When I was 14 at the end of junior high school, I was asked to decide what job I wanted to do after school. Like that: enter a class room, sit down, take a pen and a piece of paper and write down who you want to become.
I remember I asked the teacher if I would be able to change my mind after. She said “maybe”.
I was so fucking stressed. I haven’t thought about that this seriously. So since I liked watching stars I wrote astrophysicist. The teacher took my paper, filed it and the next year I studied more science. That’s it.
A couple of years after before getting to university, same question: Who do you want to be? What? again? Can’t I just figure this one out later? I had several friends who wanted to study electronics so I said electronics. And I went studying for two years in the electronic department of the university.
At the end of that again, same question: what do you want to do? work or study more? I got an appointment with one teacher there. He told me: ” you’re not ready to work but you don’t have the mentality for engineering school”. It was a nice way to say “you’re fucked buddy“. Anyway I applied for an engineering school in my hometown. They told me I had no chance to be selected because I sent my file too late. It was basically that or nothing. I was a little desperate… But in the end they took me. Seriously engineering school was hard but not that hard. Basically sometimes, I couldn’t party for 3-4 days because I had to study. This kind of hard. I got my engineering degree, I honestly think I did a good job and also I went to all the college parties and concerts I could during these three years.
And after that, nothing. I went out of school and nobody asked what I wanted to do. Hey guys, where are you? Are you kidding me?
I looked for jobs in high-tech companies, the kind of companies who judge you on the way you tied your tie, not your qualifications, I did some interviews… I couldn’t stand it. I had no desire to work for people who wanted to make me a robot. I wanted to create stuff, not being told what to do.
So I worked in a hardware store. I was being told what to do from 5 am to 1pm and after that I was free. I’ve always been a morning kind of guy anyway.
One day I met a friend in this hardware store. When I was in engineering school I did an internship in the company he worked for. He told me the company decided to hire an engineer. The next week I was working for them.
And the same thing happened every year: What do you want to do? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I want a raise. I want more responsibilities. I want to go to Canada.
So they sent me to Canada (in case you don’t know, I’m French). I worked for them for three years in Montreal. But, hey… I was still not free. I was still doing what I was being told to do. I was not creating stuff at all. It was not the company’s fault, it was mine. I was not doing what I wanted. I was a robot. And in some ways it was comfortable because I just had to follow, tell some people what to do, tell other people what I had done. And it was ok but not really.
The worst was that I could see myself doing the same job in 20 years. And I got scared. So I quit.
And now I’m on my own.
It’s hard to know what you want to do. When you have no clue, people decide for you. You think you had a choice because people asked you but in fact no, choices are really limited… What if you want to be a fisherman in Alaska or a shaman? There is no school for that.
Now I know who I want to become. I know that I want to be on the edge. I don’t want to be comfortable.
And I’m the only one who can make it happen. It’s liberating.
I’m working on this right now.