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Scott's Biography & Life's Questions

evaluate my life ups/down vs. what you might do.

Table of Contents

quick links to Scott's Bio sections

I. Bio General. 

    A. Why read ANY biography?
    B. Why read Travel BIOs?
    C. Why try to plan your life?
    D. Why I wrote my BIO?
    E. Why my BIO may benefit you?

II. My Biography:

    A. Pre-teens:  [jlk:~~]
       1. Family, 2. School, 3. travel

    B.Teens:       [jlk:~~]
       1. School,
       2. US Air Force Academy

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

    B.  Wings & Anchors:           [jlk:~synopsis].   
         1. Wings: Your natural, innate, positive attributes:  Intelligence, curiosity, creativity 

        2. Anchors: Possible 'Life' Challenges: travel, HS Diploma, Family, Investing.

    C. Key Benchmark Boundary Questions

    D. Post h~ S~ work/career options:
        1. Career/Work Categories:
             a. Hourly,
             b. College,
             c. Trades
       2.  Dubious work/career distinctions
            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: Robots & AI (artificial intel)
        3. How to discover your work /career.     

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]

1. Any BIOGRAPHY's Value

A. Why Read any BIO?

1) Deep dive into BIO's fundamental life choices; its twists & turns.

2) Evaluate BIO's life choices & decision-making vs. what you might have done or might do differently.

3) What emotional struggles did BIO encounter & how did they cope /resolve?

4) In the safety of your brain, vicariously test what your emotional responses might have been in similar circumstances.     "What might you NOW do differently?"

5) In the safety of your brain, privately compare & evaluate your own self-worth, confidence, courage, and initiative.. 

6) Does this BIO challenge any preconceived opinions or prejudices about your career, family, or worldview?    

Anything worth exploring further?

7) Do BIOs Inspire, redirect or guide us to pursue our goals, experiences, accomplishments, and failures differently?

8) Can BIOs offer practical knowledge & solutions to life’s future issues? 

Above we dealt with the benefits of reading biographies in general, let's focus on the benefits of reading travel bios in particular

B. Why read Travel Bios?:

Above, we discussed how you might generally benefit from someone’s biography. Now let's focus on the specific value of travel bios to you in determining if, when and how you might want foreign travel.

Historically famous travel bios,  I suspect, are of the explorers & adventurers: Marco Polo, Richard Burton, Columbus, Lewis & Clark, Charles Darwin, Dr David Livingstone, the Antarctic Explorers & a host more.       Wow, what lives they lived!!!

Current travelers’ bios could be numerous, loaded with experiences, itineraries & fulfillment, and pleasure. But alas, most ordinary travelers’ bios will never be written, perhaps because they don’t write or are too busy traveling & just living their lives. 

The few that are written, are often travel bloggers. These online BIOs are usually very short perhaps because the blogger believes you are vicariously visiting their site for the blogger’s up-to-the-moment thrills - not the past they escaped from.

While I offer a succinct bio on my Home page [[LINK. ], I also give you a Full Bio here with relevant questions that help you understand & evaluate my life and then compare it to how you might want to live yours.

Questions you might want to ask yourself at each stage of your life. Questions that might help you anticipate & plan your own life, particularly your travel ambitions, if you have any, at this point.

C. Should you try to plan your life???

Why bother’ trying to ‘design’ or control your life’s direction, why ‘plan’ life?

9 Life Lessons - Tim Minchin UWA Address (comedy, but wise). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoEezZD71sc

We read books & watch movies without knowing how each character will end up. Why not do the same for ourselves? Why not just let it unfold naturally?  You know, ‘Go with the flow.’

At 83, I can’t change my past. You, OTOH, have almost complete control over how you might want to try to plan/design the rest of your life.

Why do we plan/consider anything?

Why plan a night out, college & career, spouse & children, or foreign travel, if not to attempt to anticipate & plan a successful future? To try to ensure that we maximize the pleasure and benefit of this short time span called life.

Yet, constantly anticipating & planning your life’s choices is the most likely way to achieve success during your life and a sense of fulfillment & satisfaction at its end; …a life that will satisfy you when you are looking backwards at my age.

Most lives are a mix of successes & failures: foreseeable/unforeseen, permanent/recoverable, good/bad, easy/challenging. Success is never guaranteed, multiple failed attempts are probable. 

There are no guarantees, of course, but the more we contemplate a furture, plan & try to direct our plan the higher the probability of success & a ‘life well lived.” 

Life stages:

Most humans go through what some psychologists call 'life  stages.' Most commonly they are youths (1 to 10), teens (12 to 18), young adults (19 to 23), middle-aged adults & e) older (65+). 

In our pre-teen & teen stages, our life is mainly controlled by others -- parents, neighbors, Boy Scouts, teachers, and peers - until we somewhat belligerently in our early teens begin to demand our own decision-making rights. 

Yet, these ‘controlled’ years can dramatically influence & dictate our perception of ourselves, and our future.

After 18, we may legally take control except that others may also influence how we think and what we do.

The novel & movie characters, as well as many humans around us, are products of their good & bad decisions.

Often decisions are made in the heat of emotion (marry an alcoholic?), panic or convenience or, occasionally, those that are well thought out.

Critically, our earliest decisions & experiences, planned or not, may strongly determine our life’s path. Consider the ‘life-impact’ of good/bad parent, or being High School President, Eagle Boy Scout, or straight A’s sciences student, rebuilding an entire auto engine yourself, raising your siblings in a motherless home, a high school pregnancy, or forever ‘student loan’ debt? 

The 'lucky' who always knew their path - horse trainers, doctors, etc. - compared with those of us who struggled to fulfill survival’s immediate needs — food, clothing & a place to sleep, etc.   

     Planning life is not an unrealistic option. Yet the apparent failure of many to do so lies all around us: lives un-directed, misdirected, hollow & UN-fulfilling.

Many, if not most, of us are not fortunate enough to have had a future vision. My only goal out of college was to survive; to eat, drink and sleeps.

Life is a one-shot deal, no sequel, no second chance, no reincarnation.  “You get what you got, nothing more.”

Like a cereal bowl, we can fill it up with manure or chocolate syrup-covered chocolate ice cream. Each life has
 the potential to be a mix of manure or chocolate ice cream.

     Pondering & planning your life’s choices in advance including travel is the only way you are likely to achieve success and satisfaction at the end of your life;    

 …a life that will please you the most when you are looking backwards at my age.

Remember that your life may be similar to others, but it is also unique compared to others; as fulfilling as you make it. .....

D. Why did I write my bio?  ( Why for me? )

    1. To flatter my ego? Why, who would really care? Few have cared before. I am not crying, just sayin’.😇

Quote: When you put down the good things you ought to have done, and leave out the bad ones you did do, well, that's Memoirs. Will Rodgers (19th C comedian)

   2. to relive & enjoy my travels by editing my 25+ years of videos. 

I made my life’s choices over 5-6 decades. I have done all the travel I can do (cancer). I don’t intend to monetize my blog thru sponsors & advertisers because I don’t need the money.

“You only need to get rich once.” Jim Cramer, stock guru.

  3. to give my YouTube channel viewers an insight into the motivations and drive forces of the voice of my more than 1000 short videos from all over the world.

    (2) Why for you? 

My current goal for you is twofold

    1) sharing my travel knowledge & experiences thru my blog & YouTube videos, 

    2) providing those who may not or cannot travel with an authentic vicariously travel experience thru my blog & YouTube Channel. 

D. Why did I write my bio?  ( Why for you? )

1. To give you the freedom to explore the intimate thoughts, experiences, failures & successes & opportunities of my life in case they can help you better understand your past, and anticipate your future particularly with regarding solo independent trave (SIT).

You’ll see my challenges, successes, failures, catastrophes & their consequences. …….,

    Looking backward from my 60 & 70s obsession with travel, why didn't I  START SIT traveling 20 years earlier?

