What Advice Would You Give The 16 Year Old You? I call this the Challenge (20)16 because I was asked recently by someone what advice I'd give to some uni students they were taking on for some work experience, and would I give them some workshops - it got me thinking about what advice I'd give myself at the age of 20 when I went off from uni on a placement.
But then I realised that at 20 my course was already set, and it was probably at 16 that some real advice to myself would have been more handy ... So here's my advice to a younger me. What advice would you give to yourself at the age of 16, looking forward to a career?
- Stick to a Path: Anyone who know me will know that I stick to my guns. I am opinionated and if I want to do something I will do it, that said I am not dumb enough to not seek guidance from those who know more than me (point two). At 16 I went to college and wanted to do one thing and switched around and ended up doing another at University. I then completely fell in love with working with communities and community groups, I now love my entire work life! Stick to something and don't give up on it, even when you have to take an obscure path to keep the dream alive of staying within the industry you love.
- Seek Guidance From Those Who Know: Don't be afraid to ask for help from those who have been in the industry longer than you have. I have never met a single person in the digital industry, actually any industry, who would bite your head off for asking for a bit of help or guidance - it shows willing and a want to learn. If a young person came to me asking for advice or help with a project I'd make time for it. A young guy did this not long ago wanting help for a uni project he needed opinions from a few industry experts, I don't think anyone turned him down - he now works at an agency in Manchester. Don't be afraid to ask, if we are short on time we will say no but we will probably point you to someone else.
- Don't Focus on Income Alone: Seriously money isn't the be all, If you love what you do and you want to do it - then do it. All that matters is you love it and you can pay your bills. Every person, unless born with a silver spoon in their mouth, will have tough times, but if you love the work you do then it's all worth it. Income over time will grow as your experience does, so enjoy what you do.
- Balance Your Life: I say this a bit 'guilty as sin', but we all need a work-life balance - we need to switch off at some point in life and have some family time or us time. If you are self employed or work in the digital world that can be really hard, never mind if you are community minded as I am. However, it can be done - with a little effort and practice it is possible. A bit of balance in life is worth achieving, it brings down your stress and that of your family around you, a less stressed life makes everything seem 100% better - trust me, I am your elder ;)
- Be You: As your old you, I know you don't have an issue in being yourself Andy. But for everyone else reading this, being yourself is really important. You need to be open and honest with yourself about who you are, what you want to be and what you want to achieve in life, share that with your family and friends - get their support and then match up your professional life with your aspirations. It doesn't matter if that takes 1 year or 10 years, a dream and aspiration is always worth pursuing if it is truly what you want. Be honest with yourself though, is it truly what you want.
Now it's your turn, What Advice Would You Give The 16 Year Old You?