Transcript: Mythical Makers Episode 7: Counseling Your Kids in Career Choices

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Babs Rudlin: Hi there, and welcome to the Mythical Makers podcast! These are weekly ramblings from myself, Babs Rudlin, Fiery Phoenix and…
Karen Moffett: I’m Karen Moffett, Mama Dragon.
 (short musical clip)
 Karen: Welcome to Episode Seven of the Mythical Makers Podcast. Today we’re asking the question, “Would you encourage your children to be an entrepreneur?”
B In this Mythical Makers Podcast, we’re gonna be talking about kids, would we encourage our kids to become entrepreneurs? Would we prefer them to be sitting down in offices all day long, ah with, with a steady paycheck? But before we get to that point, Karen, what’s on your needles?
K (laughs) Ah, today I’m working on my Fox Paws scarf. Um, I kind of just pick that up occasionally, and nibble at it. That one’s one I really have to have super focus on so um, so I don’t get a chance to work on it very often. It’s a fascinating pattern, but holy cow, it’s really complex.
B It’s really scary-looking, but utterly beautiful. Now for myself, I am working through my Number Twenty-two sock pattern, um, which is the second pattern that I’ve got coming out for, for testing. And, I’ve just turned the heels on two-at-a-time. Which is really exciting!
K Hmmm, nice! It is really exciting! Not long now.
B No, no. They’ll be done. They’ll be done, by the end of the week. They’ll be on my feet by the end of the week. (laughs)
K Fantastic.
B Um, so yeah, in another pattern I’d done a quite harsh ‘V’ heel, which I still thought was really comfy, and this one I’ve done a French heel, so it’s slightly more curved. But I’m really enjoying them.
K Oh! Okay, yeah.
B Lots of heel experimentation.
K I love, I love trying different types of heels. I haven’t, I haven’t knit too many socks yet, so, and that’s one of the things I’ve been wanting to do, you know, the second half of the year, is get some socks knit.
B There are so many ways to knit up…
K (laughs) Yeah.
B …each and every part of a sock, from, you know, so many cuffs and heels, and toes. I think I’ve got, maybe eight or nine different toe styles alone, in the um, Sock Masterclass. And it’s just, you know, all sorts. From stars and shaped and separate toes, and…amazing, amazing variety of things you can do with socks. So people think, “Socks, oh how boring!” But no, no! Socks are amazing!
K Tineke [Corin] always does the one big toe separate from the rest of them, I saw. Um, and I know people that like to wear (in a squeaky voice) flip-flops with their socks on! Which is…uh…
B It’s a cultural thing.
K (laughing) Yeah, I guess. I don’t know.
B That’s where I am. And I’m using some beautiful ah, yarn, which is a gorgeous pink, and then I’ve got some in a lilac, and I’m still waiting for the speckly, sparkly, glittery blue to come through, so…
K I wondered, ‘cause I hadn’t seen a picture of it yet, so I figured it hadn’t made it to you. (laughs)
B It hasn’t, hasn’t crossed the pond yet. So we’ll, we’ll see what’s happening with that. So, that’s what we’re knitting, Fox Paws Scarf and socks. (laughs) Always socks for me. Um, but what we’re gonna be talking about is, is quite a fundamental thing, about how, how involved are you gonna get in your kid’s life, and would you recommend that they start their own business, or would you prefer that they did something that is safer and more secure. So Karen, what’s your first, gut feeling on this?
K (takes a deep breath) Um, I think fundamentally, I’m a romantic.
B Mmmhmm.
K So I’ve always been, I’ve really, our whole family is very much constant learners and readers, and always wanting to do new things and all of that kind of stuff, so…
B Yep.
K So that part of it is not an issue. We’ve always encouraged education. Um, but in general, it seems like, I don’t know how it is over there, but in the States, the ‘American Dream’ is um, you know, you get this big-paying job, and you’ve got the, the house and the car and the kids and the thing and you know, and it’s just, it’s a very, it’s almost a rigid sort of, this is the definition of ‘success’.
B Mmmhmm. See that…
K …and, and I’m not a traditionalist on that point. I, to me, it’s much more important to be happy in your job and do something that you love than it is to make the big paycheck. I mean, getting money is great, don’t get me wrong, (Babs laughs) you gotta pay the bills. Um, but wallowing in money has never, ever been part of my desire…
B Mmmhmm.