2. My BIO  may prompt you to evaluate MY fundamental life choices & the questions I did, did not, or should have asked myself

3. Probe MY life’s reasoning, emotions, and levels of confidence & self-worth during my life’s stages.

4. Now, in the safety & privacy of your mind evaluate & test what your emotions, self-worth, confidence, emotional courage, initiative & issue solutions & limits might have been (or will be) in similar circumstances.      

       What might you have done better or differently?

You may be alarmed at my complete ignorance of what my life after college might be.  After all that 'education', I had 'no clue!!' 

5) These deeper insights may prompt or inspire a new vision for the 'balance of your life.'     What will it be like?

At 84, I can’t change my past. You, OTOH, have almost complete control over how you might want to try to plan/design the rest of your life.

If you always wanted to be a Doctor, you already know the route. BUT, what if you have no idea what you want out of life.

Most default to marriage & children, BUT, 'Why?'AMD .... before or after college or career's stability? 

6) Should you try to plan your life to some degree? 

Why else do we go to college, focus on a career, and develop sports or hobby skills, if not to somehow foresee & plan our future’s time.

At 60 I didn't really plan to spend the next two decades, obsessively traveling. BUT once I started doing 1 trip/year & then 2/year and ... making them longer ... I was obsessed with # of countries I STILL wanted to 'see.'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It all started innocently enough at 3 or 4?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

             Manure

                OR

   chocolate ice cream

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                             My Full Biography                          AND.                                  questions you might ask about it.

 

 

Wings & Anchors

& a few 'life' questions

To evaluate our questions & answers, we'll often presume some basic positive factors (Wings) and negative factors (Anchors).

These Wings & Anchors will frame our discussions.

 

Wings: are the personal attirbutes that most of us inherently have. 'Wings' will focus on our levels of positive basic human traits that influence our lives. 

For example: we are born with unbridled curiosity, absence of human prejudices, & a 'thinking' brain that naturally seeks useful knowledge & experiences.

OTOH -----

 

 

 

 

 

Anchors: are negative 'baggage' factors that we accumularte once out of the womb. Often, at each age the intensity level of the "Anchors' varies. Identifying these 'Anchors' allows us to combat their negative effects.

For example, intellectual curioisty, creativity, imagination, etc. are suppressed by the public school system by about the 4th grade. (Ken Robinson, TED Talks videos on Youtube.)

Recognizing that most of public school's regimented memorization & destructive testing is a fraud may help you restore damaged self-worth.

Recognizing that a university's diploma value may be a delusion may 1)  prompt exploration of trade careers, 2) save you many $10,000s of life crippling student loans, & 3) free you to consider other, ignored, life choices

 

 

A few Life Questions: ... that I ask ... to prompt you:

    1. Evaluate my life's decisons  & effect - good or bad?

    2. How you might have avoided my mistakes. if me?

    3. How might you duplicate my good decisions?

    4. How might you plan your life to maximize your success & minimize your mistakes knowing you will always make mistakes.

Biref Overview

My BIO is that of an ordinary person flailing out-of-adolescence into the unknown torturous survival mode of the real world. Un-like the historic heroic BIOs above, my BIO is probably devoid of great drama. Yet, it is NOT totally ordinary.

Against a troubled youth: kicked out of grade school, high school, nevertheless punctuated by notable achievements in teens until flailing thru my 18  year old Benchmark Boundary & college to adulthood with no direction.

Ultimately, major successes & failures (USAFA & expulsion), corporate world submission and my ultimate rejection, ultimately crawling out of the corporate quagmire onto my own turf: real estate, laundromat, garage door business, lawyer & high school teacher. Yet, foolish stock risks & losses (½ mill $ ), hard-won financial recoveries, bold adventures (solo Chilkoot Trail trek into Yukon River kayak), and random unforeseen calamities.

It wasn’t all normal.

PRE-TEENS

             B. Biography                           Questions

                      Deeper dive, ... more context.                                                    Questions to ask me

                                                                                                                                   or  yourself.

Wings:

   1. Unlimited Intellectual curiosity

   2.  Unconstrained imagination & uninhibited creativity

   3. Few human-created prejudices 

 

 

 

 

Anchors:
1. Knowledge base: Yet to gain broad & deep knowledge & skills

2. Experience base: limited, but rapidly growing, learning & comparing.     Family / friends / school / church impacts: may be good or bad.

3. Destructive school system: the unrecognized threat of public education’s memorization/testing damage which: 
   1) crushes intellectual curiosity, 
   2) stifles imagination,
   3) suppresses initiative & creativity,
   4) wastes true potential of many youths
   5) undermines confidence & self worth
   6) foolishly isolates each subject’s content from all others destroying their natural interconnectedness
   7) Often wastes years of student’s time better spent actually learning useful knowledge & gaining useful skills & experience.

1. Family

 

It all started innocently enough,             but then ...  

 

I was raised in a middle-class family of a college-educated father and high school-educated mother who apparently always resented my father's education, his industry's high regard, his warmly engaging personality, and his major corporate management success. 

In our last Father/son chat he told me that she had often ridiculed his failure to have achieved even more.  

 Ironically, IMO, I believe her phony personality was the reason he had not.

My Mother: Early on I was aware that she had little regard for me, yet great protective affection for my younger brother. Her maligned efforts destroyed him and our family.

My ‘neighborhood’ friends:

When I was 6 my family moved into our ‘own’ home. While my parents moved us in, I remember taking my sister for a walk around the neighborhood and being chased by those who later become my ‘friends.’ Looking back at that very decent middle-class neighborhood of Eastman Kodak middle-management families. I never understood why. Don't now.

My tenuous, ‘friends relationship’ persisted until I made good friends later in high school. 

Anecdote: Ostracized, but why?: I remember having to look out the window early Saturday afternoons to see ' my gang' sneaking together to go to the movies without me, then I, racing out to go with them.

Pathetically sad as I remember now.   Once, apparently deeply engrossed in a movie, I looked to my right to discover my ‘friends’, en masse, had quietly got up and moved seats.

Funny, in one sense, but emotionally crushing in another, particularly when coupled with my antagonistic mother-brother cabal. 

Even now I am mystified, yet on reflection, I see the roots of my contentment with self-isolation.

Anecdote: my solo time: In my pre-teen & years I frequently solo-roamed a huge wooded area & cemetary alongside Rochester, NY's  Genesee River adjacent to my neighborhood. I knew all its trails intimately and my steep, hillside trails down to ‘my refuge caves' where I spent time ‘thinking.’ I was comfortable by myself in this wooded-mental refuge. 

For the challenge, I would sneak up undetected within feet of Boy Scouts at their nighttime fireside gathering deep in this wood.

At 10 & 12, my father shipped me alone for summers to my mother’s parents on Manitoba, Canada’s plains, as my Grandma quipped, “…to get me away from my mother for at least the summers.

Most wonderful period of my early life. Loving, warm huge grandmother, taciturn Scotch (Edinburg direct ) grandfather & wonderful manly role model, Uncle Bill. 

Grandma's ginger snap cookies cooked on her giant cast iron cook stove. Grandpa in his ubiquitous 3 piece wool suits,  vest n'all, smoking his deeply curved 'bent' style pipe with a shot of whisky every morning. And ...PIK.  Uncle Bill, tall, slim Abe Lincoln-like; fisherman, hunter, local hockey legend and his lovely much younger girlfriend, soon-to-be wife, Ellie. 

Wonderful boyhood adventures: sleeping in a tent with Uncle Bill’s dog, Pete, fishing, shooting rifles, big County Fair, boating & fishing; constantly in boyish trouble working in my grandfather’s store then, LaPlont Block70 years ago. Even then it was almost an antique small downtown grocery store now displayed in the local Brandon, Manitoba museum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Could I, a Pre-teen, have understood my mother’s dislike of me? ..or why? 

I recognized her dislike of me by 4 or 5 and that she & my brother were a cabal of my enemies, but I never understood ‘Why.’ 

Did my mother /brother cabal teach me to mistrust such relationships? Looking back, I suspect so, but not that I could articulate then.

