The disconnection between what people go to school for and what they end up doing is getting bigger. Schools get a lot of the blame for this. I would say individuals experiencing this disconnection have themselves to blame to some extent. Maybe it’s actually not such a big deal. There’s blame to go around, and young people come to me asking what they should be studying. The ones that ask the least often opt to go on a discovery tour. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you have a plan for the tour. It should have a beginning and an end. You should be able to afford it. It should be a tour of validation where you include school, work, self-study, volunteering, perhaps travelling. Including a creative aspect in it would be valuable, in my opinion. You should document what you learn about yourself, maybe through consistent journaling. You should include a routine in your plan, something that will make it structured. Giving it a general motif, you should pursue what fascinates you.
You will discover what you are good at and what you enjoy. I do not pretend to even imply that I have any of the answers. I would say, though, that you tend to like the things you are good at, that you have a general innate ability for. If you study something you are good at, chances are you will like it a lot, and you may have a greater shot at becoming an expert at it. Some thing or some subject may provoke a sense of awe and curiosity in you. Whatever this is, the drive to understand it makes it a field of study which you can embrace wholeheartedly, which in turn will make you like it even more as you deepen your knowledge and skill level at it. It is a virtuous cycle.
Last week I sat for a couple of hours with a young entrepreneur I met, barely a month before he moved to our region, from up north, setting up shop in the same line of business he has become an expert at in the last few years. He is in the VR world, as a content creator, and from what I learned in the couple of hours we shared, he is at the forefront of this field, and has some amazing projects already under his belt to show this. The thing that blew me away the most was the fact that he got into this field coming from a totally non-tech background. I would not have guessed it for a minute even after a couple of hours of going into the technical capacities of his operation.
Pursuing a career in the general health sciences field, certain personal experiences he remembers fondly, after video telephony became available on the iPad in 2011, left him awe-struck at the power of live content. You could not only describe the environment around you, but could actually move inside of it while showing it to the other party, live. His fascination grew even more when in 2016 the first VR headset came out, and he made the conscious decision to get into the field. This merging of live but virtually real fascinated him. He teamed up with a co-founder and they both spent one year holed up learning everything on the VR development side. After a year, they decided that it was about time to execute on the plan, and start implementing. They opened up shop and a first project came around. The people skills he developed with clients working his previous field transferred beautifully into the content creation space, especially when it came time to engage audiences at the human interaction level.
This young entrepreneur, just transplanted into our South Florida ecosystem for the long run, will prove to be a tremendous asset to our community. I feel fortunate of having been able to meet him early upon his arrival, and must add that the set of circumstances which gave rise to this opportunity are not completely happenstance. They validate my constant call to everyone out there with the urge to innovate and “make a dent in the universe” (I borrow these words from Srinivasan Rao) to get out and be curious, congregate with like-minded individuals and form a community around yourself. Stay fascinated, hang with the right crowd, feed your curiosity, and when you meet someone with the sight set on the future, listen as much as you can and find ways to help tug the future in, because it takes more than you, it takes a lot of people pulling in the same direction.