K …or definition of success. Um, and so, when Kit especially, ah, wanted to be an art major…
B Yeah.
K …you know, that’s something that’s very frequently just flat out discouraged by parents. Um, they don’t want their kids to go into art, or music, or, you know, all of those things that are not…reliable. You know, reliable ways of getting a steady paycheck and uh, that sort of thing. And so, they always, at the very least, most parents will encourage their kids, “Hey, have a backup career.”
B Mmmhmm.
K You know, if you wanna do art, that’s fine, do it on your free time, but you still need to go to school for something ‘solid.’ Rather than, you know, go to school for what you love. And that’s not ever been something I’ve wanted to do with my kids. I’ve always encouraged them to find something that they love doing.
B Fair enough. I um, I think, I don’t think it’s too different over here. Over here being the UK, for those who don’t know. (both laugh) If you can’t tell from my accent! Um, the um, whilst we don’t have the ‘American Dream,’ um, we do still want our children to be successful. I think there is, I think there are two types of people, um, and I don’t think this has anything to do with, with class, or the pay rate that you’re earning, or indeed where you are within the country, but I do think that there are two types of people. There are those who, who are jealous of what other people have, and what their children have, and how somehow, if their children are more successful, they’re rubbing it in their parents’ face that they were more successful. And then you have the other type of people who want their children to do better than they did. No matter what level they’re at, whether they’re um, whether they’re on the dole, whether they’re, they’re on welfare, whether they’re ill and they just want their kids to have better health, or whether they’re multi-millionaires, and they want their kids to do better than them. You find that there’s these two types of people. There’s either the, the people that seem to be jealous and resent everybody for having anything that they don’t have…
K Mmmhmm.
B …and then those who just revel in the success of their children.
K Yeah.
B I’d like to think that we are of the ‘success of our children’, it’s something that Rob and I have always spoken about, which is that we really want our kids to do better than us. Whatever we’ve achieved in life, we would consider ourselves to be like super-parents if our kids have managed to do something better, or exceed what we’ve done. Um, now hopefully that doesn’t mean that we’re putting masses and masses and masses of pressure on our kids…
K Right.
B …because, I don’t think we are. Um, but…in terms of saying, um, would I, would I encourage them to rush out and start their own businesses, I think I’d treat my daughter differently to my son. Because my daughter lives in a dizzy daydream. (Karen chuckles) And I think if she was going to try and run her own business, and she may prove me wrong over time, I don’t know, you know, she’s only eleven. Um, but if she was trying to run her own business I think it would an absolute disaster for her. Because, I don’t think she’d have the focus to be able to do it, and I don’t think she’d enjoy it, and I think it would be a major stress-out for her. Um, so I think I would be more inclined to encourage her to find something that would suit her temperament better. With my son, he most definitely has an entrepreneurial spirit. Um, so I think I’d be happier for him to be able to, to go out and do stuff on his own and to start things up on his own. I mean, he’s already looking for ways to, to buy stuff and then resell them, he’s started his own paper round, he’s already had a pay rise during the first two weeks of getting that paper round, and he just loves to have a job, he loves to help people, he wants to get involved. However, I would put a caveat on that, which is that I think even if you are the most um, enthusiastic and organized person on the planet, I think it would do you very well, it would serve you brilliantly, so go and work for somebody else first.
K Mmm, yeah.
B So that whatever your dream is, whether that’s to run a hotel, or to um, to publish an online magazine, or um, you know, to be a designer. You know, whatever it is that you want to be, whatever you want to do, um, find somebody who already does that, and go and work for them. You don’t have to work for them forever, but find out what it, the reality of doing that is.
K Yeah.
B Um, because coming straight out of school, or out of college, um, or university, does not necessarily set you up to run a business. Even if you’ve done a business degree…
K Yeah.
B …the realities of life are very different to the theoreticals that you get in university. Um, and I think that you will, in general, I mean, you know you are gonna get these genius, you know, exceptions to the rule, but I think in general, it would help you massively if you go and spend six months to a year working in a variety of roles, in a variety of businesses maybe, um, or lots of roles in one business, so that you can actually understand the ins and outs of how something works, before you then try and do it yourself. Because then you don’t have to go through the process of re-inventing the wheel every single time you do something.
K And then you’re not just starting with, like you said, theoretical knowledge and, and general knowledge, because what you get in school is going to be very general business type knowledge.
