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Benchmark Boundary

Benchmark Boundary

Let me now suggest … you & I take a break from my biography to focus on the benchmark boundary between high school graduation and rest of your life.

Table of Contents  

Benchmark Boundary after High School 
                    [jlk:~~BB synopsis]       [pplk: BB-full]]
    A. Benchmark Boundary's definition        

    B.  Wings & Anchors:           [jlk:~synopsis]

        1. Wings: Your natural, innate, positive
             a. Intelligence
             b. curiosity,
             c. creativity 

        2. Anchors: Possible 'Life' Challenges:
              a. Foreign & domestic travel,
              b. High School Diploma,
              c. Family,
              d. Investing

    C. Key Benchmark Boundary Questions

    D. Post High School work options:
        1. Career/Work Categories:
             a. Hourly, b. College,.c. Trades
        2.  Specious work/career distinction
             a. white collar vs. trades,
        3. My work experience.

    E. How to try to PLAN your future.  
        1. Your CHALLENGE.
        2. CAUTION:
             Robotics & AI (artificial intelligence)
        3. How to discover your work /career.  

A. Definition of Benchmark Boundary

               [pplk: Benchmark Boundary : Options: work, college, family, foreign travel]

A Benchmark Boundary is a hypothetical, momentary ‘transition” boundary between our last decade and our remaining decades. 

We encounter our 1st Benchmark Boundary at around 18 years transitioning from parental guidance & public education’s control .... TO …. your control of therest-of-your-life.    

While perhaps still emotionally & financially connected to our parents, understandably, like it or not, a young person must NOW take control of therest-of-your-life. I will try to help you understand the importance of future options available at this Benchmark Boundary moment.

These entities have — for good or ill — molded you into the person you think you are. More dangerously, they may have molded you into the person you think you WILL or MUST ALWAYS be. This can be terribly tragic.

Think of those 1st 2 decades as your 18 year ‘launch pad for your future rocket’s life trajectory. But was it a 'well-engineered' launch pad?

    "The pad, at SpaceX's Starbase site in South Texas, took  PIK:K9:  rocket launch pad a beating on April 20, 2023 during the first-ever test flight of a fully stacked Starship vehicle. The huge rocket's 33 first-stage Raptor engines blasted out a big crater beneath the pad that day, sending chunks of concrete and other debris high into the Texas sky."
    NOTE: 2nd Starship launch: no issues. 

    A. Benchmark Boundary for All Ages:  However, this post-high school Benchmark Boundary discussion is useful for all ages because many of its issues should be re-evaluated at least each time we pass from one decade to the next.

This post-high school Benchmark Boundary concept is useful for all ages because the Key Life & Foreign Travel Questions we ask at 18>20 years usually prompt similar questions each time we pass from one decade’s life stage to the next: 20s >30, 30s.>40, etc. Each decade casts up different answers based on your past decisions & future ambitions.

If you are beyond this post-high school age, you can establish your benchmark boundary anytime you choose, like …right now! You can ask similar questions of yourself even though your Wings & Anchors (see below) may differ in degree.

    B. Value of Benchmark Boundary concept discussion?   If OUR discussion of my biography has any value to you at all, it will be to expose the twists & turns that a typical life can take, undirected or directed, planned or unplanned, so you can anticipate & plan or adjust your future path.

A bullet fired from a gun goes where the gun is aimed, but a modern missile goes where the remote operator wants it to go including changes in direction and targets. You want to be such a missile.    PIK. drone, missile

Consider this.     At 20, the current generation has 60 more years to live or, IOWs, 3 times the years they have already been alive and 6 times their quasi-adult, semi-mature thinking teen decade.      

The Key Life & Foreign Travel Questions we ask at 20 prompt similar questions throughout life with somewhat different answers based on your prior life decisions & circumstances.

    C. When can I establish this BB?  You can establish your benchmark boundary anytime you choose to!  You may wonder if you have options for the future that you never considered. Maybe now is the time to find out.

The Key Life & Foreign Travel Questions we ask at 18>20 years prompt simil

ar questions at least at each new decade of life, BUT with different answers based on your prior life decisions..

If you are beyond this post-high school age, you can establish your benchmark boundary anytime you choose , like …right now! 😁.   Similar questions even though your Wings & Anchors may differ in degree.

You can establish your benchmark boundary anytime you choose to, like …right now!,               Launch your own future’s rocket.

    D. Key Benchmark Questions:  [pplk: Travel Wisdom: Key BB Questions]  ???
        1. Can/should I still control my life?  Yes!  .. absolutely
        2. Am I bound to parents/couselors desires? No!      Must I go to college’? No!
              [pplk: Travel Wisdom: Travel Benefits: College Signpost’s validity
        3. Should I list goals I want for the ‘rest of my life?  Yes!   [pplk: Travel Wisdom: 
        4. Do I have sufficient courage, confidence & will?   ???   [pplk: Travel Wisdom:
        5. How do I begin?  ... keep reading, please.
               [pplk: Travel Wisdom: Travel Benefits: College Signpost’s validity

B. Wings & Anchors (synopsis?)

                                                                                                                                   Deeper discussions at : [pplk:       ]

We humans are not machines. We have complex, high-speed brains and emotions that ricochet back and forth between our fears and life’s opportunities like a ball in a pinball machine. PIK 

I simplify this fear vs opportunity conflict into wings and anchors.

Wings are the positive attributes of humans that we are usually born with while anchors are circumstances or decisions/challenges that confront us for good or ill for the future. 

Caution: These factors may be viewed as positive or negative, but either way the impact on your future can, probably will, be profound affecting every future decision you make

CAUTION: If you have the courage or fear enough for your future to read this, please do so with an ‘open mind’ OR else you are wasting your time & mine.   

Notice I gain no benefit from your life’s decisions. I won’t even be there. 😂.

OTOH I write all this in hopes your life will be fulfilling & successful, rather than a chain of failures, near misses or mild survival moves leading no where, but to your grave. 😃 Sound dramatic? It is! Its is your life.

