It's Hard to Learn the Hard Stuff

Dec 7, 2011

Most American school kids can read, at least to some degree.  But they’re lousy at math.

That’s no puzzle.  Math is a lot harder.  There’s no “about” or “roughly” in math.  There’s only one answer to every problem.

A grade for reading has a margin of error.  Room for interpretation.  It might be a 50, a 75 or 100.  A grade on a math problem is zero or 100.  It’s right or it’s wrong.  So a lot more college kids want to major in margin-for-error courses like sales management, education, business, marketing and stuff like that.  They’re easy.  A lot fewer major in the right-or-wrong courses like math, science and engineering.  They’re harder.  

Today a lot of people in the margin-for-error fields are out of work.  Not many skilled in math, science and engineering lack work.  A recent Manpower survey found that skilled trades are the hardest jobs to fill in America because so few have the necessary knowledge and skills.

What are your kids studying?  What are you telling them?  We waited over a month at our house to get a competent technician to fix the freezer.  Engineers, electricians, pipe-fitters, welders, maintenance techs all are in demand.  These are good careers for tens of millions of Americans.  

And for the entrepreneurs among them, there is great management and wealth-building potential. 


John Malmo is a marketing consultant who concentrates on helping business owners grow their businesses with effective marketing.  To reach Mr. Malmo, hear and read more of his commentaries, or to ask him your own marketing question, go to