Sunday, Andre and I were out and about. On the way home, I asked him what he wanted to do after college. He didn’t say anything. So I said, you are going into your senior year of high school. This is where you need to know where you are going so you can better prepare for it, and then I changed the subject.
Late Monday night (probably more like Tuesday morning) he started the conversation. I don’t know what I want to do for the rest of my life. I said what are you into? (as if I didn’t already know) He said video gaming, animals, and blacksmithing. So I started on the far end of the spectrum. I said do you see yourself blacksmithing at 50? He said no, that he thought it would be labor intensive and that he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to do it forever. I said, your perspective is skewed. The career you have at the first half of your life is seldom the same job you have in the second half of your life. However, having a trade with limited education to fall back on isn’t a good idea either. “You don’t want to be damn near 40 and having to go back to school and start all over again like me.”
So then I asked him about the animals part. I said do you want to become a vet. He said no, he couldn’t handle losing animals. He was thinking more along the line of being a medical examiner, but for animals. I left it open if he was interested in it, and told him to look and see how many jobs were available to Veterinarians who only did necropsy and possibly pathology.
Then we breached the video gaming industry. Good industry to be in. I’ve actually done some research, on his behalf, to see what were his options. There are lots of jobs, not just with companies like EA and Microsoft, but also Indy companies. I asked him what he wanted to do. He said that there isn’t much money in playing games for a living (true with most of those positions only making about $10 an hour) so he wanted to be in development. I just so happened to know, most companies looking to hire people in development are looking for people with computer science, computer engineering degrees (mostly). He is a math wiz, and he is drawn to computers so I suggested he get a computer engineering degree. Or at least consider it.
It was at this point that I explained something to him. I told him, the career you start with in the beginning of your adult life, is seldom the one you have at the end. You grow, you gain experience, and you begin to fine tune your skills and interests. I also explained to him that he would also learn more and more about what he was interested in while he was in college. I told him that I didn’t expect him to have his life already planned out… most kids don’t have a clue what they want out of life when time comes to go to college. They choose safe careers, they plan on going into the family business, they start out thinking they want to go to med school and end up in law school… and not to put too much weight on the rest of his life and focus on finding what interests him now. And in the now, one of his interests just so happens to be in developing video games. I was also pretty amazed by how much he already knows about what was involved in it. Anyway…
I was thinking of it like this. With a computer engineering degree he isn’t limited to video game development. In 20 years he isn’t really going to want to be taking orders from some 20-year-old, entitled, douchebag lol. He can take the experience and skill that he has gained and go almost anywhere he wants. Was I wrong for pointing him towards a road? Isn’t it a parents job to guide their children?
I always worry that I push to hard, then I worry I don’t push enough. I am trying to let him find his own way in the world. But as time passes, I realize that my child is scared and making decisions that are comfortable rather than pushing himself to try new things. I am trying not to put my needs ahead of his, but at the end of the day I need him to be independent. I need him to be okay when I am no longer able to take care of him.
Anyway, it’s getting late. I’ve got things to do. I hope everyone is having a wonderful week. Leave me a comment, let me know how you handled your children going off to college. Did you lead them in one direction over another or let them do whatever it was they wanted… even if it meant them graduating with a liberal arts degree?