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Part 2 of Professional Development: What Would You Tell Your 16-Year-Old Self?

Aug 2, 2011   //   by Rob Drysdale   //   Blog, Fun, Professional Development, Space  //  4 Comments

Rob HS Graduation

A couple of weeks ago, Karen posted Professional Development: What Would You Tell Your 16-Year-Old Self?  There was a lot of discussion about it on Twitter and I’ve been meaning to write up a post about my 16-Year-Old self ever since then.  It would appear though that they’ve finally come out and said that time-travel is impossible so I’ll never get to go back and say these things to myself.  I also had trouble finding a pic of me at 16, but I did find the one above of me at 18.

While Karen focused on the purely professional advice she’d give to herself, I’m going to wander a bit more than that and hit the highlights on a few more topics than she did.

  1. The end of high school or university is not the end.  Remember that you always need to be learning new things.  You don’t necessarily have to take formal classes, but there will always be new things to learn.
  2. You can’t rely on others to look after your career and your training.  You are the one that is in control of your life.  Don’t ever forget it.
  3. Working for a living is not the same as living for work.  And you don’t have to work 40 hours a week for someone else to make a living.
  4. Learn how to say No.  As you work through the early years in your career you need to make sure that you only take on what you can handle and that it’s okay to say ‘No’.  Somewhere you grew up with this idea that you can’t say ‘No’, but think about it.  You are the one that can judge whether you can handle something or not.  You may not know this now, but even your own Father learned to say no to certain jobs he didn’t want to do. And that’s okay.
  5. Speaking of our Father…watch how he does those mechanical and household repairs.  Sooner or later you’re going to own a house and you’ll need to know those things.  But just remember, you’ll never be able to drywall, tape, mud and sand as well as he can.
  6. You’ll never, ever regret those two years of typing class you just had.
  7. You know that Space Shuttle that just launched? Keep watching those because in 30 years it will have it’s last flight.
  8. Take time to enjoy life as it comes and don’t let work get in the way.  And when Karen (oh yeah, you’re going to marry a wonderful woman named Karen) goes to Germany, Amsterdam, New Zealand and … (heck, I can’t even list them all), don’t say you can’t go with her because you have to work.
  9. Never forget to have fun.  When it stops being fun, stop doing it.
  10. Oh, and one last thing…that company called “Apple” that just started publicly selling shares last year…buy some.

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