Let's explore these wings and anchors

1. Wings: What factors might POSITIVELY affect your future?

 EDIT THis into below:

   1. Intellectual curiosity:
       2. imagination & creativity: 
       3. Post-HS personal successes: 
       4. Rewarding employment
       5. SIT foreign travel   



1. Intellectual curiosity:   Intellectual curiosity is just a fancy term for curiosity. IMO, fear & its partner curiosity, have driven human evolution. It is our most powerful attribute.

It protects us as we perch frightened in the tree above the hunting lion, yet teaches us survival strategies that bring us safety to the ground. 

Curiosity is the inherent, unquenchable thirst to know everything that might protect us or enhance our lives & pleasure. 

Your curiosity was perhaps seriously dulled by high school & college. 

     Your BB Intellectual curiosity status: perhaps seriously dulled by high school & college, … BUT it remains potentially unlimited & can be restored & enhanced.

2. imagination & creativity:   Imagination & creativity may have been seriously dulled by high school’s regimentation & boredom, 

     Your BB status: again, probably seriously dulled by high school’s regimentation & boredom, it remains potentially unlimited & & can be restored & enhanced.

3. self-worth & other personal character traits: 

     Your BB status: again, perhaps seriously undermined by education’s destructive testing,  regimentation & boredom, yet, it remains potentially unlimited & & can be restored & increased.

 Note: Character traits are acquired by the decisions YOU make regarding the right thing to do versus the wrong thing to do when others are not watching or aware

 Anecdote: Alone in my Manlius Boys Military Academy Post office, I dropped a piece of trash & started to walk away. 

Knowing that it was wrong to throw trash on the ground I asked myself if I would continue to do the wrong thing just because no one was there to see it. 

I decided RIGHT THEN that I would always try to do the right thing. I didn't always succeed,  but in the main….

4. Personal success After high school: 

    Your BB status: Full time &/or rewarding employment, hobbies, sports & domestic & foreign travel can: 
        1) restore, enhance/improve your natural abilities,
        2) open your mind AND in the process ...,
        3) restore or enhance your self-worth's appreciation of your
           personal abilities lost or seriously damaged your    
           self-worth,  curiosity, ambition, etc.

Anecdote:  Jason, my classroom & school's disruptive student dropped out early. 2 years later I met him again working at a local lumber company. 

I asked the owner, my friend, how was Jason doing. He looked at me & beamed saying, "He's one of our best employees.”

IMO, once out of the boring straight jacket of public education in a job valuing his natural character & abilities he excelled. Hopefully, over the years since then, he has continued his climb.

I have often wondered, then & now, how many other kids the system has similarity damaged?




jump link to
return back to 20s discussion

2. Anchors:      [LINK. ]]

Let's look frankly & honestly at these several factors that might DRAMATICALLY impact your future.

Now, if not before, you should stop & access your life’s trajectory. 

Investors & many employers don’t care about your past, only the future. No matter your past successes & failures, (look at my failures)  [pplk: Bio] your future life is still wide open. Very few actions in life cannot be corrected. 

Think of your future as a clean slate on which you may write whatever success you wish.

Looking back over my 84 years, I recognize only 4 Anchors that may impact your future ambitions depending on the age of your benchmark boundary: 

           Quote: "judge me by how many times I fell down and ... got back up again.” -Nelson Mandela

    1. Unaware of Foreign Travel benefits: 

NOTE: I include Travel here because I DO NOT want you to miss-out on such an exciting, & fulfilling life experience because you are UNAWARE of foreign travel options

          a. lifetime values/benefits, and pleasures
          b. end-of-life satisfaction / fulfillment, and finally, 
          c) this is, after all, a travel website. 😁 😇

    Foreign travel benefits can shape the balance of your entire life including: 
    1) Increases practical thinking ability. (yes!),
    2) Builds positive character traits.
    3) Increases speed of knowledge acquisition which … 
    4) Expands your Factual Knowledge & experience Base
    5) Travel memories enhance your ‘Quality of Life.

[pplk: Travel Wisdom: Travel Benefits] [pplk: Travel Wisdom: Travel Benefits]

Years from now when perhaps too old or infirm to travel, 
I don’t want you to look back and wish you would have traveled more.

    2. Lacking High school diploma: 

Not necessary for success & reasonably easy to correct, if necessary, but as the labor market gets tighter & tighter, your personality, enthusiasm & initiative are trumped only by experience... and NOW perhaps, your robotic/AI skills

QUOTE: “You don't need college to learn stuff. Everything is available basically for free.   
You can learn anything you want for free."  
Elon: Jan 27, 2023

    3. Marriage & children: 

Marriage & children are Nature driven to increase population. While often profoundly fulfilling for parents (& grandparents), both will have an immense impact at all age levels for your decades going forward.

Ideally, marriage combines 2 unique & different human being’s destinies into a
a single legal, mix of practical needs & life aspirations.

The addition of children may dramatically enhance a marriage’s union, BUT add immeasurable responsibility. Children must be nurtured & protected at all costs.

IMO, a wise person/couple will ‘think it through’ before committing to these life-altering decisions.  

I am not advocating “Don’t!”, merely suggesting “Think 1st.”

These topics are considered in much greater detail at [pplk: Travel Wisdom: Travel Benefits: Marriage & Children]   
    1) Costs & Demands:
    2) Financial & Time Demands
    3) Opportunity cost:
    4) Options & Critical Questions:

    4) Failure to Invest:

Most Americans are “ financially illiteratelacking understanding & effective use of financial knowledge & skills to manage day-to-day personal finances & investments

Personal Finance: Consequently, many Americans mis-manage their personal money resulting in profligate
spending & debt
. [pplk: Travel Wisdom: Travel Benefits: investing: student loan debt debacle]

Investments:  Most have almost no investment kn

owledge, and as a consequence are at risk of financial predators including banks, auto dealers, stock brokers, retirement specialists & scammers.

