I think a lot of people feel pressured to have a complete life plan by, or before, the age of 20. If you think about it, it’s pretty ridiculous. Your parents will tell you that you need a “plan” and society will tell you that you should have a “career”. This is complete bullshit.
Imagine dreading Monday morning for the next 40 years of your life. Sounds like hell, right?
At the age of 20, you are only two or three years removed from high school which means that you’ve only experienced the “real world” for a little over 1000 days. Now if you went straight to university or college, then you still haven’t experienced the “real world”; you’re still a student. So how the hell are you supposed to know what you want to do for the next 50 years of your life when you haven’t really experienced anything other than a classroom?
The world is changing at an increasing rate. That means that the world we live in will only begin changing even faster as we “grow up”. With that being said, it is extremely impractical for you to commit to a 30, 20, or even 10 year plan; because it is very possible that your profession will not exist in ten years’ time.
Here are some examples:
Oh. You decided to become a website designer in the early 2000s? Meet WIX and GoDaddy and all the other cheap tools that let people build their own website for less than a fifth of your astronomical rates. Good luck in the next ten years.
Wow. Your family must’ve been so proud that you decided to become a bookkeeper in the late 1990s. Meet QuickBooks and Sage; also meet this unemployment line. And so on…
So my advice to my fellow 20 year olds is to start doing and planning in five year blocks. If something interests you, go and try doing it for a few years. Become an intern or see if you can get an entry level position in the field. If after six months of your “dream” internship you realize that it’s not what you thought it would be then quit. You still have your whole life to go to school or find another internship, and now you’ll have a better idea of what is going to make you feel happy and fulfilled in your work.
If I have not gotten through to you yet, here is my last effort to do so. If you go to school and then plan on getting a job and staying in the profession until you retire, you are committing the same mistake as if you decided to marry the first girl that you had a crush on. You’re going to get divorced and you’re going to waste a lot of time. I’m not condoning “hook up culture” but I think you can benefit from hooking up with a few jobs before you find “the one”.
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