The corridor ran the length of five large classrooms, a bluey brown carpet guided us from the upper canteen area to the lower, high ceilings and space for lockers red and grey lockers on the left. The right wall was was painted cream but most covered with red notice boards, only broken by the fake oak year head office doors. I must have walked this corridor a million times, right at the bottom lay the mysterious dark brown door with no glass but a sign “careers room”.As time went by years intact I became slowly confused with the purpose of school, everything I was asked to learn was in books so if I ever really needed to know it I could access the information when ever, even from a teenager I didn’t like cluttering up my mind with what I deemed unless knowledge. Unless it was hands on or physical I wasn’t really that interested.
At the age of thirteen I was handed a card asking to take my options for my GCSE’s, French or German, RE, PE, Tech or cookery, History or geography. Day after day I walked past tried to look in wondered about the “Careers room” Most of the time I didn’t know what I wanted to eat for each meal. All I knew was I wanted to be outside, I’d spend an age getting to school just to be outside, I’d spend my breaks and lunch outside, weather wasn’t a defining factor in anyway. My school day would finish I would tear it home pick up my BMX or football and head straight out, I’d be out before other kids were walking home, wasting time like they didn’t know where to go I knew where to be, outside just being.
I don’t know how old I was but I’d developed a desire to find our about this “Careers Room” one day we were all given our times to attend, I was ecstatic just to find out what was in this room let alone anything else, my specific time now eludes my ever fading memory but I remember every detail about the room, Book cases filled with folders surrounded three walls, the fourth a full glass window although it didn’t seem to let light in. In the centre a ill fitting round table, the kind thats too low to be of any functional purpose, two simple black but comfortable chairs faced each other. It was cold and smelt fresh but old all at the same time.
The stocky rounded pitted & tanned face of the year head was a stark contrast, he always wore suits, glasses with receding hair that was always slicked back, looking back he’s the kind of chap you’d avoid in a local boozer. This was my time a plethora of choices alphabetically labeled, strangely with Yellow labels, right, no pressure this is my time to chose what I was going to do for the rest of my life. The problem was I didn’t even know how long the rest of my life was going to be, didn’t know why I needed to chose, and why did I have to stick to this option, surely at 14 I shouldn’t be given this unanswerable question.
My palms became sweaty, most things I liked the look of I was now too stupid to pursue for the next 5-6 years in higher education. My choices seemed to be ever narrowing. I ended up doing a YTS (slave labour) until I felt an opportunity came for me to ride my bike which was the only passion I had, I told my folks and that passion was soon extinguished. My choices weren’t choices they just happened, they kept narrowing until I hit 31 and became jobless for the first time since facing the real world the day after my 16th birthday. The first choice I felt I made about where I wanted to be for a very long time.
I often take myself back to the door of that careers room (In my head, I don’t go breaking into my old school), but now some time on and a plentiful amount of experiences under my belt, I and I’ve come to the conclusion that the question of what we chose to do in exchange for money should be a question that we regularly ask of ourselves. And certainly don’t get caught up in believing that you’ll have one job, one career and one employer until the end of your forgettable miserable 50 something years earning money before you realise that exchange of giving time for money in hope at some point you’ll have enough cash to buy back these years, these ones right now will ever work in your favour, it really won’t.
Personally I’ve come to a time in my life where I have a overflowing handful of skills that I can use in exchange for money, I no longer believe that selling the bulk of my week indefinitely for unhappiness and being tied down to a set wage is something I want to be a part of. And yes I’m left scratching my head a little but how exciting the thought of my week or month being mine and its my responsibility to find ways to exchange these skills and my time for money.
Our world has changed since I visited that careers room and I tel you what with us being connected and logged on 24/7 and the opportunity to earn money whilst we sleep is all around us, I’m not saying its easy but I think its a nicer thought than getting to an office at 8 and giving an hour of your time for nothing then working until 5 and giving another 1-2 or even 3 hours away for nothing again and for something that might not make you feel alive, empowered or feel responsible for your own actions.
So regardless of what point in your time-money exchange life you are in, have a think about the skills and interests you have, how could they be used to generate income, and your interests and passions, why not get some quantifiable skill in these, who wouldn’t want to earn from what they love, right? I might not be now or next year but someday if you work at it, meet the right people put yourself in the right places that chance to make money and take a step away from shackles of endless employment.
First things first you’ll need to get your head around the fact that excess doesn’t equal success, cluttering up our lives with things we don’t need will only result in you having to have a job you don’t want, and seriously why spend your life doing something you don’t want, where is the sense in that.