This ignorance spawns a false sense-of-financial security which often frighteningly emerges just before retirement when it is too late to recover your squashed retirement dreams.

America's Financial illiteracy is a result of 
    1) public schools failure to teach financial literacy’s
        personal finances and investments, 
    2) parental lack of knowledge, 
    3) duplicity of banks & credit card companies,
    4) government’s ‘student loan debt’ debacle perpetrated
        by the incompetent political collusion of
        Presidents/Congress, banks & private lenders, and
        colleges & universities.
            [pplk: Travel Wisdom: Travel Benefits: investing:
                      student loan debt debacle]

FYI, expertise, skills & youth are the investor’s best assets.

Some Key Financial Literacy Questions:  [pplk: Travel Wisdom: Travel Benefits: Investing]
    (1) What is Financial Literacy?
    (2) Why financial literacy is Important?
    (3) How to become financially literate?
    (4) How to learn to invest?



















































C. Key Benchmark Boundary Questions:

1. Do I have a right to control my life?  

Yes!     NOW,  you have control.

NOW, for the 1st time, YOU have control over your next 60 years UNLESS you wish to be randomly tossed about by the winds of fate ..... as I did. 

2. Can/should I exercise control over my life?

Yes!     It is YOUR LIFE after all.

At all ages you always have options, some more easily achieved than others

Anecdote: After parents removed me from grade school & high school & kicked out of USAF Academy, I finally graduated with a low GPA.  

13 years later I graduated law school at 38 & briefly solo practiced, quit for Wyoming, and later received a Teaching Certificate at 49 & taught for 10 years.

I have had menial jobs, and several professions, owned several small businesses,  actively invested in real estate & stocks and world traveled.                We ALL always have options.

ANALOGY:  Imagine, I have magically catapulted you up to the very edge of a 60 ft high diving platform where you are now perched over the water below. It is NOW, at this benchmark boundary that you must decide, ....  “Dive, orscurry back down to the ground’s safety?” 

Your post-high school benchmark boundary is your diving platform.

Unfortunately, because of this 20-year preteen/teen indoctrination, even if well-intentioned, you may have no idea what the vast variety of opportunities & pitfalls await your
journey thru your next 60 years

My primary goal is to help YOU ....
    1) recognize & understand your life options,
    2) choose signposts or options that you truly want, &
    3) inspire you to act on your own behalf.

Right now your road ahead may look vague & hazy, with maybe a few obvious signposts -- college, career, marriage, family --, …often erected by others and .... far, far, far in the foggy distance — something called ‘retirement.’

I suspect, for most, you have already chosen some of those future signposts because society, parents, schools said you should: marriage, kids, college, a trade, career. 

      But, have you ever ACTUALLY considered the pros & cons of those signposts?

Your loving parents who invested the last 18+ years of their lives into your well-being & future may have said: ”Don't care where or for what, but, to have a successful future, you must go to college .”😃     You may have acquiesced to their ‘request’ out of love, respect & loyalty, or because you hadn’t thought of anything else.

Grandparents may constantly ask you for grandchildren to fill their lives.   All understandable, …

.             BUT, is it good for you?

                  Right now?

Your high school counselor probably pushed college unless you signaled a specific preference for the 'trades'. 

             BUT, did she have a bias against the ‘trades’?

                  Did he have any personal knowledge or experience with the 'trades?'

           Anecdote: A close associate 45 years ago had excellent high school grades, admired by all & dreamed of being a veterinarian, but teenage sexual experimentation & her unwanted pregnancy ‘killed’ that life goal. Thereafter, her life was predictable. She accepted her new obligations with courage & enthusiasm. She turned her lemons into pretty good lemonade.   But, what if ........ ?

Are you willing to let ‘fate’ drive the rest of your life because, if NOT,  your most passionate ‘life’ goals can be derailed if you don’t stay in control as much as you can?

C 3. A typical guidepost is  ‘college.'

Parents, schools, peers, and employers at all our ages place signposts in front of us to show us the direction we must go to fulfill ‘their’ ambitions for us. Should we bound to others ambitions for us?               Let’s explore the college’ signpost. 

Let’s explore this 'too typical' Benchmark Boundary societally imposed 'guidepost.'

 Some online commentary suggests: (Please Google search.)
 1. 40% of students ‘say’ they know what they want to study, thus, 60% don’t have a clue.
      a. How many just follow parents' or counselor's advice? 
      b. How many high school students just looked at a list & picked one? 
      c. How many will be ‘fulfilled’ with that choice for the next 60 years??? 

Anecdote: I chose a dual major of History & Political Science because I thought they would be the easiest way to graduate college. I never considered what career or employment my majors would lead me to over the next 60 years. I just NEVER thought about it.  Curious         Ironically, at 39 I became a lawyer which political science would logically lead to.

"A person often meets their destiny on the road they took to avoid it."- Jean de La Fontaine

2. Many students don’t really know until 3rd year, if they ever do.

 Anecdote: I never had a passionate career choice until serendipity ‘dumped it’ in front of me.

3. 30%>70% of college students switch majors once; 9%: twice+.  Applause for admitting error & trying again. ....BUT,    
     a.  How did they make their 2nd or 3rd choice? 
     b.  Were they really sure this time? 
     c. How would you/they know?
     d. Who was paying for their additional years?
e. More student loan debt? How many years to pay back?

4. College /University Graduation Rate:  Public college 4yr graduation rate: 33.3%, 6yr grad rate: 57.6%.    Private    Institution’s Graduation Rate is slightly higher.

     a. Why  increasingly expensive 1>2 years more?
     b. Cause: … switching majors? 
     c. More student loan debt?       SUM: Possibly multiple $10,000s spent in pursuit of an unwanted career.

5) Necessity of a college degree? 
Fox News reports, “US companies increasingly eliminate [need for] college degrees“. Also, 1.4 million jobs could be opened to those without degrees in the next 5 years.”

Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk, & Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, have questioned the need for college degrees.
Steve Jobs, Elon, Michael Dell, et al quit college because a passionate vision drove their agenda. Most of us are not that motivated.

“You don't need college to learn stuff. Everything is available basically for free.
You can learn anything you want for free.  Elon: Jan 27, 2023

Your personality, real-world experience & success so far, self-directed learning, etc may trump a college diploma for an employer seeking employees in a labor-short, AI/tech-driven world, IMO. OTOH, anticipate the IMPACT of robo/AI                     [jlk:   ]

NOTE: Remember colleges & universities are not charitable organizations. They must pay Professors, build new buildings, and subsidize athletic teams. etc. which they do by endorsing student loan debt and by promoting:
     a) ‘their '# of applicantsbecause their national standing is based on ‘applicants’, not # students ‘accepted’ which stays static, nor '# of graduates' in their studied fields
     b) # of majorsoffered because they know student’s will have  ‘major-confusion’ and thereby inducing a high probability of ‘major switch’
          which guarantees 1-2 yrs of added institution income.     Am I too cynical?    Sure?

In sum, my goal for OUR ‘college discussion is not to dissuade you from college or to drive you into the trades, but rather to make you question what your choice will be and why. College or no college? College now or later, when you have a better grasp of its value to you? Trades or not? Travel now, later or not interested.

Now, please, ...  stop & assess your future?

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D. Post H~ S~ work/career options:
        1. Career/Work Categories:
             a. Hourly, b. College,.c. Trades
        2.  Specious work/career distinction
             a. white collar vs blue, b. professional vs trades,
        3. My work experience

    E. How to try to PLAN your future.  
        1. Your CHALLENGE.
        2. CAUTION: Robotics & AI (artificial intelligence)
        3. How to discover your work /career.  


 Useful ???

IV. Age Section:
    C. 20s       [jlk: AAgeG: 20s]
D. 30s.    [jlk: AAgeG: 30s] 
    E. 40s     [jlk: AAgeG: 40s]
    F. 50s      [jlk: AAgeG: 50s]
    G. 60s+   [jlk: AAgeG: 60s]

IV. Post High School Options:

NOTE: The following applies to anyone, at any age, investigating their career work options.

Having explored Wings, Anchor’s Travel, High school diploma, marriage & children, and investing, WHAT are your post-high school options? What direction can/will you decide to take? Remember ‘your life’ is what we are talking about. No one else's.

CAUTION: If you have the courage or fear enough for your future to read this, please do so with an ‘open mind’ OR else you are wasting your time & mine.    Notice I gain no benefit from your life’s decisions. I won’t even be there. 😂.

OTOH I write all this in hopes your life will be fulfilling & successful, rather than a chain of failures, near misses or mild moves leading nowhere, but to your grave. 😃 Sound dramatic? It is!                                                      It's is your life.

A.  3 career/work categories:

1. Hourly, unskilled work

                  Work Type: McDonald’s, construction clean-up, retail clerk, etc.  
                  Requirements: minimal knowledge & skills
                  Your prime Motivation: survival basics: food, clothing & shelter. 
                  Pay Level: minimum wage or less depending on desperation
        Caution: high probability robo/AI will replace

Anecdote: Scott’s donut job: Ironically, while you might THINK you start with no knowledge or skills, that is probably NOT true. Household chores, hobbies, and even sports may teach useful skills. Obviously, English-speaking skills, which you learn automatically & basic math, which you learn in grade school are useful practical tools. Most of our immigrant forefathers gained OJT knowledge & skills without knowing much English.   PIK K9 doughnuts

Even if you have little knowledge & few skills you may be hired because your intelligence, personality, & motivation are so obvious a business is willing to invest in your OJT training. Remember, all my work experience, white or blue collar, except law, was learned on-the-job (OJT).   Much work experience & skills may be easily taught on the job. (retail sales clerk, landscaping, irrigation maintenance, etc.

Anecdote: UNambitious, then inspired … Michael: was hired by a small RV shop right out of high school because of his good intelligence &  pleasant, comfortable personality, but unfortunately, he proved to have zero enthusiasm or ambition. Occasionally, he asked to be challenged but then sidestepped the challenge when offered.  After four years he was fired.          PIK K9 electrician

I encountered him later in a Home Depot store, & asked how he was doing. With uncharacteristic enthusiasm, he beamed that he had been hired by a commercial electric company. He said "I'm amazed at how much I've learned in the last six months".

Obviously, the electrical company had detected his intelligence appreciated his personality, and somehow divined that he might be inspired to become an electrician. They hired him. I was very pleased for him. Obviously, the stars had aligned.

2. College: Bachelor degree required to get job*

                  Work Type: Range from, unskilled hourly to much more dependent on education level & experience
                  Requirements: minimal knowledge & skills to a high level of ….
                  Your prime Motivation: self-worth, self-esteem, life satisfaction,  quality of life, financial security ...maybe.
                  Pay Level: Usually higher than minimum wage, but industry/locality based, more & more dependent on your performance
                                    productivity & business politics.

   * your actual work may have no relevance to college subjects studied

Quote: “I think colleges are basically for fun and to prove you can do your chores. But, they're not for learning.” Elon

3. The Trades (trade job) : 

                  Work Type: hands-on, possible Certified/ Management functions.                        [pplk: Travel Wisdom: Trades]
                  Requirements: OJT, hands-on training &/or trade school leading thru 3 Cert levels & higher Specialty Certification:
                  Your prime Motivation: financial security, hands-on work, independence, self-worth, life fulfillment & invest opportunity
                  Pay Level: Usually hig=-97643wqazxcvvcxzwages, unless independent or owner; increases thru 3+ tiered levels

B. Specious/ questionable Work/Career Distinctions:

 Now with a simple sense of the 3 main career paths, …. let’s disarm society’s misleading, specious portrayals of ‘work’ that have glorified college graduates AND belittled & ignored trade-oriented work.