It did make me reach out to my friend, Eddie's dying mother as a trusted mentor & confidant thru long conversations. In teens, it pushed me to rebellious friends. Her tyrannical control distanced my father from me.

Lack of mother, family and true neighborhood friends made nature's outdoors a welcome refuge.

Did my family estrangement make me isolate myself? Yes, but, at school church elsewhere. I had what I believe were good normal relations and friends.

Was she the cause of my academic failures?  Did her ridicule & lack of support leave me blind to other opportunities like singing, acting, sports, etc.?      I didn’t think so then, nor now.

I never guessed that her negativity undermined my confidence & self worth because I always seemed to excel outside school. 

Only as an adult did I look back and presume to guess at her low self-worth & its source; perhaps when she compared herself to my gentle father's high professional status & respect. 

     Anecdote:  6 decades later, I asked her 95 year old sister, why my mother was as I described her. My aunt looked at me in disbelief —-  she had no idea what I was talking about.

Anecdote: Summers in Canada:  At 10 & 12, my father shipped me for summers to my mother’s parents on Manitoba, Canada’s plains to, as Grandma quipped, “…to get me away from my mother for at least the summers.” 

Most wonderful period of my early life. Loving, warm huge grandmother, taciturn Scotch (Edinburg direct ) grandfather & wonderful manly role model, Uncle Bill.

Wonderful boyhood adventures: tent sleep in a tent with uncle’s dog, Pete, fishing, shooting rifles, big County Fair, boating & constantly in boyish trouble working in my grandfather’s then almost antique (70 years ago) small downtown grocery store. 

Yet, in spite of the solo 3 day railroad trip to Grandma’s … no specific desire to travel for travel’s sake.

Why did my 10 year old's 3 day solo train ride across Canada  to Grandma’s NOT generate a desire to travel?

Too young to 'see' that far afield. It was a grand adventure in itself. Why would Ihave wanted more?

 

 

2. School

Even in kindergarten I was often expelled from class for disruptive behavior. I hated school’s boring regimentation. 

      Anecdote 1: In kindergarten, 1) I was 86’d from the playhouse, 2) scolded for blocking Office Clerk’s entry with large (2' x2') play blocks, 3) would not sleep quietly on my blanket during ‘milk’ break.

      Anecdote 2: In 2rd Grade, I had my own chair in the hallway outside our classroom. Later, In 3rd grade, I was moved to a different teacher’s class, but still had a worn path 😃 to the Principal who once flicked my ear with his finger & told my mother, "Scott is just not very intelligent.     By 3rd grade I had been taught I was a failure - a bad kid. 

    Anecdote 3: In 4th grade, my Math teacher threw chalk at me hitting me just below the left eye?  Today's lawsuit lottery. 🥲

     Anecdote 4: Later, in 4th grade, my father, before I was expelled, placed me in private catholic Nazareth Elementary boys school, to hopefully re-direct my path. My bad behavior briefly continued until school’s Principal, Sister Mary Patrice, whacked me over the knuckles with a wooden ruler & advised that I had 2 weeks to ‘shape up’ or I was expelled.    I shaped up.

Then back in public high school’s 8th grade hopefully rehabilitated, I still hated school, warred with my mother, enjoyed Cub Scouts and my church group. I lasted until thru 10th grade, when Dad removed me, before expulsion, to Manlius Military School. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Could I have ‘understood’ my father’s counsel to ‘get good grades’ if I wanted to succeed? 

What did that even mean?

My father had been a successful major American corporation executive who drummed college into my brain. It was the only path to mythological ‘success” , he argued.

Ironically, such counsel may have even less relevance in today’s merging of cellphone Internet access, games-based learning-software & AI as that combo hopefully replaces destructive public education.

2. Did I consciously recognize my school’s boredom, my classroom disruptions, and my academic & familial failings?

No, I simply accepted them as ‘me’ without assigning direct blame to anyone including myself.

My solution was my imagination’s classroom day-dreams — my ‘secret’ refuge … and, of course, distracting others & generally screwing around.

My self-worth was probably shakey although I probably couldnot have defined the concept.

My solution was my imagination’s day-dreamsmy ‘secret’ refuge … besides, of course,   distracting others & generally screwing around.

3. Who did I blame for my academic failures & apparent behavioral issues?

No one. I simply accepted them as ‘me’ without assigning blame to anyone including my mother & brother. 

As a child, I simply presumed that parents & school was ‘my world’, and never thought to question it. I knew I liked Eddy Wagner’s mom a lot before she, unfortunately, died early. She and I could talk for hours.

I never liked my mother or brother. Always suspect. Always my danger zone.

4. Should/could I have contemplated my future & self corrected? 

Perhaps, but as a fledgling human, I was not coping well with the present, so how could I imagine the future let alone how to prepare, plan, or alter it.

The future was , I suspect, simply the next required thing: 

 “Up in the mornin' and out to school
  The teacher is teachin' the golden rule
  American history and practical math
   You studyin' hard and hopin' to pass.  
                 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
   Soon as three o'clock rolls around
   You finally lay your burden down
   Close up your books, get outta ya seat
    Down the halls and into the street”
               From Chuck Berry’s 1957 hit, “School Days.
                       https://tinyurl.com/49hu3zhd

 

 

3. Travel

In my earliest years, my dislocated parents would drive from New York to Manitoba Canada or Nova Scotia, Canada to visit their parents. A long boring, non-stop slog of picnic lunches & cheap hotels in a cauldron of explosive family tensions in an old car left no travel memories: foreign or domestic. 

At 10 & 12, my father shipped me alone on the Canadian Nationa Railroad for summers at my mother’s parents' home on Manitoba, Canada’s plains to, as Grandma quipped, “… get me away from my mother for at least the summers.” 

I loved the railroad trip: Conductor’s conversations & attention, after-hours Boston Cream pie & milk in the dining car with chef & dining staff, and the 'clicking' of the rails during sleep. An adventure that led me to the most wonderful period of my early life. I've always loved train travel.

Most wonderful period of my early life.

Grandma was lovingly warm & huge … towering over diminutive, taciturn Scotch (Edinburg direct) grandpa. Grandma’s ginger snap cookies cooked on her giant cast-iron cook stove. Grandpa in his ubiquitous 3-piece wool suit with vest, smoking his deeply curved pipe with a shot of whisky every morning. 

And ..Uncle Bill, tall, slim Abe Lincoln-like; fisherman, hunter, local hockey legend and his lovely much younger girlfriend, soon-to-be wife, Ellie. Uncle Bill has always been my wonderful manly role model.

Wonderful boyhood summer adventures: tent sleeping with Uncle Bill’s dog, Pete, fishing, shooting rifles, big County Fair, boating & constantly in boyish trouble working in my grandfather’s store which even then, 70 years ago, was itself an antique small downtown grocery store now reassembled in the local Brandon, Manitoba museum.

I spent days on end roaming the streets of small Brandon, Manitoba on bike with Pete, Uncle Bill’s Springer Spaniel dog. Care-free days of solo adventure. 

Yet, despite my solo 3-day railroad trips to wonderful Grandma’s AND bus trips to Boy Scout summer camp, they spawned NO specific desire to travel for travel’s sake.… Perhaps, not a surprise really.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Does a child have an inherent desire for foreign travel?   Doubtful,

A child’s almost mental clean slate is frantically, with great wonder, trying to build its knowledge base, skills & experiences to match her growing awareness of the world she has been plopped into.

2. Can a child even grasp the concept of foreign travel? Certainly, based on knowledge & experiences they are exposed to

Perhaps in the same way 'tolerance' can be taught by erasing the significance of differences. EX: Americans eat hamburgers while Mexicans eat tacos; not good nor bad, just simply different.

3. Can parents facilitate travel desire? Perhaps

Exposing a child to travel-related media that compares/ displays foreign cultures with our own e.g.: National Geographic Magazine's, Curiosity Stream’s documentaries, History Channel etc.

