If I could tell younger, more naive Mike anything about working with computers for a living, it would be these things:
- You will not just be working with computers, you’ll be working with people.
- You will be annoyed by people and their demands far more than you will actually code.
- A summary of how I feel about my job: “Get it done yesterday.”
- I get paid well and that’s awesome. It’s the single perk.
- Learn to spend time helping people hands on, right now (there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer, even if you don’t believe it – ask mom). This will show you what you really want to do.
- Working for a Coporation is like a Hell unparalleled by any experience you have had to date. It is a feeling of using all of your energy to restrict and repress your emotions and potential.
- 99% of the jobs you can EASILY find are in Corporations, so be aware that you’ll need to work to get a good job elsewhere. By work, I mean talk to people, ask people for advice, ask questions, show people what you’re capable of. Yes, you’ll have to actually talk to people.
- You will someday start a business and it would be helpful to you if you a) take a business class or two and b) choose a major in which you can actually give a shit. This major can give you the basis for your business later. For instance, if I were a music major, I can start a business teaching people music or helping musicians with marketing themselves online.
- You might not have enough skill or the portfolio to be a musician. And that’s ok. There are a million things you can do with your ears. Like audio engineering at a recording studio or engineering for a Broadway musical.
- Research potential careers. That is, talk to people who do those things. What do they think about that field. Do they like it? Why? Why not? Will you like those same things? Will you dislike those same things? Find some common ground with the person so you can compare experiences and understand if their likes and dislikes will be the same for you.
- Money is important, yes. But it’s not the only thing. Try to be a little uncomfortable in your daily life and try surviving on less.
- Start a band immediately. Express yourself and see how much you love performing, despite the fear holding you back.
To my adult readers, what would you say to the younger you?