B Yeah.
K Whereas, you know, there are those details that are just gonna be different depending on what type of business you’re getting into.
B Absolutely. And I, I would rather that he be happy in whatever job he does than be struggling to get his head round, ‘how do you do your tax returns’ or ‘where do I find my wholesalers’ or ‘how do I price something?’ Whereas if he’s gone through the process of working for somebody else, for even six months or a year, he will know that. He won’t have to go through the process of oh, I’ve gotta find someone to teach me, I’ve got to find someone reliable online, or indeed just trying to make it up as you go along. And trying to make it up as you go along can work, but it’s a long and painful road. It’s so much harder to do that than to…just taking a bit of time and experienced it for yourself. And then, you could make a decision that is wrong. Everyone can still make decisions that are wrong. But you’ve made that from a position of knowledge or experience as against just, ‘haven’t got a clue, I’m just gonna do it and see what happens.’
K And you’re much less likely to do those big stumbles…
B Yes.
K …than you would be if you were just, you know, ‘let’s fly by the seat of our pants.’
B Absolutely.
K And is it, over there is it, I don’t know how to use, I’m not really sure what word to use, but it seems like in the United States, any sort of job that historically had an apprenticeship had kind of fallen out of favor.
B Mmmhmm. Very much so.
K Even though, even though they can still pay pretty well, things like um, being a mechanic, or being a plumber, or being an electrician or something like that. Um, I mean, you can get really good money doing that, but those apprenticeship type jobs, just really had fallen out of favor. In favor of, (in a gruff voice) ‘everybody must go to university, and must do a four-year degree,’ or you know, a masters degree, or a doctorate, or whatever.
B Absolutely. We’ve, we’ve gone from being a country of skilled individuals who have taken pride in their skills and gone through apprenticeships and become master craftsmen to…I’m assuming it was, in the, well, it felt like it was in the eighties.
K Mmm, yeah. I agree.
B There was this huge push, and people saw what was going on in the states, and Wall Street, and the dollar is king, and there was just this massive push to, to become a manager. Everybody wanted to become a manager. It didn’t matter what you were a manager of. You know, the ‘of’ part seemed to be completely irrelevant. You just had to go and get your managerial degree, and then you’re sorted, you’re set up for life, and that’s okay. But it’s like, well, if everybody in the country is a manager, who’s doing the work?
K Yeah.
B And so, we had loads of immigrants come in, and do the work. And they’re the ones with all the skills and the knowledge, and the master craftsmanship. Which is why, I don’t wanna get terribly political, but why Brexit is a nightmare! Because we’re about to get rid of all of the people who have all of the important skills.
K Yeah.
B Because we just ‘manage.’ And it’s like, no, we need to have people who have skills. We need people with talents. We need people who are masters at what they do. The master craftsmen need to be created. And so there is now a big push to, to, when you finish school, going into apprenticeships. So you need to either have a job, go into an apprenticeship, or be continuing your education.
K Mmmhmm.
B Um, because people have suddenly woken up to the fact that for twenty years, all we’ve wanted to do is become managers, and we haven’t actually got any of those skills. And it just seems so short-sighted to me.
K Mmmhmm. I agree.
B Um, and people should be taking pride in the skills and the crafts. Um, and you find that when people do have those skills, and they are master craftsmen, then yeah, the money they can earn is absolutely off the charts.
K Yeah. Yeah.
B But it’s just not, it’s not perceived as being a fashionable thing for people to, to have signed up to. Or in the past it hasn’t. It’s starting to change now.
K Yeah, I was, yeah, I was just gonna say that. It seems like it’s just beginning to, to kind of get some resurgence of, you know, those sorts of skills being…
B Yeah.
K …admired. Appreciated properly, as they should be. (laughing)
B Absolutely. Well, I have this…
K Because somebody, like you said, somebody’s gotta do the thing.
B Someone has to do ‘the thing,’ exactly. But I think it’s, it’s really important that one, you enjoy what you’re doing. Two, money should not rule your life.
K Yeah.
