Yesterday I was invited to speak at a career panel for , a non-profit organization that helps young people to make job transitions to adulthood through a myriad of supporting programs.
It was a really fun experience for me. I love supporting our youth. I’ve always thought to myself if I knew what I know now when I was 16, my life would be completely different. I would probably have started EdithYeung.com 10 years ago. I would probably have started investing in real estate 10 years ago. Who knows?
Society wants us to make up our mind at a young age. We get pressure from parents, teachers and relatives. They all want us to succeed. They want us to have a good life. They want us to make good money. They all have good intentions for us. I too want young people to be successful, but I believe it is even more important to teach them how to think independently. We all need to learn the technique of thinking and really think for ourselves. Most people fall into a default mode of following someone else’s footsteps without stopping to ask themselves what is really right for myself?
You can be a programmer. You can be a scientist. You can be an artist. You can be anyone you decided to be.
I started out as a computer programmer after college because that was the highest paying job when I graduated. Not because I loved it. How would I know anyway if I have never experienced it before? I took the job because of the money and prestige. The money was good. Money gave me freedom. The minute I received my first paycheck, I knew I was no longer financially dependent on my parents. I was finally free!
Little that I knew I slowly moved into another trap - the trap of constant paychecks. I couldn’t really say it to the young people I spoke to, but the truth is I was in a “rat race”. Robert Kiyosaki uses this term to describe the endless and self-defeating pursuit of money . The more I made, the more difficult it was for me to leave and pursue what I really wanted. I was really good at what I did, but I didn’t love it. It took me ten years to realize there are unlimited options in life, to begin to dream again, and to then develop the courage to take action.
Getting into a career is just like making an investment. It is usually easy to get in and typically much more difficult to get out. With a bad investment, you may lose all your money, but you can always make it back. With a bad career choice, it is your time that you lose that you will never get it back.
So many of my friends are miserable at work, but their barrier to make a switch is high now because they have too many responsibilities and/or too many bills to pay. The next thing you know you are 5, 10 or 20 years into it , and it becomes increasingly difficult to change paths. Of course you don’t want to give up now…
What do you want to do when you grow up?
I think the more important question you should ask yourself is who do you want to become when you grow up? Think for yourself. You should define your career. Don’t let your career define you. You are a lot more special than your job.
I hope this isn’t too serious for the younger audience, but these few questions and ideas will make a huge impact on your life when you give them enough thought and attention. J
Think About This…
If you knew 1, 2, 5, or 10 years ago what you know today, how different would your life be now?
Just Do This…
Do something that you know will make a difference to someone else’s life today. You will feel amazing!