It's getting to be the time of year for graduation. Time for another wave of young people to join the work world and start making decisions about where they want to go in life.
What advice would you give them?
I call the first ten years out of college the incubation period. The truth is, regardless of what they think they know, many college age people don't really know what they want (I certainly didn't).
So I'd extend Curt's advise like this:
Start out treating the first ten years as R&D, then when that's over, treat the next ten years as R&D, ... Never stop learning or exploring, life just gets boring when you do.Actually I've always liked to try new things and take risks. It was another lesson that came out of battling in the trenches for the last twenty years that was so surprising:
My biggest lesson learned was that it wasn't about the companies, the products, the jobs or the technology. Its about the people. Pay attention to who you work with: who are the people with the energy, who are there just marking time, and who are the sinkholes. Cultivate relationships, these will make your best future possible.The last ten years I've lived and worked from Flagstaff (a national mecca of nowhere'sville). This was only possible through the contacts and friends I'd known previous (or made online), as outsourcing your engineering to a small rural mountain location is not the first thing that goes through the mind of the VPE of a silicon valley startup (or of any company for that matter).
Taking your own path like that requires courage certainly, but also a significant support and resources. Linked-In is only going to get you so far, you have to cultivate those live connections and find true friends. That will help tip the balance towards a life well lived vs another depressing statistic.