Many young people who decide to not go into one of the medical professions or learn a trade have already realized they will not likely ever find a job for life where they work for someone else. It just is not the way it is.
As someone who considers regrets a waste of precious time, I personally would not do anything over again. I believe you have to stumble, sometimes many, many times before you can realize something really great. Sometimes the thing that is great is newfound knowledge, sometimes it is believing you can always have hope. But when it is all said and done, those that are hoping for something good to happen in their lives are taking a back seat to those who take a risk first and hope (secondarily) they have chosen the right path.
That is one of the cool things about living—you never know if the path you are on is right until you have gone more than halfway down the road.
I used to say, “I’ve been around the block a few times” when I was a younger man. Now I can say I have been around the block several times, and while the block changes, we find ourselves unwilling to change ourselves. This brings about many of the challenges we never quite see coming; kind of like economists trying to predict what is going to happen with employment, the housing sector and the stock market.
What happens when we are going endlessly in circles is we are just holding on to something we consider safe. We do not lead a life where we are passionate about the things we do. Our jobs are a means to an end. We put up with all the unsavory stuff about them for a paycheck and when we are really fortunate, employer-provided health insurance.
While I do not waste time with regrets, by living, making mistakes, falling down and getting back up again, I have had the benefit of all this experience. When I was in my twenties, the world was so much different than it is now. It was not as digital for one. And there were abundant, good jobs—almost in any type of business you could imagine. Yes, there were smallish, entrepreneurial-type businesses that could whet your enthusiasm for possibly starting your own business one day. But my peers and I had too many choices when it came to working for somebody else. You got wind of good jobs by mouth, and if you wanted a job, all you had to do was look in the Sunday help wanted ads in your local newspapers—there were jobs everywhere in those listings; today, not so much.
I do not like dispensing advice other than saying to try not to get too emotionally up or down—try to stay on as even of an emotional keel as possible. This will serve you best as you go through life.
These days, if you are a young person, you need an even emotional keel more than ever. It is tempting to blame baby boomers for the state of things and yes, we had an opportunity to really impart some greatness on the world, but we have come to disappoint ourselves and everyone before and after us. For whatever reason, we just lost momentum after the 60’s. The 70’s and beyond were just all about excess and making as much coin as possible.
It is probably overly simplistic, but we lost it because we stopped doing what we liked to do, and focused instead on what it would be that could earn us the most money in the shortest amount of time. And in the process of forming that mindset and living it out, we ruined so much of what the world would be to those who came after us.
Today there are no abundant, good jobs. We used to be able to get good jobs with benefits with just a high school education. Now even a college education is not enough. We must perpetually be in school to gain competitive advantages. It is a global economy that we have unleashed like a genie out of a bottle, and it is all too bad. Everyone is trying to be more book smart than the next person. In our quest to gain theory-based knowledge, we lose our way regarding what it is like to really live.
If you are a young person starting out, wondering what you can do, getting disappointed at your reduced, diminished prospects for making a living—the kind of living that is just a means to an end, I would counsel you to take the time to think about not what can make you the most money, but what it is you like to do and enjoy doing most.
You see the key to being happy, or at least content, is to enjoy your life. What you do on your job will be how you spend a good deal of your waking hours. If I were young and starting out again, that is how I would approach the job market, how I would approach just everyday living. For it is when we are engaged, excited and enthralled with what we do for a living that we can say life is truly worth living. Perhaps you can find that working for someone else. But the way the economy is and job prospects are, now is probably a pretty good time to see if working for yourself, perhaps starting your own business, is where you can carve out not only a living, but a niche for your own self-worth, happiness and future well-being.
Hope can be disappointing as in waiting for something good to happen to you just because you believe you are a good person, and you deserve good things. You may be waiting for a long time. Life is short and waiting around for something good to happen may be wasting precious time you could have spent better taking some action, figuring out what it is you really like to do. If you do that, you are well on your way to a lot more than hope will ever deliver.