Critical to expose, not force or indoctrinate, a child to everything letting them become naturally interested, or NOT

Public education’s forced memorization & destructive testing system destroys intellectual curiosity, imagination & creativity.

My TEENS

                B. Biography                   Questions

                                Deeper dive, ... more context.                               Questions to ask me or  you.

 

 

Mark Twain: “ Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime?”

Wings:

1. Unlimited Intellectual curiosity: damaged, but potentially restorable*

2. Unconstrained imagination & creativity: damaged, but potentially restorable*. 

3. Positive extracurricular successes : sports, school, Girl Scouts, church, etc.

Anecdote 2: My high school’s problem student, dropped out. Two years later I met him working at a local lumber store.

I asked the owner, my friend, how my problem student was working out. He beamed telling me how good he was. 

So, rebirth is possible, despite earlier damage.

 Rebirth is inherent in all of us.

 

 

 

 

Anchors:

   1. Humiliating academic results, low test scores self-worth damage, & an UNjustified belief you ACTUALLY have low intelligence & ability.

   2. Cynical attitude toward forced, memorization-based ‘learning’ VS.  useful, hands-on or self-taught info. 

   3. Contradiction between poor grades & school behavior vs success outside of school. (music, computer games, motorcycle mechanics, etc.) 

   4. Perhaps there is no trusted adult mentor.

   5. Passive parents: in spite of love.

   6. New or hardened prejudices without non-judgmental questioning of yourself, others, & knowledge/learning.

1. Family

 

I remember little of my teenage family years. 

My father was involved with professional associations, writing a B&W photography textbook & playing tennis. We did little together.

He bought a junker car for me to rebuild as my friend Larry Webster had done, but that initiative quickly ended and we junked it. I have always lamented that abandoned project.

Dad attempted to engage with my Boy Scout world as the Troop's bookkeeper, but I sensed he was uncomfortable with the camping that my WWII veteran Scout leaders excelled at.  I suspect his father treated him the same. 

My mother/brother cabal persisted, but I managed to avoid it with a part-time job at JC Penney, cross-country running sport, a girlfriend, and my own attic bedroom refuge.     I marveled at my father's stoic endurance of my mother.

She was definitely the prime reason I was 'obsessed & possessive' with girlfriends. but incapable of sustaining a relationship. Sadly, in many of my relationships I unfairly saw my mother in each woman. Sadly, with many girlfriends, I was haunted by the ‘desperate love’ that bound my father to my mother.        In retrospect, a terrifying obsessive compulsion addiction.

 

 

 

     Anecdote 1:  Mother's hypocrisy: Once I crept close to overhear my mother bragging my Boy Scout & Church success to her bridge club girls, then shortly after they were gone ridiculing me for something.          I learned ‘hypocrisy’ early on.

    Anecdote 2: Student Body President: When I decided to run for Student Body President my mother ridiculed my ambition, calling it foolish. Fortunately, my ‘character’ pushed me on. I almost won.😃

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     Anecdote 3:  One Saturday in the car with my Dad after my mother's particularly brutal physical & melodramatic attack the night before, I asked him why he did not divorce her.            He was too honorable to respond.

    Anecdote 4: Once I ran into the street screaming, “They’re fighting! They’re fighting.”        I was sorely frightened.

Unfortunately, my year-younger sister was a near-anonymous family member lost to me in my battle with ‘the’ cabal.  I was never a proper brother. Shame on me.

Sidebar: I felt alone at 4 yrs old when the war with my mother became evident to me. Yet, I desperately sought romance from my early teens onward, almost always destroying relationships for reasons I could/would not explain.

I returned early from my Dating Game trip because I felt hollow without a romantic traveling partner. It seemed a natural law of nature.

 

 

Same questions as 'pre-TEEN' above with only slightly different answers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Did I, as a teen, understand any better my mother’s dislike of me? ..or why. 
                   Apparently not.

Only as an adult did I look back & guess the source of her low self-worth & tyrannical manipulation of an entire family. 

Perhaps, she resented my father's high respect & professional status. She physically & verbally abused this fine, noble, loyal man. I saw it, but could not understand it.

2) Did my mother’s hypocritical public applause of me coupled with her constant private denigration of me, even tho I excelled in all but academics, affect me?             Probably.

I knew she was many things Boy Scouts & church had taught me not to be: dishonest, duplicitous, phony, vindictive, selfish, manipulative, unfair, & violent.

I have been hypersensitive to those traits in others, particularly girlfriends. 

3) Did I understand my mother's enabling defense of my brother against me?

   I recognized her insidious favoritism but never understood why, EXCEPT one time when she commented to me that my "Brother had been a mistake." Perhaps her protectiveness of my brother & denigration of me was her coping mechanism.

I had learned to avoid conflict with them both, but I learned to quickly recognize the dark arts of hypocrisy, lying, another’s self-serving agenda & manipulation, etc. 

4) Did I recognize my family’s dysfunctional battleground?     Yes.

I recognized that my friends home-life was wonderfully pleasant, but I saw no options.

2. School

      a. Public High School:

Hating boring oppressive public middle/high school like a wild animal trapped in a cage, I reverted to my earlier academic failure & behavioral issues with massive smoldering family upheavals AND seeking solace with more rebellious friends. 

I started Each new school year enthusiastically, yet inexorably the grinding, slogging classroom boredom washed over me like heavy lava - depressing, stifling my optimistic intentions … except for Geometry which foreshadowed my future organizational & logic talents.

While this teen tale looks pretty pessimistic, ironically during this same period I became an Eagle Scout with a Palm, barely missed being elected as a high school president, and was head of my church group. When I told my mother I was going to run for high school president she ridiculed my intention.  Go figure. 

 

 

 

 

    -- My 'curiosity's rebirth:

In my middle-late teens, I realized that I had an inherent ‘curiosity”, but not for force-fed academics. Perhaps it was re-born by the many hands-on Boy Scout merit badges I achieved even if could not translate into academic achievement.

 

      b. Manlius Military High School

In desperation, my parents shipped me off to Manlius Military High School where I excelled within the military structure & regimentation rapidly rising to officer status, but alas, still struggling mightily with studies.

It was here I learned I could take responsibiity for myself & others, could act independently with confidence. 

           Anecdote: Major Middelton, the adult commandant over all cadets once ordered me as 2nd Lieutenant of my platoon to do something (can't recall) that would jeopardize the legitimate goals of my platoon. In UNmilitary fashion, I refused until he backed down & recanted. Even now, looking back, I am surprised that at 16 I had that much confidence & responsibility to my men. 

Finally, after an extra Manlius school year I graduated having performed well enough to get a rare Appointment to the new US Air force Academy.

     c. USAFA:

U. S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) is a great institution which taught me very powerful life lessons.

     1)  Anecdote 1:    "You never reach your limit?"

         After our Plebe (freshman) squadron's exhausting 2-hour run in the nearby hills, during lunch, an upperclassman jokingly asked me, "If I would like to repeat the run after lunch?" To his surprise, "I instantly answered, "Yes" and we did, ....both of us proving "You never reach your limit."

     2)  Anecdote 2:    "Defend your honor."

        Racing up several flights of stairs to sign in before being late from our Sunday leave, an upperclassman apparently yelled for us/me to stop. I never heard him. Later he filed an Honor Violation against us/me for ignoring his command forcing us to appear individually before the Honor Board. 

           Very little trumps the seriousness & fear of an Honor Board's inquiry which impliedly suspects you violated the Honor Code, and if so, expulsion within 24 hours. I was so scared that I remember ‘feeling’ like my body was slowly rotating in my chair.

          After their cross exam of me, I boldly replied, "If you think I am guilty, then I don't want to be part of this Academy." I was excused. Nothing was said again.

     3) Anecdote 3:     "Strive for excellence when required."

Perfectly shined shoes, room inspection's neatly folded underwear, precisely memorized military quotes, etc. was demanded; failure gave you demerits & hours marching with rifle on your shoulder. 

I have the highest regard for USAFA and its graduates, but my lack of academic skills could not be offset by my military enthusiasm. 

