Chicago will once again host the National Football League draft for former college players. Millions of fans will tune in to see where their favorite players will finally get paid for years of hard work. Interesting back stories and local connections will fill newspaper columns and TV news minutes. In hundreds of other towns across the land thousands of other young people will also be looking for a start to their professional careers. Thousands more will be completing their service to the country and transitioning into civilian jobs. We hear a lot about unemployment and job creation statistics. Every month the numbers are released and the chattering class purports to see a trend — up or down — while pontificating on their particular economic policy points. And next month they will do it again — and pretend we do not remember their predictions. It would be more amusing if there were not real people involved. One pundit’s temporary slowdown or market correction is a disaster to the job seeker with past due bills. One economist was recently quoted as saying that free trade had widespread benefits, but concentrated pain. His example was the off-shoring of airline maintenance jobs; i.e. — millions enjoyed cheaper travel, and perhaps a few thousand suffered permanent job loss. By his calculus, that was a good thing for the economies involved. He might think differently if economic punditry were subcontracted to a lower-cost country. Unless your child is one of the favored few who will have their name called by a professional sports team, you are probably anxious about their getting a good start in life. My children graduated from great schools into a terrible recession, and it took a few years for them to get established. Even when a good start has been made, economic changes can send them back to the “start line” without much notice. If you are in a position to assist applicants in finding their place in our business, I hope you do. The gear trade needs new blood and each of us who has enjoyed working in it got a helping hand from someone. Even if you have no current openings — a kind word, a bit of encouragement or a few contacts can help that job seeker get to the next interview.