Dream Jobs 2.0: Navigating Career Aspirations in the Age of Social Media

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By Martin Bouza

May 21, 2024

As a kid, I had all sorts of wild dreams about the future. You know, the kind of dreams fueled by sci-fi movies where I imagined discovering new planets or having superpowers. And I bet many of you had similar aspirations—wanting to be astronauts, firefighters, or even dancers. But here’s the thing: I recently stumbled upon a report listing the most googled jobs of the past year, and I was surprised and even disappointed to see that almost no tech-related roles made the list. Why is it that something as omnipresent as technology doesn’t seem to be a top priority or dream job for most people?

Tech jobs are almost like a golden ticket these days— well-compensated with very high insertion rates. So, why aren’t more folks jumping at the chance? According to UNESCO, only 12.15% of graduate students do so in Information and Communication Technology careers, despite the fact that the tech world is practically begging for talent. Or maybe more people start studying, but drop off because they’re already working. Or it could be that it feels intimidating with all that math and engineering content and we’ve created a self-imposed limitation. In any case, in a world where technology permeates every aspect of our lives, the demand for tech talent will only continue to grow, leaving us riding a perpetual wave of talent scarcity unless AI promises of an unlimited abundance of productivity come to reality. Don’t hold your breath, though, because we’ll need to really understand how to measure productivity first.

This fear of math probably stems from years and years of an obsolete educational system dating back to the industrial revolution when we were supposed to execute, not think. But today, we need critical thinking more than ever before, especially with the power of social media all around us. The job report I read featured millions of searches on how to become an influencer, a YouTuber, a blogger, a vlogger. The rush of dopamine from social media, together with weak intellectual formation, is having a direct impact on the health and wellbeing of so many people worldwide, especially among children and teenagers.

The fact that people turn to Google for quick answers that shape their future instead of engaging in deep, thoughtful inquiry also speaks volumes. It seems that each generation is making less and less effort to achieve their goals, expecting instant gratification without putting in the work. We reward mediocrity and disregard effort and perseverance, with big palpable consequences.

It’s time for governments, activists, and families to come together and take action. Instead of antagonizing one another, we need to address the root causes of these issues and instill a culture of critical thinking from a young age. Perhaps it’s time to ban social media use for children and teens until they have the psychological tools to navigate its darkness.

I invite you to join me in fostering curiosity and critical thinking in those around you. Together, we can pave the way for a brighter, more intellectually engaged future for all.