What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?
Career advice for grown-ups and kids
Starting in high school, every adult you met would ask you what you wanted to be when you grow up. They would warn you that you’ll need to decide soon because, in a few years, you’ll be in the “real world,” and “you’ll need to make decisions about your future so you don’t end up a miserable and shitty like them.”
Of course, they never said that specifically, but I could read between the lines. There was a lot of projecting going on as most of the adults I knew seemed pretty unhappy to me.
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My mom’s advice was always very positive: Do what you love, find something you are passionate about, and the money will follow. That was good advice, but unfortunately, it’s not always that simple.
My dad was a bit more practical; He would say things like: Find something you’re good at that pays you well, work hard, suffer, save a bit, and eventually, you can do whatever you want.
I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I liked many things, but nothing jumped out at me as my “passion.” So I went with the flow, did well in school, and got into a good college.
I finally chose to pursue a career in healthcare, was pretty good at it, and made a lot of money in my first few years. For a while at least, my father’s advice seemed to be the right path.
However, after around 7 to 10 years, I started to feel an “itch.” Echoes of unfulfilled passions and desires. A midlife crisis was brewing. The need to scratch the itch and follow my mother’s advice started taking hold.
While, I still work part-time in healthcare today. I eventually started to follow my passion(s) and pursued other businesses opportunities.
I’ve invested in tech start-ups and rental real estate. I’ve started a manufacturing business. I’ve dabbled in practice consulting and fitness coaching, and lately, I’ve been experimenting with Airbnb arbitrage.
On the surface, none of these pursuits seem to have anything in common except one thing: A genuine curiosity to try new things. My passion was entrepreneurship and I am slowly starting to turn my passions into income.
The advice I give to my children is unconventional. I’ve saved money for them to go to school if they want, but I also understand that the world is different now, and college might not be the best option for everyone. Here’s what I say:
“Work some crappy jobs, travel, make mistakes, learn skills, and get a feel for what you like and don’t like. If you are creative and disciplined, there are more opportunities now than ever before where you can make a great living doing what you love. Most importantly, if an adult asks you what you want to be when you grow up, politely tell them that you will not be making any major life decisions before the age of 27.”
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