Still on the Dan Gilbert bandwagon, I’ve been pondering this article tonight and wondering where I’ll be in 10 years time.
“Middle-aged people — like me — often look back on our teenage selves with some mixture of amusement and chagrin. What we never seem to realize is that our future selves will look back and think the very same thing about us. At every age we think we’re having the last laugh, and at every age we’re wrong.”
— Daniel Gilbert
Looking back on my life, 10 years ago I was in my last year of a Biomedical Science degree, dating my future husband, looking forward to a future in my home country South Africa. I had gained so much more self confidence during my degree, I loved the course and was excelling at it. But looking forward to my perceived future career, I was having major doubts. The feedback from the lecturers was that graduates would file into low wage laboratories around South Africa, and most would decide to rather continue studying to do Honours and Masters. The feeling I got, was that you had to complete another year or two to get any useful experience. The lab vacancies had many applicants, and affirmative action was heavily in place, favouring black and Indian applicants over the non-pigmented variety of human. Even some of my Indian friends were considering another two or three years at a Technikon, to get a more hands-on course and hopefully better chances of securing a job.
Right, so to cut a long story short, I though to hell with this, I’m going to try something else for a year and see how it goes. Turns out it was the best decision I ever made.
I signed up for a bit of an “elitist” programming course. It was ridiculously expensive, but fortunately funded by my Grandfather’s generous education funds for me (I whipped through University mostly with scholarships). Thank goodness I didn’t have a study loan from the BSc to drag me down. The course was very well run, with a knowledgeable lecturer, and at the time put me in a great position to get into programming. I entered the workforce as a “QA” with no experience, and clawed my way into a development team, again with little experience, but having studied a second University programming course part time.
So what did my 21 year old self know about the future? Darned little I’m afraid.
Didn’t know she was not going to head off into Biomedical science, but into computer programming. Didn’t know she was going to land a lucrative job at one of the most drool-worthy IT companies in Durban. Didn’t know she would get married at 27 to her University sweetheart. Didn’t know most of her friends would goof off overseas. Didn’t know that she should would decide in 2011 that she would much rather work in a first world country, and successfully plan and execute a fairly risky move to New Zealand! This coming from a 18 year old that didn’t want to study away from home, because she’d miss her family too much!
Other than that, life hasn’t changed too much. Was briefly addicted to an online multiplayer game, which I think set back my career quite badly. Got into horse riding enthusiastically for a few years – that was a surprise. Started investing in the stock market in 2003 and rode it all the way up, lost some money on some ridiculous stock picking, and made a mistake in investing in a South African Retirement Annuity, which I will now lose 20% of because of the Retirement Annuity company sharks taking their “early surrender fee” (I’m not even kidding, this is legal! And was somehow signed into my contract back when I signed it as a tender and naive 23 year old!)
So what do I have in store for myself in the next 10 years? Well, planning on getting my career on track to become a better software developer. And planning on a few overseas trips while we’re young and restless. And trying to save like mad so we can retire in 12 years time.
And maybe when I get there, I won’t even want to stop working? Or perhaps I would have started my own company?