1. Wording of Career's Definition distinctions:

Oxford Dictionary definition: “A paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training & a formal qualification.” I disagree because some words are overly broad & misleading    word twisting/semantics: 
    a.paid’: if parents homeschool their child can they NOT be professionals? Or, if a licensed engineer designs an orphanage for free, is she no longer a professional?

    b.prolonged’ training: For several decades a college degree has been the mere equivalent of an earlier era’s high school diploma. Its knowledge often irrelevant to the work to be done.

A trade school & OJT’s knowledge & skills may be far more relevant & useful than college info and knowledge & skills acquisition will continue indefinitely for both trade & college based. 

What competent accountants, salespeople or electricians is not constantly learning & training throughout their careers, particularly as new tech emerges?  (Start thinking robotic AI's impact

    c) ‘formal qualification (license, diploma, title): Semantically, a doctor’s State’s Medical License, and an electrician’s License are  ‘formal qualifications’? But, does either one reflect the highest standard or a lower minimal standard? I have experienced incompetency in both fields at all levels. 

2. ‘White collar’ vs ‘blue collar’ distinction:

Over my last 6 ½ decades it seems society, specifically parents, corporate business, and educational institutions, have drawn a clear distinction between college & non-college careers usually by 1) glorification of ‘white collar’ work and by 2) unfair denigration & dismissal, of ‘blue collar’ trades.

a. White collar:   clean, intellectual’ work marked by a ‘white shirt & tie.   Initially, promoted by post WWII’s GI bill for under-employed vets & then, in response to America’s post-war II explosive economic growth requiring an effective workforce. By 1980s corporations required a Bachelor's degree, as evidence of applicant’s minimal extended effort AND as a quick applicant screening device.

OTOH, STEM work's knowledge & skills may be most easily acquired in university (doctor, engineer, software tech, etc.

      ‘white collar' characteristics:
          1. A college degree is required for hiring, but not necessary for job description
          2. Suit & tie persona (except creative types, game software developers)
          3. Tied (enslaved) to corporation
          4. Grinding climb up corporate ladder
          5. Salary, rather than wage
          6. Very ‘political’ 

b. Blue collar:  refers to a tradesperson’s historically rugged, dirt-resistant dark-colored clothing (blue denim) necessitated by the often dirty, hands-on physical work whose earlier era’s typical low wages could not justify frequent washing.

     ‘Blue collar’ characteristics:
          1. Trade school or OJT (on-the-job training) or both (diesel mechanics) 
          2. knowledge & skill certification levels: apprentice, journey, and master
          3. certification level based on skills, time & experience
          4. dark, rugged clothes (denim: don’t show dirt)
          5. hourly wage 
          6. flexibility & independence
          7. Sole proprietor’s management skills & greater profit 

3. Professional  vs ‘Tradesperson’ distinction

This institutional & government's  ‘profession/professional’ label implies another potential false distinction between white-collar & blue-collar work; college vs no-college work. This professional label may also be duplicitous because it implies that a government or institutional authority has impliedly guaranteed a certain minimal level of competency of white-collar workers. OTOH, state & local licensing of tradespersons may do the same.

Yet, such labels may disguise a person’s incompetency & lack of moral commitment to the certification’s alleged societal duties & responsibilities to protect public’s safety. 

a. Public school & collegiate system's destructive fraud:

While I recognize the legitimate hard work required to achieve medical and legal professional status because I've done it (licensed California lawyer), such government or institutional certification may bwe specious (education) intentionally disguising a destructive fraud …. like public high school & collegiate systems. 

Anecdote: My US public High school teaching:  At 52 having taught high school for two years, I was overcome & unable to ignore my daily, ongoing hypocrisy of equating forced memorization and destructive testing with "actual learning".

My lofty teacher goals had always been to:
    1) find a way for students to actually learn, 
    2) enhance student’s life experience after me
    3) perhaps to affect a change on education at large.

During each class lecture my students and I struggled to stay awake knowing that they would be tested at week’s end on the drivel I had spewed. Worse, I was replicating all the classroom dynamics that had bored me to failure during the 1st 20 years of my life.   Unprofessionally worse, … I, & my fellow teachers, knew we were frauds & hypocrites because we saw its effects each day            

Shame on me for violating that duty.

After my 2nd year of teaching, I advised my Principal that I ‘literally cried’ at home because my kids were so bored by my lectures & intimidated by test anxiety. I felt useless, destructive & hypocritical because I knew my classic ‘teaching’ was destructive, counterproductive & I was a hypocritical fraud. I was everything BUT a 'professional' teacher.

My Principal calmly looked directly at me, “If you don’t like it, change it.” 

I responded, “Really? He confirmed & …. I did. My Principal had character & courage.

That summer, and every summer, Christmas, and spring break for the next 5-6 years I created & continually refined ‘out-of-my-imagination an entire project-based curriculum for several courses (US History, government, economics, geography, and law).

Thereafter, for eight years until I retired, my curriculum was totally project-based, critical thinking projects, with few tests. My goal was to inspire and motivate and elevate my students' learning experience such that it would hopefully drive & elevate the quality of their life experience.

As a consequence of this epiphany, I realized that probably all of my fellow academic teachers (except shop, Home, radio and TV, etc. art) were guilty of knowing that they were frauds and in effect, hypocritical agents of a fraudulent & destructive public education system, but yet persisted often for decades despite the potential damage to kids and America 

Do not let these suspect distinctions sway you. Look deeper!

b. My definition, of ‘professional‘:

Haunted by this massive hypocrisy, I created my own definition of professional which applies to anyone doing anything for someone else:

Quote: “A professional is obsessed with the pursuit of excellence ….
on behalf of their client."  (Scott).
[pplk: Professional def]

This definition is broken into two main chunks, each with their own key elements.   I’ll dissect ......
      1) “A ‘professional’ is obsessed with the pursuit of excellence  .... "
             a) ‘’obsessed’: NOT  “mildly interested’’, but.    " intensely driven, very passionate, etc."

            b) “pursuit of excellence”: NOT  ‘just what’s required’, but aggressively, hunting for anything
                 that will elevate their efforts to an ‘excellence’ level rather than a mediocre commonplace.