Also, after 2 years I realized I did not want a regimented military life.

          Anecdote 4:  "... don't question?"

At dinner, I challenged ‘something’ (regulation, practice etc - don’t remember). An upperclassman forcefully responded, “You don’t question. You just follow orders.”

I understood the need for that mindset, but it rankled me.

I shot pool for 2 weeks before exams to ensure I would fail & be honorably dismissed weeks later. Telling a lie (falsely saying “Yes Sir. I shined my shoes.” gets you dishonorably expelled next day.

Only much later would I fully appreciate the contradiction between my academic inadequacy and my rare & difficult-to-get appointment to USAFA. Yet, later I realized how USAFA had firmed my confidence in my capabilities.

          Anecdote:  Every few years for decades into my 60s I would have a dream in which the Academy was letting me back in to complete my 4 years.  Brain's lingering guilt asking me to re-evaluate my decision, or merely revisiting my earlier decision?

 

 

1. Did I recognize my academic boredom?

Yes! As earlier, I simply presumed, that my academic failure was an inherent, non-correctable personal defect. No light switch I could just flip to correct; a depressing force.

2. Did I yet ‘understand’ my father’s admonition that ‘getting good grades’ was the avenue to this ‘success’ he spoke of? 

I tried to empathize with father’s concerns on my behalf, but never understood his vision for my future ‘success.’

How could a teen ‘understand’ ‘success’ in some far off future's illusory career? It was not relevant.

 

3. Why didn’t the epiphany of my rediscovered curiosity translate into school greater academics success?

Boy Scout activities & Boy Scout hands-on Merit Badges I completed perhaps triggered my reborn curiosity & hands-on learning, but public school classes were too rigid, too forced memorization, too irrelevant and terribly boring.

4. Did I ever consciously think about the disconnect between poor academics & success outside of school?       NO!

I suspect I simply accepted my poor academics as a given, while I gravitated to outside pursuits I could enjoy & succeed at. 

5. Could/did I blame anyone?    NO!

I knew my mother/brother cabal made me a wary outsider within my own family. I didn't like it, but I didn't consciously blame anyone. Just my life. 

Sadly, my Dad, in a ‘last, everything must be discussed conversation’ a year or so before he died, asked me why I disliked my mother so.

I told him, “1. She & my brother were my enemies for as long as I could remember, and 2. You, Dad, NEVER defended me against her .” He nodded, finally realizing & apparently, hopefully understanding. He didn't need to apologize; just understand.

6. What key fundamental future factors should I have been considering?

I have no memory of thinking about my future perhaps because: 

     1) My parents never gave me positive encouragement, just dire warnings.

     2) Usually my mother bemoaned & sighed my inadequacies like parents of the handicapped might reluctantly do. 

7. Should/could I have imagined my future & self corrected

Briefly, I did, … kinda. At 17 FWTR I became enthralled with new U.S. Air Force Academy being built in Colorado Springs, applied & was accepted

3. Travel

Other than bus trips to Boy Scout’s summer camp, no travel in my teens inspired travel in general. Not a surprise really.

Travel Specific Questions:

1. Can a teen grasp the concept of foreign travel?    Certainly

Perhaps, based on subject matter & experiences they are exposed to.

2. Can a teen naturally develop a desire for foreign travel? Possibly

Again, based on resources/media’s subject matter & experiences they are exposed to & naturally respond to without overt persuasion.

This can be greatly enhanced by student tours abroad, exchange student programs, family trips abroad and various classes: history, art etc., if interesting.

3. Can parents, teachers etc facilitate such a desire?        Of course

Global issue discussions, international Netflix movies with sub-titles.

Actual Travel: family, school group travel, exchange students

Media that explains & promotes foreign travel.

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  

III. 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
             attributes!:
             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 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.  

III. Benchmark Boundary

   A. INTRO - 'our' pause ....

      1. Key Benchmark Boundary questions

      2. "Now you have control!"

      3. Typical guidepost: college
          Student Loan debacle post [plk: Gap Year post]

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

   

   D. After High School options

      1. Hourly, unskilled labor:

      2. College:

      3. Trades

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]

 

 

 

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?

            Space.com:  "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." https://scottsolotravels.com/umbraco#/content/content/edit/231
    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

II. Wings & Anchors (synopsis?)

Back to Table of Contents

                                                                                                                                   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

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

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

C. 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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

III. 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?

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. 

,mnb, 

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.
  https://powertofly.com/up/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.

McDonald's:
Industry Leaders: MCDONALDS RUN BY ROBOTS: “FAST” FOOD WITH A TWIST : https://www.industryleadersmagazine.com/a-mcdonalds-run-by-robots-the-start-of-an-automated-future/#:~

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?”
                                                            https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/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. 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 ——

Notes:
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).

Examples:
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:
ifamilydental.ca

Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School:
"What’s the Difference Between a Dental Tech, Assistant & Hygienist?"
https://www.schoolofdentalassisting-vancouver.com/dental-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

My 20s

                B. Biography                                Questions

                                Deeper dive, ... more context.                                                       Questions to ask me or  yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I. Family: 

Once again, my poor father ....

After the Air Force Academy, I never permanently returned home. My USAFA experience began my near-total escape from my family except for  a short visit every few years and bi-monthly phone calls home to hear my father’s voice & and exchange obligatory niceties with my mother. I never missed my family, but relished the comfort of my father’s voice.

My mother NEVER answered the phone to protect herself from anything upsetting which my father deflect, including my brother’s, manipulative & irresponsible demands for money.

Yet after my USAFA dismissal, my poor father once again felt forced to bail me out after m my impetuous, and perhaps cowardly, engineered discharge from USAFA on grades by shooting pool for 2 weeks before exams; --- this free, prestigious US Air Force Academy education and the life career it almost guaranteed. 

Dad scrambled that summer to enroll me in highly regarded, but expensive, Lewis & Clark College, in Portland, Oregon. I say ‘he’ because I was only mildly interested in “What was next?”

Dad had summarily dismissed my plan to buy a used BMW motorcycle and solo ride around the country a la Steinbeck’s Travels with Charlie’ & Jack Kerouac’s road wandering classic “On the Road.” Dad’s quick retort, “Try that and I’ll cut you off.” ended that fantasy. Oft times I have wondered what my life would have been like if I had gone anyway. 

I believe my father’s self-worth was somewhat dependent on this kid’s completing college. Ironically, I was the only child that did. What my father lacked in a close father-son rapport he made up for in his efforts to insure my educated future.

 

II. My Continuing Education:   Lewis & Clark College: 

At L&C I majored in political science and history because I thought that would be the easiest way to get a college diploma. I was too ignorant & naive to discover that a teaching major was even easier and promised a real career. All that was lost on me

Quickly enough, I fell into several unrequited, tumultuous love affairs which ravaged me psychologically & physically as I medicated with alcohol. Romantic self torment rendered study an irrelevant grueling burden & my future vision a total fog. Thus I struggled with, surprise, low grades.

Finally after a ‘post-graduate’ L&C summer, I finally had sufficient grades for them to let me graduate with a 1.88 grade point average on a 4.0 scale. I always quipped that, “L&C wanted to get rid of me as badly as I wanted out.”

In sum, I wasted a 2nd fully paid opportunity I neither appreciated, valued or empathized with. 

        Guilt:  Only when I was out of college for a while did I realize the effort it took for my father to survive & scramble for the success that allowed him to keep "bailing me out" and pushing me forward in spite of myself. While I don't think I felt guilt for my father's efforts, I certainly lament the price and agony he must've endured.

Sheepishly looking back, during that time of my life I had no sense of responsibility for my future, apparently presuming  my father would always have my back, since he apparently had the vision of what I was supposed to become, although that vision was never specifically articulated. 

 

 

 

 

III. Work: survival & career : 

    A. Survival Work:

I graduated college … broke, in debt and no goals. Raw survival mode.
      1st job: Cutco Cutlery sales:I continued to sell Cutco Cutlery door-to-door, working hard to earn a pittance, but too financially unpredictable.

