I’m organizing a job fair in the fall and one of my goals is to help high school students explore their career options beyond the traditional professions. Since this idea has been kicking around in my head, I’ve been thinking about what I wished I’d known a few years ago (ahem), when I was in high school 🙂
- Entrepreneurship is an option
Maybe times have changed, but I don’t remember much conversation about entrepreneurship as an option when I was in high school. It’s possible that I was just talking to the wrong people. Career day never had someone who owned their own business. I know that the Richard Branson’s and Bill Gates’ of the world aren’t the norm, but wouldn’t it be great to light the fire of entrepreneurship at an early age?
- A degree doesn’t guarantee a job, never mind a high paying one
While I was in high school, I had a standing summer job at my mom’s warehouse. I started there making $8 an hour, working 40 hours a week. Not bad for a 15 year old! By the time I left there I was making about $16 an hour. Imagine my horror and dismay when my first job after graduation paid me $10 an hour! Sure, I wasn’t lifting heavy boxes and wearing steel toed boots, but it was still a letdown. Even my parents couldn’t believe that my education didn’t command higher pay.
- You don’t have to figure it all out now
I don’t know about you, but what I wanted to be when I grew up isn’t what I want to be now! Before becoming an entrepreneur, I averaged three years at any job. How can you possibly know what you want to do when there’s no way you’re aware of all the options, especially at the age of 17 or 18? I used to roll my eyes at people who needed to take a year off to “find themselves”, but now I totally get it!
- Follow your passion and the money will come
I used to think that there was no way that you could do something you love and get paid well for it. My father was a truck mechanic and loved his job. I believed that he was the exception to the rule. When you so many people working jobs that brings them no joy, you begin to believe that’s just the way things are. When you love what you do, you’ll spend the hours needed to master your craft, whatever it is. It’s not easy to commit to something that you’re not passionate about.
- The concept of “work smarter not harder”
There was a time when I was working a full time job and a part time job. I remember being on a flight to Las Vegas for work and chatting with the couple I was sitting next to. I was talking about my lack of time for fun when the wife told me that I had to learn how to work smarter, not harder. It was the first time I had heard that, and I thought she was crazy. I totally get it now and no longer believe I have to exchange my time for money, as an employee or a business owner. There are only so many hours in a day and I don’t know about you, but working 24/7 doesn’t sound appealing to me!
What advice would you give students graduating from high school? What words of wisdom would you share with your younger self if you could? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Sandra Dawes is a certified life coach specializing in helping women who feel unfulfilled with their 9-5 follow their dreams and pursue their passions. She holds an Honours BA, an MBA as well as a certificate in Dispute Resolution.She has completed her first book,Embrace Your Destiny: 12 Steps to Living the Life You Deserve!