      2)on behalf of their client.".
          a. "on behalf of their client: every element aspired to in the 1st part is focused solely & directly
               on providing “maximum benefit’ to the client .....

          b. a ‘client’: is whoever the professional is working for: teacher’s student, parents & taxpayers OR 
              doctor’s patient, lawyer’s client, hairdresser’s patron; gardener’s homeowner, etc ad nauseam.

c. Examples of a 'true' professional:

1) a doctor, whose primary goal is making money, may not be a professional, in spite of their education, training, license & monomial letters.

2) the framing carpenter, whose wall angles are always a perfect 90° is a true professional.

3) my school janitor had no certificate or title, but labored tirelessly from 5am on … to keep our building clean. A true professional.

4) homeschooling parents lacking a college education, certificate or title may still be a more effective ‘professional’ teacher/educator than most public school teachers.

In sum, IMO, the above professional definition is the only valid, honest, definition of a professional,
all else, IMO, is pragmatic window dressing.

4. Purpose of these work/career distinctions.

IMO, the PURPOSE of these above negative, distracting, biased & often false/ work-career distinctions are:
     1) false glorification of white collar as ‘clean & more intellectually demanding & important’ work.

     2) intentional, conscious denigration of blue-collar work as ‘ordinary’ common dirty labor.

     3) provide corporations with an educated, docile technical & upper management workforce with enough personal initiative to at least get through college.

Quote: “I think colleges are basically for fun and to prove you can do your chores.
But, they're not for learning.” Elon Musk

    4) legitimately anticipate an ever-increasing technological world … yet many degrees have little to do with technology or will be dramatically reduced or replaced by technology (AI).

    5) dishonestly promoted university/college system’s financial growth on backs of student-loan burdened.

    6) endorsed & promoted by the government/bank/university cabal

 5. My work experience:

Most of my working life was almost totally without long-term direction or plan. I reacted to the options that ‘popped up’ before me. I never did any broad research.    What additional exciting opportunities might have popped up had I or my educational institutions been proactive. Maybe I might have started foreign travel earlier.

I never thought of the ‘trades’ because my parents, schools & I were totally focused on a college degree-based corporate career which, ironically, we never specifically discussed in any detail. Apparently, JUST a college degree was the magic key to any career direction I might subsequently choose. 

The young woman who knows she wants to be a doctor or a vet is reminded of her long-term ambition each time she visits her doctor or pets her dog.           But I remember neither the concept of a future career or any specific career.

While roughly 50% of my ‘career’ work was college-degree based e.g. ‘white collar’ (sales advertising, lawyer, & teacher), the other 50% was in the construction trades or other hands-on endeavors (antique cars, antique furniture, laundromat.) 

In spite of my white-collar salary that covered my day-to-day survival expenses, most of my life’s net worth was from my ‘self-taught’ trades, real estate & small business management & trial & error investing skills. Ironically, none of my careers that required a college diploma to be hired, (corporate-level sales, advertising account executive, & High school teaching) except law, ACTUALLY NEEDED a college education.

Anecdote: teaching accounting at JH college: 35 years ago I was asked to teach accounting at a small start-up local private college. I knew nothing, but stayed a chapter ahead of the class which contained 2 wives of accountants. Much later, the wives told me that they thought I was an accountant. The best teachers are those who are prepared and can motivate/inspire students to learn. The content is always easily available; the motivation — seldom.

Anecdote: Pete Daily Advertising: starting in the mail room, I asked Pete what night courses I could take that would enhance my success in his advertising agency. He said, "Don't waste your time. You'll learn everything you need to know right here",… and I did.

Anecdote: U of WY: College of Education: Secondary Social Studies Certification required to teach in Wyoming.: IMO opinion, 25 years ago, with a couple of exceptions, it was the easiest thing I have ever done. Except for 1 novel, insightful class, it was a sham. 

I often joked I'd have to attack my teacher to get less than an ‘A’ ; at one point in time I qualified for more than a 100% grade.  I suspect the smoke & mirrors are today only thicker & more numerous —nothing substantive has changed.

In sum, IMO, a life’s successful personal career path results from the
profitable application of your passion-driven knowledge & skills that can directly benefit the needs/wants in your society.

V. How to try to plan your future?

A. Your challenge: ….

....  is to look into your desired career’s future … and try to discover what education & training qualifications you will need to keep your current job or get the future one you want. 

Don’t trust the traditional or vocational schools that purport to do this. 


Research these school’s course offerings so you know what you will actually get. How much lecture vs hands-on shop training? Where are their graduates working at these robo/AI advanced jobs?  Contact those company’s human resources directors to confirm.   Don’t be duped by a school’s self-serving hype.

Quote: Excuse my cynicism, but Remember the old adage,
 “Those who can, do;       those who can't, teach.”
 (George Bernard Shaw, playwright) 

Note: I taught high school for 10 years for the challenge. Not the money. 😇

If you know what Company you want to work with (Tesla),  contact them find out what qualifications you should have. Some companies may pro-actively train new employees.

Power to Fly: How these 20 companies are preparing for the future of work.

So with these caveats out-of-the-way, let's realistically investigate your work/career options, regardless

B. Major robotics & AI combo Warning:

Robotics & artificial intelligence (AI) are about to change your current and future employment landscape like an bomb in a China shop. Most seem to think that the robotic AI impact will be slow & gradual having minimal impact until far down the road.    PIK K7 robots (2)

I disagree. I think the robotic AI revolution will be broad, deep & very fast-changing with profound impacts on everything including jobs.

Artificial intelligence’s vast knowledge base in combination with its rapidly growing supercomputers' fast ‘thinking’ speed will answer questions, solve problems & perform tasks almost instantaneously without error.