        Anecdote: Broke: I remember the daily frustration & anguish of being broke, while women living in very expensive Lake Oswego, Oregon cliff-top homes would tell they could not afford a $3.65 knife.

    2nd Job: Bus stop advertising: was getting permission from contiguous home owner’s to put advertising on bus stop benches.     Never got paid.

    3rd job: Doughnuts: I slept on the doughnut shop’s storeroom floor until I awoke very early each morning to bake & deliver the doughnuts.

         Anecdote: a broke Dustin Hoffman: At my ex-college girlfriend’s arranged marriage ceremony I parked across the street from the church. like a cowardly Dustin Hoffman (The Graduate).     I had 25 cents for gasoline in my 1934 Dodge Delux (didn’t take much then), and 10 cents in my pocket munching the only food I had that weekend — a box of red licorice twists. 

My fear of insolvency’s financial burden, insecurity & risk blocked even slightest fantasy of marriage, family & travel for next 2 decades.     Painful to admit , her mother had been wise.

        Anecdote: 'No money' Dreams. In my 20s & 30’s  I awoke from dreams sitting upright in bed frightened at the real estate payments that I could not easily pay.      Even now I have dreams in which I don’t have enough cash on me, yet even in the dream, I know I have money somewhere. 

Poverty always perched on my shoulder like a ravenous vulture.

        Travel: My early to late 20’s were dominated by 2 forces:   
            1) corporate jobs and
            2) real estate investment.  Domestic & foreign travel was never considered; financial security was my only obsession.

 

 

 

    B. Mid 20s Corporate Sales & Advertising:

Finally, At 24, I discovered ‘employment agencies’ and listing of ’corporate sales’ jobs that paid a salary, expenses, provided a car, were quasi-professional and most of all, challenging. A true revelation! 

        1. Alberto Culver (VO5 shampoo): During my 1st job interview, Sunkist Company (oranges) said I was too over-qualified to service orange displays in grocery stores. The ‘overqualified’ irony seemed to mock my college diploma.

Then, Alberto-Culver (VO5 shampoo, etc) hired me as an entry-level ‘detail’ salesman servicing small Portland & Oregon area drug store shelf displays.  I was so elated. Imagine, a company car, expenses, a modest predictable salary, and territorial responsibility.            I had died & gone to heaven!

         Anecdote: Oregon Coast route: After a few weeks I was sent to service the Oregon Coast’s small-town drug stores. Unfortunately Alberto Culver, only reimbursed expenses after I had incurred them.  I had little money for my expenses

I slept in my company car’s back seat in a gravel quarry, shaved in gas station’s cold water bathroom sink & dressed in my suit. Ah, the resilience, endurance of youth.   A night later I slept in a small coastal town’s flop-house hotel with a bare light bulb hanging on a long cord. Beat the car.

Weeks after I submitted my expense report & was reimbursed my boss reprimanded me for NOT incurring enough expenses and making my fellow salespeople look bad & upsetting them. 

Even now I can remember the irony of my self-sacrificial job devotion being twisted into a negative.   Life’s little lessons.

     Alberto-Culver’s greatest value to me was the revelation that I could 
         1) work hard with passion toward defined goals, 
         2) develop sales technique skills on my own, 
         3) refine my people skills to inspire legitimate customer respect & trust,
         4) compete fairly with other salespeople. 

I was ecstatic, until …..it got old, and I started looking around. I got fired for doing so.  

         2. Thermos Company: Insulated Thermos bottles    
          Anecdote: Fired & hired same afternoon.  I had just picked up my Alberto Culver supervisor at a Montana airport when, driving into town, he fired me.  My employment agency had told him I was looking for another job. Bitter irony.     HINT: beware of employment agencies.

   Fortuitously, hours before being fired, I was hired by Thermos Corporation selling Thermos insulated bottles & products to Los Angeles territory retail outlets. A step up in all respects.

I can still remember the extreme emotional coincidence of dodging-a-bullet AND a new exciting future’s good fortune. 

My Thermos Sales Manager was a true professional who purposely groomed me to be successful with larger clients. Unfortunately, after a few years I was again fired apparently for exercising too much control over my mentor & boss.       Go Figure.

 

5. Did this corporate-level sales work build my character’s confidence, self-worth & esteem, etc?

YES Indeed, in several ways: 
    a) selling & living solely on my own for months without direct oversight enhanced my confidence, 
    b) high personal regard for the passionate commitment I had to my performance & company, 
    c) realization that store owners & others trusted & respected what I did, 
    d) appreciation of my free time’s flexibility & freedom 
    e) my successful development and implementation of sales plans, that directly benefited my boss AND our customers.
    f) ultimate realization that my future success was dependent NOT on my education, BUT solely on sum of my attitude & efforts.
    g) realization that my company & supervisors over time trusted me to act responsibly & effectively.

 

 

    3. Advertising Account Executive: 
At 25, shattered at first by ‘Thermos firing’, Then, for some serendipitous reason I cannot recall, I focused on marketing’s more complex, multi-disciplinary complex corporate -level advertising profession.

Boldly, I applied to Dailey Advertising agency, offering to start at the bottom i.e “the mail room clerk” to get my foot in the door. I ultimately worked my way up to Assistant Account Executive on several internationma & national accounts (General Motors, Air New Zealand) & finally to Account Executive.

Yet, every 18 months I got bored, moved onto Erwin-Wasey Advertising & finally, Carson Roberts Advertising until an agency client, a new start-up, Academic Financial Services (AFSA Data) hired me away to market & sell their government student loan software to colleges & universities. 

 

 

        4. AFSA Data: University/College billing & accounting software sales:
Eventually, a client lured me away to become marketing director (glorified salesman) for a small billing & accounting software business start-up (AFSA Data) his NYC venture capital mentor was invested in. 

Ironically, AFSA'a lawyer-president many months later fired me, then, at my suggestion to the venture capitalist investor,  was himself fired for squandering start-up funds. Soon after, I was later rehired, but alas, I soon quit after feeling burned-out on corporate chicanery.      I personally vowed not to work in corporate anymore. But, alas, .....

     Anecdote: An old L.A. bread company: After I quit, curiously, I applied to an old established bread company as marketing director. When I arrived for my interview they gave me a lengthy application to complete. I looked at it briefly, put it down, and waited for the personnel director to return

She asked if I had completed the application. I answered, “No.” She insisted that it must be completed before they would interview me. I thanked her for her time, but advised that, “I wouldn’t complete the application until I knew I wanted to work from them.” I politely thanked her again & left. I remember seeing a small 'holy water' niche on the stairway wall as I left; tell-tale of old-fashioned architecture & rigidity.

I vowed, then to avoid the corporate world working for others, manage my rental units & do “my own thing” including acting, singing, pottery, camping, biking & rolling skating along Manhattan & Hemorsa Beach’s beach front ‘Strand.’

 

5. Wash Tub Laundromat: 

Shortly after my AFSA Data & Dating Game experience, I negotiated the lease of a laundromat that had been closed for 2 to 3 years. It would become a working investment for several years well into my 30s. It requireda complete remodel of inside & outside including paintint, wall paper, carpet and a hefty investment in new machines. I also added a dry cleaning drop off service. I managed this well into my 30's.

 

 

Wings & Anchors

NOTE: Wings & Anchors for “20s” ARE SAME AS discussed above under Benchmark Boundary's Wings & Anchors

Please click this link to jump back up & review:    
          [jlk: 20s BB Wings/Anchors]

                       Questions

 Questions to ask me
                   or yourself!

I. Family:
    Did I ever consider marriage or family?: 

My dysfunctional family experience nullified any conscious desire for marriage & family. Pragmatically I never felt I was financially secure enough to take on the responsibility even tho I had the occasional traumatic romantic relationship driven, I suspect, primarily by Mother Nature.

