In the past, the advice was: Focus on what you love and your career will follow from there

In earlier decades, I often came across variations of a statement for young people thinking of their future careers. Typically, the advice would be along the lines of: Focus on what you love and your career will follow from that.

In more recent years, I’ve tended to come across the advice that young people would benefit from finding out what society will need in the future, and using that as a starting point to develop their career path.

These are thoughts that come to mind when I read a March 26, 2013 Toronto Star article about jobs and education.

The headline and subhead read as follows:

Jobs: Fix education so we don’t have people without jobs, conference told

The mismatch between training and education in Canada and the jobs that are being created raises calls for a revamp of the education system.

To read the full article, click here.

Additional comments

I’m just amazed when I think of the career paths that friends from high school (I graduated from high school in Montreal in the early 1960s) have followed.

The jobs scenario has changed since then. It wasn’t that hard to find a career path in those days. My own teaching career, by way of example, was easy to launch because teaching jobs in the public school system were plentiful. Provided you could present yourself well in a job interview, it wasn’t hard to find a teaching job in those days.

In the 1960s, a person heading for university might be told by a prospective employer:

“Spend four years at university studying any subject. It could be Latin. You could study Latin if that’s what interests you. If you get good marks you’ve indicated that you can organize your thinking. We’ll hire you and train you and all of us will be happy.”

What has changed, from what I can gather, is that the on-the-job training isn’t part of the equation anymore.

Ontario College of Art and Design

I also think of how artists and newspaper writers would get their training forty or fifty years ago. When I attended the Ontario College of Art some years after getting a university education, I noticed that OCA graduates got a lot of training in art and design but their training in matters academic or intellectual tended to be limited.

OCA has since been rebranded as OCAD, the Ontario College of Art and Design and now offers academic courses leading to a university degree, along with training in art and design. I think that’s a good way to go. Similarly community colleges now offer degrees, not just diplomas. That’s a good way to go as well.

Up until about the early 1970s, a person in Toronto could in some cases support a family on a part-time job, provided that they were careful with their budgeting. Those days are gone for certain.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, a person could launch a career as a newspaper writer by spending much of their time at university writing for a student newspaper. Once launched on a newspaper career, they had a good sense of how to put together a newspaper article, whether a news report or an opinion piece, but their grasp of academic matters wasn’t likely to be outstanding.

That has changed. Students can attend schools of journalism where they both learn to write for publication and get what I assume is a pretty solid grounding in academic pursuits. However, the jobs scenario for journalists has changed dramatically, as it has for public school teachers.

Which brings me to the topic of volunteer work. This is work that a person does essentially for the fun of it. There’s always a bit of time, in the lives of most people, for volunteer work. I enjoy such work because I can focus on what I love to do. There are so many interesting things to get involved in.

The ideal situation is where a person is doing what they love to do and that is also their livelihood, their career, their way of making a living in the world.

These are thoughts that occurred to me when I read the March 26, 2013 Toronto Star article.


A Feb. 2, 2016 Ryerson Journalism Review article is entitled: ” ‘The greatest act of journalism ever’: Marie Wilson, of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, says journalism is an integral part of indigenous culture and history.”

A Feb. 2, 2016 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “Canada’s media: A crisis that cries out for a public inquiry.”

A Feb. 4, 2016 Toronto Star article is entitled: “From the eye of the hurricane, the ’crisis’ in journalism.”

A Jan. 7, 2016 CBC article is entitled: “The problem with newspapers today: the Marty Baron perspective: ‘Spotlight’s’ Marty Baron may be the last of the old-time Humphrey Bogart editors. Pity.”


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