If you are the parent of a teenage girl for whom you have big dreams, please hear me out. Like many of us, you may want your daughter to attend university, graduate and enjoy a successful career. Not too long ago, my dream was to go to University, read for my Bachelors, then my MBA, get a “big” job and eventually open my own business. I was sure academia was my path to success.
My path was clear! With MBA in hand, I was ready to make some money 💰. I was told I had the advantage over my older and younger colleagues with my MBA (high GPA and all). This was the advice I got in the 90s. I thought to myself, “I am set.” Hmmm…
Then came this new wave called “social media” and “digital media”. It also came with a new unconventional form of TV called “Reality TV”, where people are no longer portraying characters. They are now playing themselves. With the exception of highly specialized professions like medicine, engineering, information technology, entertainment and sports, organizations are less interested in your certification and more interested in how much followers and likes you have on social media.
The social media phenomenon has given rise to successful careers for people from all walks of life and careers. Former strippers like Blac Chyna, Amber Rose, Nene Leakes and others have risen to prominence and their success is plastered all over social and main stream media. And I am not mad. Kim Kardashian came into public life after stripping and doing other things on camera for “RayJ”and today she is a reality TV mogul. People are doing what they love or what they have to do, to make it in these streets.
Most of these women have never graced the halls of a University, but they are “raking ” in the dough! They are very much in demand as they have redefined what it means to be successful. They are causing me to think. Their rise have proven that success is not determined by your GPA or your MBA but by your determination to succeed; even if you have to start off stripping. Love it or hate it, these girls are taking care of themselves, they are always in demand and are not unemployed. They all run successful businesses without an MBA.
My MBA girlfriends on the other hand, (who I have mad respect for) well, some of them have “great jobs” working for decent salaries, and a few have gone the route of establishing their own businesses like “yours truly”. But if I am honest, few of us are taking in the dough like the former strippers and reality stars. All of whom have no student loans😎. My question is how do we convince our daughters that they should stay on the path of higher education to later take home incomes under USD$60000 a year and student loan debt.
I was taught that “bright girls” go to university and they become very successful. This is not evident today as many persons are finding it difficult to find jobs that are commensurate with their academic qualifications after graduation. And what does bright mean? The game has changed and careers have evolved. Brilliance is not only in the classroom. It’s all about turning lemons into “lemon squares”. It is simply not enough to make lemonade; you need to have dessert too.
If we only teach our girls to attend college and read for a degree, then when they leave, they are going to have a rude awakening because success will not be handed to them on a platter, because they went to Harvard or Yale. These are highly competitive times. It is not enough to know how to swim. You must learn to swim with sharks. And yes strippers and reality stars are winning, but maybe some of them are winning because they are determined to succeed and their survival instinct is stronger. As the saying goes “Don’t blame the stripper, blame the game.”
So what do we tell our girls when they see the strippers and others winning? Tell them they are winning not because they are strippers, but because they cannot afford to fail, as they do not have a university education to fall back on. In most cases, they have one shot and they have to take it and run. Not every stripper has the same outcome. But the ones who are smart, “bright” enough and who can swim with sharks, will win. At the end of the day, It matters not how you get your start. Many people have unconventional and poor starts, but their determination to win and their faith is what matters in the final analysis.