Anecdote: My 30th birthday: I can remember imagining that when I had my 35th birthday, I would probably be married and have one or two children. That never happened.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I.  College:

   A. Lewis & Clark college:

1. Did I know, consider or even think what my post-college career options might be?  No!!! Embarrassingly, I never considered what I would do with a history & political science degree or my post-college future at all.

My future was hidden behind life’s opaque theater curtain, only my desperate minute-to-minute survival was visible. I just suddenly graduated & viscerally/starkly realized that I must eat & sleep somewhere.     That was all.

My Cutco Cutlery job was too financially uncertain; too insecure; too phony, and dependent on my glib sales persona with young women, yet initially it seemed my only option.

2. Why did I not pursue a college degree level job?

I had never thought about a post-college career. I just wanted out from under eduction’s constant grinding burden; to finally get through.

Nor had I any idea what my post-college options might be.       Sounds crazy, looking back. Like looking thru a window, but only seeing the glass.

   

B. Work

1. Once out of college, did I have an idea of college degree career path jobs?

None at all. I simply sought whatever menial survival job that popped up in front of me. Considerable irony … after finally getting a college degree. 

2. Why door-to-door sales & doughnut shop labor?

Actually, 1st job was soliciting permission from home owner’s to put advertising on nearby bus stop benches — never got paid.

OTOH, In college I had sold Cutco Cutlery door-to-door sporadically for extra income AND my doughnut shop job provided food, lodging(?), and a little extra cash.

3. Why didn’t I rebel against insecure Cutco door-to-door sales & my menial doughnut shop job?

Rebel to what?     I knew Cutco sales & my doughnut shop job provided food, lodging (?) and a little extra cash. I was grateful to survive. 

Curiously, I felt no self-disgrace from these menial jobs perhaps because I was grateful to survive. 

               QUOTEIt was during this time that I adopted this lifelong quote:
“Obstacles are what you see ...
when you take your eyes off your goal.” (Anonymous)

 

 

Finally, somehow, I ‘discovered’ ‘employment agencies and corporate sales work.

4. Was my college degree necessary?

Honestly, my college education added nothing, that I am aware of, to my life work skills. Both my white & blue collar work/ career’s knowledge & skills, except for law, were acquired on the job.

Anecdote: Pete Daily Advertising: [lkn:   }

Perhaps a small random exposure to history & art added to the intellectual quality of my personal life once I had fully recovered my curiosity a few years after college. 

But few, if any, work-ethic skills like diligence, initiative, self-motivation, time management skills, dependability, self-discipline, punctuality, positive attitude, hard work, and teamwork. A horse does not learn these skills at the end of a whip. 

Anecdote: When a teacher using projects ratehr than lactures & tests, "My son works too hard on your projects." ... my student’s mother complained to me. She asked me to ask him NOT to work so hard on his projects.

I looked at her & politely said, “That is exactly what I hope my students do.” We discussed it no further.

In the 60s a college degree was analogous to a high school diploma as a corporate screening device for white-collar classified work. Wearing a white shirt and tie was a professional symbol even though the pharmacy clerk you dealt with dressed casually.

OTOH, I suspect that my personality, as well as my door-to-door sales experience, were the most influencial criteria.

 

 

 

6. Why didn’t I seek a more advance career than corporate sales, but why? ... What career?  How would I know?  
    a. It had been my salvation. from menial; survival jobs.
    b. My sales work was rewarding, I had developed skills & corporate client contacts.
    c. It was challenging.

 

 

 

 

6. Why,  during my corporate sales and advertising agency experiences, did I not strive for my superior’s job — the next “ladder rung” above me? 

AnecdoteIrwin Wasey Advertising, LA: My boss, Ken Wessel, once told me, "Your primary goal should be to get my job." 'That' was the corporate politics I never grasped.

Perhaps because:
    1) I was excited, and highly self-motivated in each job until I wasn’t when I would move to another company for a greater challenge.
    2) I always saw my superiors as much more skilled, capable & experienced than I. Yet, later I realized they simply had more experience & perhaps, corporate political skills.
    3) Even as I worked hard delivering superior results I did not covet my superior’s job.
    4) Compared to my doughnut job, I was succeeding well.
    5) My real estate was a parallel life;  fulfilling and hopefully, a profitable challenge.

 

Finally, in my late 40s I made a personal commitment to avoid all romantic involvement, obviously including marriage because, I, not the women, would allways undermone any relationship.  With a couple minor blips. I honored that.

Travelnot a thought

6) What, right now, in my life, what could I begin to change that would help achieve my goals which may or may not include travel?. 

Note: for for timing purposes, I must've quit working after the dating game so either late 28 or 29 and I took over the laundromat shortly after that somewhere between 29 and Erwin Wasey advertising maybe 32 they started law school at 35 so means I started thinking about it in the early part of by 35

VI. Investing track:

Somehow, some way, when about 24 or so, I had an epiphany: “Owning real estate’ might be an average man’s route to financial security & success.”

Anecdote: Real estate investing inspiration: At 23 while selling Cutco Cutlery door-to-door on a Saturday morning in Portland, Oregon, I met a man painting a small house. We chatted, he indicating it was one of several rental houses he owned.

His inspiration was “ “How I turned $1000 into One Million in my spare time.” by William Nickerson. I too bought & read that book.  20 years later Nickerson updated it: "How I Turned $1 million into Five Million in Real Estate in My Spare Time” 😃

Several years later in Manhattan Beach, I recalled that incident, read the book. I still have a well-worn copy.

    A. California City quasi-scam:  (Getty PIK in emails OR K9 California City

Excited, but poor, my 1st ‘investment’ was a quasi-scam real estate development pie-in-the-sky lot called California City located out in S Cal’s desert. After a year of monthly payments, I realized it was semi-worthless, reneged and gave back ‘my’ lot so they could sell it to the next sucker.

Anecdote: Irony, a month ago & almost 60 years later, an article popped up on my iPhone entitled: “California's third largest city (California City) is a mostly empty, forgotten dream.”https://www.sfgate.com/travel/article/california-city-planned-community-explained-18476273.php

    B. Costa Mesa duplex:

Fortunately, my vision did not die. Later, I visited a Manhattan Beach real estate broker, Bill Woodbury, seeking his counsel on rental property investments. He helped me buy a duplex in Costa Mesa, Cal. My tenants were 3 prostitutes whose children lived in the garage; the unit was run down & flea-infested.

After evicting the prostitutes I had to clean, learn to repair plumbing & electrical, paint, landscape & replace carpets. I lived in Manhattan Beach, so I drove 20 mi each morning to work at Daily Advertising Agency on LA’s Wilshire Blvd, after work I drove 50 miles to Costa Mesa to remodel, & then later each evening I drove 40 miles back to Manhattan Beach.

I enjoyed managing & maintaining property myself, even if the learning curve was steep and net income low or negative. Constantly scrimping by on my advertising mail room job's income plus a big box store weekend job.

While my father remodeled part of our home and did all the upkeep and maintenance and repairs, he never thought to involve me. Perhaps he did not want me distracted from his white collar college path. IDK. 

Through my 20s & into my 30s I bought more rentals often with little or no money down & high monthly payments … always struggling to make the loan payments which kept me constantly broke.

I did all management, maintenance & remodeling myself — intentionally chaining myself to my real estate believing it would payoff someday. (it did.)

Anecdote My view of volleyball players below:  Once, as a part-time 'handyman' at 26 or so, I was waterproofing a roof overlooking Manhattan Beach where men & women my age played volleyball. I can still remember looking down at them thinking to myself, “Someday I won’t have to work. … and maybe you will." I wasn't wishing them ill-will; merely reinforcing my vison of my future.

VI. InvestingTrack:   
     
 1. What is financial literacy?     Financial literacy is the understanding & use of financial knowledge & skills broadly related to YOUR personal finances & investing —both intertwined.

      2. Why are most Americans financially illiterate?   
Thanks to counter-productive K-12 & university systems, the vast majority of American graduates (& their parents) are financially illiterate.            Ignorant of ………..
                                  1. personal money management, 
                                   2. credit card debt & car loans, and 
                                   3. investing. 