Robots technical ability to do much of what human beings physically do will rapidly replace vast swaths of human experience, skills, & their often tedious, repetitious, undesirable &, of course, dangerous human jobs.   Think bookkeeping, flipping hamburgers, assembly lines, bomd disposal, septic tank cleaning, garbage pickup & disposal, etc., etc., etc..

This robo/AI combination will eliminate or dramatically modify today’s ‘work descriptions’ at all levels sharply reducing tedious, repetitive, dangerous human work. Think: bookkeeping, production line, & making fries. Many of today’s career paths may shrink drastically or disappear.  This new AI-driven robotics will work vastly faster, more accurately, with great productivity that will substantially ‘lower costs.
 AI driven robots require no sleep or coffee breaks.


Many McD’s already have installed “order kyosks” (robots) to 1) increase order & prep speed & accuracy, 2) fewer employees, 3) sustain profit margins.. McDonald’s franchisee owner, Keith Vanecek, is testing hamburger flipping machines. Totally automated McDonald’s in Texas & Tempe, AZ.     PIK K9 robots

Laugh all you want, but remember the 1st cars rapidly replace the horse.

California’s mandatory minimum $20/hour as of April 1, 2024 has/will either force some franchise businesses to close OR replace many human workers with robots. I sympathize with 'replaced' employees, BUT more importantly, they need to seek retraining to manage the robots.

OTOH, highly modified or brand-new jobs will be created for those who have prepared for the changes.

Anecdote:  Historically, for dental implants, my dentist took X-rays, made a cast of my upper & lower teeth, tweaked them for perfection & sent it to a dental lab that created the crown and shipped them back 3 weeks later.

Today, a digital mouth scanner creates a very accurate 3D digital impression of your mouth & teeth, then electronically sends the digital image to aa on-site milling machine or 3D printing machine to design & create a custom crown for immediate installation while you wait comfortably in your chair. 

This modern crown creation scheme may relies on several different software programs & devices to manage both patient personal & visit info & as well as actual dental treatment. This new advanced Dental treatment CAD/CAM software & equipment requires highly modified or new job descriptions: 
    1) Dental design software (3D modeling software) for crowns, dentures, bridges, and other restorations, 
    2) Dental treatment software simulates step-by-step outcomes of orthodontic corrections 
    3) Dental patient monitoring software &
    4) Dental patient engagement software

The point of this above discussion is the current dental office job descriptions’s duties, knowledge base & skills will be dramatically elevated above current qualifications requiring much more training & education.

C. So, ‘How to ‘discover’ your next career?  

Depending on your age and career status, the above might frighten you. 

Neither high school nor college makes a legitimate attempt to help you wisely choose a career path. Only the orphan vocational courses suggest usefulness or careers: (music, art, shop, home econ, etc) MAY do that.    So you must NOW do it for yourself:

Remember, most people hang onto a career like a life preserver hoping/presuming it's a safety life preserver & securely attached to a Coast Guard rescue boat, not realizing the rope is attached to a shark.

If it sounds like I'm trying to frighten you that's absolutely what I'm trying to do!   fear motivates every protective instinct that humans have and this is a biggy.                                       So get scared … & get busy!

So what must you do to?

How did/will you choose a college major? Or a trade? How will you protect your current investment in your education, training, and experience? How can you tweak or change your career to avoid the shock of Robo AI in your future? Night trade school or college courses?  

Remember, investigating now and choosing your ideal path now may save you the agony & trauma of investigating & changing to a new career and searching for a new one 5 or 10 years down the road.

                                                        Flexjobs: “What Is Your Ideal Career?”

I looked at several “Career Choice Test sites. Flexjobs, an online jobs board, seemed to have the most straightforward advice. I’ll share their insights rather than reinvent their wheel. 😀 Click their links to go deeper, of course.

1. Career Research Strategies: 

a. Flexjobs 8 suggestions:  which I have expanded a bit are.

1. Define Your Personality Type: personality test free version of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
2. Assess your Likes & Dislikes because likely to spend at least 90,000 hours of your life at work, Ideally, you should be passionate about it.                                         … no right or wrong answers,  just your truth

      a. like or good at certain subjects?
      b. like outdoors in any weather or indoors
      c. like technology, solving puzzles or computer games
      d. like working with hands
      e. like working on a computer or your bike
      f. like working with or helping animals or people,
      g. like money & its lifestyle perks  
      h. like peopled-office or remote
      i. etc. etc. etc. 

3. Be Realistic About Your Characteristics that will make you successful—or not.  Compare wit h1. above
      a. Outgoing or reclusive.
      b. Solo, self driven or group effort motivates
      c. Confident or not
      d. etc.

NOW look at your career list so far, and ask what industries would benefit from your talent. For example, if you’re great with people, consider a career path in education or elder care. If you prefer healthcare more than teaching, look into a career path for pediatric nurses or doctors.   

4. Build Your Ideal ‘Dream’ Workday:     Imagine the future you want.
      a. Could I operate a dentist’s 3D printer to make dental crowns?
      b. Could I become an archaeologist in a foreign country?
      c. Could I train service animals?
      d. Would a finished carpenter on expensive homes be fun?
      e.  …. to infinitly more ……….

5. Create a Long-Term Plan recognizing multi-careers and your lifestyle vision (family, travel, hobbies).

6. Identify Your Education Needs: more, college, trade or on-the-job training. 

7. Focused your Research on the most appealing; visit someone working in that field, and investigate relevant companies & employees.

8. Make a detailed List of Pro/Cons: also, dive bit deeper with a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis

Remember the above tactics are not for a silly school test on Friday! This a vital exercise that you will constantly go thru as you adjust your desires over many years or decades. (I graduated college: 23, acting school: 29, law school: 39 & teachers college: 49)

b. My Additional Suggestions: Let’s keep digging ——

1. Create the following lists on your cell/computer so you can easily add or subtract items on-the-fly in the future as you investigate each one.
2. Record everything you ‘think’ you ‘might’ like or dislike because you can always reject later, but you can't reject or accept what you don't discover & record.


