Building a business, Ross Perot once said, isn't as hard as raising a teenager. I myself happen to think both are pretty tough and, thanks to the new economy, getting tougher all the time. Who knows what it will take for a young person to survive, let alone prosper, in the years ahead? What guidance can a parent give?

Here's one idea: try to get your daughter or son to read JobShift: How to Prosper in a Workplace Without Jobs, by William Bridges (Addison-Wesley, 1994, $22). The first 53 pages alone provide the most cogent, up-to-date account I've seen of what's happening to traditional notions of work, jobs, and careers -- and why; and what it means for current and future generations of Americans.

Better yet, maybe somebody will turn the book into a teen-oriented movie starring Brad Pitt and Winona Ryder. Call it Economic Reality Bites.

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