Monday, June 20, 2011

While waiting for that first job, read

That recent study which showed American kids know little about history wasn't surprising.

Other than Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games, young people don't spend much time reading. They spend more time texting.

So this is for those of you just out of school, waiting for the phone to ring. It might be awhile, as you're part of the glut of resume tapes that hit the postal service in May and June.

Many of you will be surprised to find out you'll have to take a current events test on your job interview. Oh, the horror! You'll actually have to know what's going on in the world.

As a manager, I was constantly amazed at the answers people wrote down on my own current events test. (The best: "What is Hillary Clinton's job?" Answer: "Mayor of Buffalo, New York.")

And it's not only current events, but history.

I've gotten in the habit lately of thanking vets for their service, and I did so when I went to the post office on June 7th. The clerk wore his ID badge on a lanyard with a US Military logo. I asked him if he'd served, and he nodded.

"Wonder how many people know what yesterday was?" I said.

"Funny you should say that," he said. "Yesterday I asked people if they knew what June 6th was, and hardly anyone could tell me."

Do you know the significance of June 6th? It marks one of the biggest days in American history. (And if you don't know, look it up.)

So, while sitting by the phone and in between trips to the post office, read as much as you can. Hundreds of newspapers are at your fingertips via the Internet, as is the complete history of the planet. Go to the library and pick up some books. You might grab a few by famous journalists, who often have wonderful stories of major events.

If you're watching TV to pass the time, skip the reality garbage and watch a history program.

The learning doesn't stop just because you're out of the classroom.


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