1. Create your Skills list:   debate, math, sports, cooking etc. I was always amazed at the skills I accumulated by chance that became useful later in my life. Don't be humble & bashful. This is your list only. Take pride in yourself.

2. Likes/Dislikes list: things that matter most & least to you.

3. Create a Career list: include all the major career categories & sub-categories etc. that excite the slightest tingle of interest in you UNLESS you know you would absolutely hate a specific career. (embalmer 😃). Attempt to evaluate the education or reeducation, training, or retraining.

Remember, you are researchingnot yet deciding

Remember, you are not trying to please me or some professor;  only yourself.  

This is your research for your benefit!

CAUTION: These research steps are NOT like a “one step after another” Ikea furniture assembly or a carburetor rebuild. It is a creative Easter egg hunt involving imaginative research & subjective evaluation of your reactions to what you discover. You will be pursuing all these suggestions at the same time.

4. Suggested List outline structure: Broad career descriptions & their sub–career descriptions.  Some sub–career descriptions are broad including all work description functions (master electrician) while others are very narrow & specific (Dental Office manager vs dental hygienist).

I. Construction Trades: (broadest category vs white collar)
A. Electrical: (career)
1. Apprentice (sub-career)
2. Journeymen (sub-career)
3. Master (sub-career)

II: Medical: (broadest category vs white collar)
A. Dentistry: (career)
a. Dentist: (sub-career)
b. Dentists support team:
1. Dental Receptionist (sub-career)
2. Dental Office manager (sub-career)
3. Dental.Assistant (sub-career)
4. Dental Hygienist (sub-career)
5. dental lab  technician (sub-career)
6. Dental marketing (sub-career)

Li Family Dental: “What are the different roles in a dental office:

Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School:
"What’s the Difference Between a Dental Tech, Assistant & Hygienist?"

Note: I am not pushing dentistry, but with more than $50,000 invested in them, I have an interest.😀

5. A single career path vs a 'relay race':   Usually we think of a 'personal career path' as 1 single path; start to finish e.g. become a lawyer & retire a lawyer. But, why not think of it as a relay race with each lap bringing us closer to our ultimate success. Why not become an electrican, then, a plumber, a carpenter etc. until you can build your own rental apartments and retire financially secure?

Your career's 'relay race' might be broken into several laps only run when you feel like it. Often a top hierarchal career position may intrigue you, but its career path may seem so long & daunting that you are NOT presently willing to invest the time & $s to get its required education & training. Instead, you could pursue a more easily achieved lower echelon sub-career, to see if it inspires you to invest in the higher levels of that career.

Anecdote: Dental Assistant to Dentist: Years ago, my dentist’s young woman Dental Assistant said she began as a Dental Assistant, back to school to become a Denta Assistant, and had just been accepted to dental school. Years later, I learned she had moved to a Colorado ski town to practice dentistry. Yeah!

Anecdote: Police Officers: As a practicing attorney I often met police officers who were simultaneously studying law at night to segue from police work to add their training & experience to lawyering. Very logical.

6. Research strategy: Your initial research goal is to throw your net as widely as you can discovering all possible careers, so you don't miss your ideal. 

But CAUTION, if you've never seriously thought about careers (I didn’t), you may have no idea what careers & their sub-careers might actually interest you.

Remember, AGAIN, you are researching — not yet deciding

You can't accept or reject what you don't discover.
Be careful, “Don't throw out the baby with the bath water.”

1) Review my earlier robo/AI comments to orient your research direction.

2) Google Search enough online basic career-related robotic/artificial intelligence articles until you have a feel for:

    (a) the careers & sub-careers that robo/AI will most likely crush. (make a list)

HYPO: I’m guessing that it would be difficult to replace the empathy of a veterinarian, but robo/AI might well provide additional diagnostic & treatment tools that would have digested the entire knowledge and experience base of all veterinary medicine, which no human doctor is capable of.

   (b) current job description’s education, training, and experience that robo/AI will likely render useless.

   (c) additional robo/AI education, training, and experience that your current job description will likely require.

3. List what you might like and reject only what you are positive you would NOT like (embalmer).   Remember, if you've never seriously thought about careers, sub-careers & job descriptions, you may have no idea what might actually interest you.

4. Keep drilling down into career-related sub-careers,    keeping or rejecting what you choose to, whenever you choose to. The more research you do, the more quickly & easily you will discard the uninteresting and aggressively pursue the interesting.

5. As your research confidence increases, ELIMINATE careers & sub-careers you are positive do not interest you.

6. More pro-active research:
     (a) On-the-job visits: Most working people would be flattered & respectful of your initiative to discuss their career with you. You just have to reach out to them being considerate of their circumstances. e.g. don’t interrupt an attorney during her courtroom opening statement. 😃 

OTOH, visit a construction site and ask the manager if you might hang around someday and observe tradespeople at work. Your initiative may surprise & impress them. 

    (b) Summer break & part-time: most young have summer jobs to make money, but experience may be more valuable. 
        1. mailroom or intern in a corporation, advertising agency engineering firm. 
        2. Residential or commercial construction site cleanup. Note: if you have never been around construction trades, how could you possibly know they might interest you?
        3. US Forest Service intern.

    (c) Classes & trade work simultaneously: Why not pursue several on-the-job research experiences simultaneously? A mix of college classes, night & day, construction site cleanup & tradesman’s assistant after school & during breaks. Superb on-the-job research, acquire new skills & reduce/avoid rapacious student loan debt. [pplk’ Student Loan fraud] 

Anecdote: At same time, ---
1) I worked in an advertising agency mailroom, remodeled my rental unit at night & did handyman work on weekends. 
2) later I managed my rental units, my laundrymat & attended law school.

The skills & experience I acquired supported other businesses & investing I pursued


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