12 of 100 Ideas: Straight Roads are Artificial

I believe that everyone in life has a set vocation that speaks to their soul. If each of us could just find what this job is, we could work hard, successfully and happily within that field.

A lot of people after they finish school are expected to go university for further studying that will prepare them to their chosen career. It sounds decent in theory but when looked at rationally, it doesn’t seem like the best way to do things. Deciding at the age of 17 what I will study for 4 years to land me a job for the rest of my life seems like a big ask and yet we expect teenagers to do it every year. It’s utter ridiculousness. Why? Because Life = Change!

Society changes. Life changes. Technology changes. You will change. Can you honestly ask a 17 year old to adhere to a decision they made 10 years  from now, let alone in 50 and still be happy with it?

So here is the career advice I wish someone gave me when I was a kid.

1) Nobody is going to worry about you but you.

It’s the governments job to control the country and grow the economy.  The education system is part of the government or is privately owned. They just need bodies to pay tuition and grow the economy.  They’re doing their best to achieve their goals. They’re not worried about you fulfilling your hopes and dreams. You’ve got to go out and get it yourself.

2) Expect everything to change.

Do what you think is best right now, but what’s best right now may not be the best five years from now. That’s ok. Nobody could have anticipated the changing effect of the internet on daily life and industry. The question on the minds of big companies used to be “Will my brand still be viable in five years time?” These days it’s, “Will my industry still be viable in five years time?”

3) Experience is cumulative.

So you did a 4 year degree in e-commerce and decided that you thoroughly hate e-commerce and never want to do it again? That’s ok. Skills are not single use, fit for one purpose only. Think of it like a computer game character. That 4 year degree could open up the ability to learn other more specific tech savvy skills that you may prefer. Or simply having a degree could open up the option of acquiring a masters in something else. The more experience you have, the more options you have.

4) Straight Roads are Artificial.

In nature, there’s no such thing as a straight road that goes on for miles. Paths are winding. There are obstacles, wrong turns, bad and good weather, inclines and declines. This is nature and this is life. Don’t be brainwashed with stories of the straight career path. ie. starting at the bottom of a company and working your way to the top unobstructed. If it ever existed, it definitely doesn’t now. If you come to expect this for yourself, life will be nothing but a series of disappointments.

 

I have an uncle thats a bit of a hero to me. He studied hard to become a teacher and was a good teacher. But he felt like there was something more he wanted to do. At the age of 36 he decided he wanted to step away from teaching and become a lawyer. His teaching friends asked him to reconsider but he was firm in his decision. These days he’s in his 50s, a successful lawyer with his own firm and has never regretted his decision.

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