Type written note that reads "find your thing and do that thing better than anybody else does that thing even if you think that thing has no value because I promise you that it does and I promise you that other people will see this value too

Image via chasejarvis blog

“That’s something the school career adviser never said to me.” My girlfriend thought aloud when she spotted this on our wall. Sadly, that’s true for many people of my generation.

In the nineties, our education system felt like it was designed to manufacture standardised employable drones. Injection moulded breathing commodities ready to slot neatly into off-the-shelf careers.

It continued at university too, someone who’d made it was on a fast-track graduate recruitment scheme, if they passed a battery of weird psychometric exams to test if you were subservient and malleable enough.

I’m told the education system has changed since then. I really hope so. In a perfect world, career advisers ask questions like “what are your talents?” or better still “what makes you happy?”.

Instead, a grey man I’d never met before took one look at my maths results and told me I’d never work in computing.

Good job I didn’t listen

I got my Computer Science degree, but it took another decade in corporate wilderness to free my dormant talents and find creative fulfilment as a freelance copywriter and photographer in Leeds.

So here’s my point:

Contrary to the career advice my generation was given at school, it’s possible to do what you love and make a living at the same time. It just needs the sort of resourcefulness, flexibility and self-belief that they don’t teach you there.