Science. Thousands of school and college students were visting to understand their future prospects based on their interests and capabilities! Sharing one of the aspects that made me introspect..

Playing a leadership role in any organization gives us a birds eye view of what the career stacks in organizations look like. Recruiting students from college and planning for their onboarding gives us the ability to bring them to a common level playing ground (irrespective of their background). We do have a set of jobs at hand from an organization standpoint and college students typically start at the bottom of the food chain.

Organizations have a way to value experience (no pun intended). One needs to have knowledge, skills and experience on the job to work in a corporate & grow up the ladder. Even if you start at the bottom of the food chain, there are programs in play to identify and tap into the top talent and give them additional responsibilities to groom them for higher order roles. This has now become the standard mode of operation in any fast paced company.

Now that we share a common view, getting to what I learned that day

The table next to ours was hosted by a college student in his final year. He had a robot on display, that was walking around the room picking up tennis balls (he was throwing them around) and putting it in its bin (like a kangaroo design). I do not seem to have a picture of the robot nor the kid. They seemed to have won the global championship and were invited to the museum to showcase and explain to school children how they can work on it as well. The college kid was inspiring all around him in the room – both school and college kids and Corporate folks like us equally 🙂

We started chatting and I asked him what he intended to do next? He said he got an offer from a organization to join as a trainee. This would be the last time he would be working with his robot or on robotics and would get to do real stuff going forward! I was shocked! I asked him why would he choose to let go of a talent and skill that the industry wants and needs, and hires people to train them on future technologies.. why would he just drop it and get to a normal job? He said he needed to focus on getting debt-free and robotics does not help him with that! He needed to focus on what gets him the money and reskill himself with older technologies 🙂

This made me instrospect about how Entry level job placements were done at the Corporate level. We go with a set of job needs to the colleges. We look for the best and hire them into the bottom of the stack. We do not look at what skills they come with and how we can blend them into what organizations need for future Digital age and latest technologies. Hope that gets addressed in this decade!

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