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Tertiary Obsession

08 January 2014, 09:34

My father had a one track mind about the route success in life. Get a degree. A diploma was not good enough, a trade was out of the question. And it had to be a decent degree, a BA he called "bugger all", unless it had say, an LLB attached to it.

My dream career in life was a low paying one. I was motivated by job satisfaction, not money and status. My old man convinced me that I would soon be very unhappy in that career, I must follow a different path and the money will make me happy.

So I went to University, doing a degree I had no interest in, and failed first year. Badly. A good experience for my social life though ... then off to the army for 2 years to "get my head right". Then try a diploma, in a field my father approved ... failed after a year. Miserable lost soul. Then to a supermarket chain as a trainee manager (according to pa better than a trade), what a nightmare. Then I put my foot down and stood up to the old man.

To tech  studying a diploma in the field I wanted. Cruised through with good marks, even got employed during my studies with a small salary. Didn't cost the ballie a cent!

Moral of the story, if your child has a sense of direction, don't interfere with it. Your choice is not your child's choice, we're all individuals. My old mans efforts in helping me cost us both a lot of pain and misery, and a serious dent in my self confidence.

Funnily enough, I now do something totally different to my original dream, I'm my own boss earning more than my dad ever did. I suppose I got a good dose of life experience's through all the different career choice efforts, maybe that's what helped me to my current success. Who knows, but I wouldn't risk trying it out, it was painful. 

Another issue is the obsession that only a tertiary education is worth anything. There is incredible value in getting a trade, anyway, not all people are academic. The world would not function without practical people, yet the academics seem to look down on non academic people as stupid. Practical people are just as clever, just practically. One could say a lot of academic people are practically stupid. The only really clever people are those who are both practical and academic. (The old man was one of those, yet looked down on artisans ... weird)

So to those youngsters out there, follow your dreams, not those others try to set for you.

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