B Um, family, friends, your life should rule your life, not, not money. Um, and I think it’s really important that you actually have an inkling that what you’re going to do is going to suit your personality. So like I said, if my daughter tried to run her own business? Nightmare. You know, she’ll look at her drawer and say, “I can’t see my socks.” It’s like, “What, the one black pair that’s sitting in the middle of the drawer?” She goes, “Yeah, I can’t see them.” “They’re there! They’re just in front of you!” Um, and that’s, her entire life is like that. Total dizzy daydream. Absolute nightmare. (Karen laughs) I love her to bits, but ah, what a looney. So for her to run her own business would be disastrous for all concerned. Um, so…
K Maybe, maybe she’ll gain that focus as she gets older. (both laugh)
B Yeah, she’s only eleven, so I don’t know. She’s literally turned eleven today, so…
K Ah! Happy birthday!
B Yay! So um, I don’t know quite what will happen. We’ll see how she progresses and what, what she would do. So, would you say that all your kids are um, destined in the same way, or are they, in the same way that mine are almost polar opposites of each other.
K Well see, they are very different. But they have, yeah, I think they have a lot of similarities too.
B Mmmhmm.
K Um, Nicholas is ah, currently working at a print shop, um and he’s really, really loving it. It’s not a super-high pay, but he loves his job. Um, he, he actually is very interested in getting into um, an electrician’s apprenticeship.
B Hey!
K And, yeah, so um, hopefully that is something that he’ll be able to do, coming up here pretty soon, maybe in the fall. Um, they just periodically open up positions for, for new people to come in. But he still needs to get a couple more…certificates, certifications, before he goes in. It’s a little strange how it works, but um, you kinda have to do some learning before you go in and do the learning. (both laugh) So…
B Yeah, life can be like that.
K But I don’t know, I don’t know if it’s, is it prohibitively expensive to go to university over there?
B It didn’t used to be.
K Because it just seems like… Yeah, it’s crazy!
B But it has, the price has gone up. It’s not hit the States’ level though.
K It’s just, it’s appalling. Like, you cannot…when I was in school, it was kind of expensive. And this was, you know, this was thirty years ago. Um, but now, for my kids, it’s just like, I can’t go to classes, I can’t enroll in classes next semester, unless I take out this huge student loan.
B Yeah, I think that we’re about…
K Kit, Kit’s working two jobs right now.
B Yeah, I think you’re looking at about nine grand a year.
K Yeah, we’re probably…we’re probably twice that.
B Yeah. It’s, it’s much worse in the States. And they’re now looking at ways to actually bring that cost down, so that people aren’t starting off with thirty thousand pound in debt before you even begin working.
K Exactly! Exactly. You not even getting any, you’re not getting any money yet, and you’re throwing these, these green kids out into the work force with no experience and just, you know…
B Yeah. It’s terrifying to be a parent, isn’t it? Quite frankly.
K Yeah, really! And so that’s, that’s I think another reason, we kinda got into this habit of (gruff voice) ‘must go to school, must go to school, must go to school’ and you know, put yourself in debt in order to do that, whereas I just think it’s so much better if you, you have to, your child has to know their own personality, but I think also as a parent, you need to know their personality and say, “Look, mmmm, maybe university isn’t the place for you.”
B Yeah.
K Um, because not everyone is cut out for that. That style of learning. That, you know, because it is very rigid and focused, and regimented.
B Absolutely.
K And in an entirely different way than having an apprenticeship would be.
B Yes. Yes, absolutely. A hands-on apprenticeship I think is, is so valuable. I really do. I think it’s, it’s incredibly valuable.
K I agree.
B As a learning tool.
K And so I’m tickled that we’re seeing the, kind of the start of a renaissance on that, on that point.
B Renaissance is definitely the right phrase as well. (both laugh) Because it is arts.
K Yeah!
B It is artistic skills. But I think you know, it’s, it’s absolutely key, that people need to tie in their personalities to what they’re doing, and it’s super important that we have people to do the things.
K Not everybody can be middle management. (laughs)
B No. Well, hopefully people have enjoyed listening to this, this episode, I don’t know whether we’ve shaken up the world, and decided everybody’s fate or not… (Karen laughs) But at least you understand where we’re coming from, and probably not very surprisingly, we think that the um, the learning of skills and um, and mastering crafts is, is quite important. That probably isn’t a shock to anybody that’s listening to us who’s based in the yarn world, but uh, that’s what we think! And uh, hopefully if you enjoyed this, you will like, subscribe, share the podcast around with some of your friends, and if you’ve got topics that you’d like us to cover in the future, pop ‘em in the comments and let us know! But until next time, bye!
K Bye!

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