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Figuring Out a Direction

So now we’re going to move into a little bit of a different realm. Now we are going to go into self-assessment which is basically looking inside because how many of you here know exactly what you want to do after high school? Wow. That is impressive. I am so envious. Because when I was in high school I did not have a clue. What do you want to do after high school? A doctor. Fantastic. What do you want to do? A writer and photographer. Beautiful. Who else raised their hand? What do you want to do? Film. Fantastic. Yes. You do? What are you doing toward that right now? Good. Math is very important in construction. Could you imagine if – yes, good for you. And now think about maybe going and finding a contractor that you can apprentice with. Does he let you work with him? Fantastic. So you are doing it. You’re taking all the steps. That’s awesome. And I am so envious. Like I said, when I was in high school I did not know what I wanted to do. Which is fine, you don’t have to know what you want to do. That’s where self-assessment comes in. Then choosing a direction and then researching careers.

So self-assessment – these are your vocational interests. It’s, what do I do when nobody is telling me what to do? Have you guys watched ET? That movie that Steven Spielberg made that got the Academy Awards? Steven Spielberg is an Academy award-winning director and producer. And he did ET and a bunch of other movies. Anyway, he discovered at 12 years old that he wanted to make movies. He was in the Boy Scouts and he was going for his Eagle Scout and he needed a photography badge but his dad’s still camera was broken. So he said, can I make a movie? So he and his buddies got together, he lived in Phoenix, and they robbed this stage coach that sits there in Phoenix. And he used camera angles to show that he had horses and they used ketchup for fake blood and he made this movie. And when he showed it to all of the different scouts there and their parents, they were clapping, they were laughing. At 12 years old Steven Spielberg knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. And that was to make movies.

So the things that come into play are basically, what do you do when nobody’s telling you what to do, what your natural abilities are and then taking some time to do some self-assessment. So this website, bigfuture.collegeboard.org. Get started, 10 question slideshow. You guys take the time and do this for yourselves. They ask you questions, just for self reflection. You don’t have to fill anything out. It’s like, what did you want to do when you were a child?

When I was a child I did not know what I wanted to do but I did know what I was good at. My grandmother was a violin teacher and so she had lots of bills and invoices and envelopes and paperwork. And so what I used to do is like, when she was done with things I would say, grandma, can I have it? And I had this envelope this big full of paperwork that I would carry around and I would take it out and I would put it into different piles and I would tell my sister, okay, you take this pile and you do this and I would boss her around. What do you think I’m doing today? I’m doing the grown-up version of that game I used to call trash. I’ve got paperwork and people and organizing things and moving things from this to there. I’m literally doing what I used to do when I was a kid. So that’s a really valid thing to look at.

My son, from the time he was three years old, wanted to be in the military. Made me crazy. I have one child. I did not want him going into the military. So he wanted guns. I wouldn’t buy him guns. So what did he do? He took his toast and he chewed the crust into guns. Finally I gave up. It’s like, this kid wants to be in the military. And that’s what he’s doing now. Mom is still not happy but my son is happy and he is leading his life which is really what I want for him.

So these questions really help you kind of determine some directions that you might want to go into. This test, livecareer.com is so awesome. It will take you 20 minutes and it will really help you narrow down some different focuses. I’m going to give you a handout at the end of class that has all of these different websites, including Khan Academy, so you don’t have to worry too much about these. Anyway, so definitely take the time and do some self-assessment.

Now, nonnegotiables. We have our vocational interests of what you think you might want to do and our non-negotiables. Michael Clarke Duncan, do you recognize him from that movie Green Mile? He died like a couple of months ago. He had like a massive heart attack or something. It’s terrible. He was one of my favorite actors. So I saw him on a late-night talk show and he was talking about his six cats. And one of his six cats names was Mister Fluffy. So do you think Michael Clarke Duncan would date a girl who was allergic to cats? Absolutely not. Maybe, who didn’t like cats? No. That’s a non-negotiable. This man had six cats. One of them was named Mister Fluffy. He is not going to bring a girl into his house who doesn’t like cats.

Okay, so these are personal non-negotiables. Like for instance, if I were dating, I would not date someone who smoked cigarettes. Now my son smokes cigarettes. So he’s happy for the young women who will date guys who smoke cigarettes. But we all have our own personal non-negotiables. I would not date a guy who drove like crazy because I have a fear of getting into a car accident. Anyway, there are a lot of different non-negotiables that you need to kind of think about for yourself and figure out what those are.

Now we’ve also got professional non-negotiables. This is a data entry job. I did that for six months when I was 19. It was pretty much what I call hell on earth. You had to sit there for eight hours and put stuff into a computer and not talk. For me, not talking for eight hours was really difficult. So this is a professional non-negotiable. I need to be talking, I need to be out and about. Now this job is absolutely perfect for someone who is going to college and who needs to just go in and put their hours in and get their money and not have to think about anything but what they want to think about. So, make sure you narrow down your personal and your professional non-negotiables. What works for you? Because it’ll help you pick a direction.

Okay, this is Patrick Blanc. He is a Frenchman who dyes his hair green. Patrick Blanc, when from the time he was like nine years old, he knew he wanted to be a botanist. He knew he wanted to work with plants. He also loved working with aquariums because in aquariums evidently there are certain plants that can live in just water with no dirt. So he messed around with aquariums and he messed around with plants. And what he did is he created what’s called the vertical garden. He took a felt background and he hung it over some piping and then he put nutrient-infused water down into that felt backing at which time he would staple plants that could live with just nutrient-infused water onto that backing. He created again what I said was a vertical garden. What do you think his friends said to him when he first came up with this idea? Absolutely. His friends said, you’re nuts. You’re never going to make a living doing this. Why are you wasting your time with this? He flies around the world and makes about $150 a square foot designing and installing these things. His most recent installation is going into Dubai. He has them literally everywhere. This is a bridge in France, in the South of France. This is the back of it and this is the front of it, what he did. So his vocational interests were being a botanist, working with plants, and his personal non-negotiable or his vocational non-negotiable is that he wanted to bring nature into the inner-city. So he connected those two things and this is what he is doing and he is incredibly successful and so rewarded by his work in life.

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