Most no nothing of bank's checking account loop-hole terms or about rental property or stock investments because:
        1. Useful Financial Literacy is NOT taught as general core knowledge in high school or college except perhaps tangentially in business major classes. I suspect most teachers are NOT financially literate
        2. Neither my parents, nor anyone else I knew, invested nor discussed it if they did, particularly real estate even though they owned our home.
        3. Naive Investment myths: 1) no money, & 2) no reason to learn about if no money.

    A. Personal Financial Literacy;
        1. Why is financial literacy a life skill all should have?

         1. CCs & personal bank loans:   Financial illiteracy or ignorance benefits the banks with --
            a. 3% credit card transaction fees it charges your retailer which, if wise, they pass on to you.
            b. more significantly, late paying card holders may suffer exorbitant fees & increased interest rates:
                1) late-pay fee 
                2) default Interest rate jumps as high as 29.9% or more AND can last for 6 months unless extended by more late pays.
                3) If not paid promptly, you pay interest on the late fees.*
                4) late pay reported to credit agencies damaging your credit score
                5 If credit score ‘drops’ bank can auto-increase your interest rate.
                6) Penalty Annual Percentage Rate (APR) increases can last for at least six months, but can be longer if you continue to make late payments.
                            * this is ‘destructive’ compounding interest — the worst.

 

         2. Credit Cards, car, RV & boat bank loans often catapult folks into permanent high-interest credit card & loan debt, .. often completely negating even the thought of retirement investment money almost guaranteeing a McDonald’s job in old age.

   D. Why do banks advertise cards heavily to college students?   They are most vulnerable to credit card mis-use (ignorant & naive) that will soon be working & acquiring debt.     Too cynical? You decide.

   E. Why do banks, colleges & universities promote almost unrestrained student loan borrowing?   [plk: Student Loan debt fiasco]

X Anecdote: On a Saturday morning in Portland, Oregon: selling CUTCO cutlery door to door at 22. I countered a man painting a small house. We chatted, he indicated it was a rental house of which he owned several.

He had been inspired after reading “ “How I Turned $1000 into One Million in My Spare Time.” by William Nickerson. 20 years later Nickerson updated it: "How I Turned $1 Million into Five Million in Real Estate in My Spare Time” 😃

Years later in Manhattan Beach, I recalled that incident, and read the book. I still have a well-worn copy.

  

B. Retirement Investing:

Other than a lucky lottery or inheritance, investing wisely throughout life is the best, and perhaps the ONLY strategy for work-free retirement & its enjoyment. 

Most do not get retirement-wealthy from work income, but rather from investing some portion of that work income regularly over their working years. 

Investment knowledge & skills refers to:
    1. investment kinds, characteristics & risks/opportunities
    2. practical ‘How to.’ investing knowledge & skills.

1. Why are most Americans ignorant of investment literacy?   (repeat)
    a. Pragmatically useful Investment Literacy is NOT taught as general core knowledge in high school or college perhaps because most teachers/professor are investment illiterate.
     b. My father worked for Eastman Kodak when once a viable company & accumulated their stock without deeper thought. His Kodak & family home were investments by default, not thru investment literacy. Obviously he never discussed investing with me.

2. Are there additional reasons most people, the young, in particular, do not invest?   When I ask, most sheepishly admit they should be investing for retirement, but haven’t for several reasons:
    1) more focused on immediate ‘fundament basic needs: food, lodging, fun, etc.
    2) focused on critical ‘life choices’: career, marriage/kids & freedom’s fun.
    3) At early 20s very little incentive to dwell on 3+ decades in the future, particularly when finally free to make own lifestyle choices. 
    4) “I have no money to buy stocks?”  

Yet, Jim Cramer, TV stock guru bought stock when young living in his car;   now worth over $200 million
    5) “I have no money, so, NO reason to invest in stocks.”

Yet, today you can buy a fractional share of some stocks for $5 minimum. (Charles Schawb)
    6) scared off by other’s risky claims which justifies NOT learning.
    7) If youths quickly make critical fundamental commitments/decisions - student loans, marriage, children, home, car and maybe foreign travel, the resulting financial burden may place them in debt quicksand for long periods with no foreseeable out.
    8) If they choose an expensive lifestyle - new cars, large home, expensive college education, they may be deep debt long after their children, have moved out on their own, if they finally do.

 

Anecdote: Econ class teacher: 

1) How to Skills: Had classroom stock games, 

2) Invited stock brokers to talk stocks & mutual funds.

Only several years later did I realize stock brokers are simply ‘shills’ for their company’s self-servingly agenda. AND that mutual funds are, in gthe vast main, very bad investments. 

I was so ignorant. 

I touted ______________________ until years later I learned extremely few were actually good investment.

 

c. Why is ‘time’ a young adult’s greatest investing asset?

Sad irony of this illiteracy is that youth wastes investing’s most powerful asset —time … for 2 reasons:

1. Even when young investor’s lose $ occasionally once in a while, they have rest of their life to recoup the loss.  At 83, I don’t have that ‘back door.’

2. Compounded interest is a valid investment concept. Understand it!!!

3) Good investments (S&P index fund) tend to increase in value over time creating profit or gain. 

 

Anecdote: In 1979 immediately after moving to Jackson Hole I bought 3 ½ acres of beautiful property for $65,000 on the Snake River looking north to the Grand Teton mountain & west to the Jackson Hole Ski Area. 20 years later I sold it for $1.25 million. Today it would be worth $3-5+ million. 

 

Anecdote: Apple (AAPL) stock: once: On 3/11/2010 I bought shares of Apple company at $8.01 which today are worth $168/share. 

 

Compounded interest bank accounts and stock dividend auto-reinvesting roll over into next years increases …. so, last year’s interest ALSO earns interest adding to the grand total. Unfortunately inflation & bank’s fees & low interest rate usually cause bank accounts to lose value over time. 

 

d. What is the financial status of most retirees?:

Recent GOBankingRates survey found that most Americans have less than $50,000 saved for retirement — the majority (36%) have less than $10,000 saved and an additional 27% have between $10,000 and $50,000 as of Mar 20, 2023. Much of that is in the family home most don’t want to leave or sell.

 

Imagine if that is your net worth when you retire at 67 and may have 20 + years of life during which all costs keep rising. If you did not invest early, your options may be 1) live with kids, 2) keep working, if allowed, McDonalds or welfare.

[pjlk: Investing in Real estate:

 

VII. Curiosity:

Within 2 years after college, I felt my intellectual curiosity slowly revive.  Inherently, obsessively curious.

VIII: Travel: 

    A. Early 20's travel:

I traveled the 1960’s somewhat unpopulated ‘real’ West of Northern Idaho, Montana, and NE Wyoming servicing & selling Alberto Culver shampoo to small drug stores in tiny townlets. I loved the openness of the west, the freedom of long drives between dinky Montana’s drugstore towns, weekend hikes (??), and the small western town museum's local-only history.

        Anecdotes:  
            1) Roundup, MT’s: ‘original hanging tree’:  (50+ mi N of Billing) small town with its original hanging tree) later moved into town for the edification of visitors. A noose always hanging.

            2) K-C WY: Site of Wyoming’s Johnson County War (aka Wyoming Range War) between cattle ranchers & sheep headers; basis for the Steve McQueen movie ’Tom Horn.” I still remember the abrupt silence when I asked some folks at the local bar about it.     Even the court records had been sealed until the last participant had died. 

           3) My only nite in jail:  Irresponsibly passing someone over a solid yellow line just before a County Sheriff's car rose towards me over a small rise & pulled me over. He advised the fine. And I still remember telling him, “You can take me to jail because I don't have any money." He did. Next morning judge let me leave my 22. rifle as collateral. I remember the jail’s stifling heat, late evening meal & early breakfast with other prisoners sleeping as long as possible between meals to make the time pass. 

     Travel: I felt the excitement of this mix of work & car travel. Each day, another town, motel & restaurant just seemed like freedom. I am sure this prompted my love of US & Canadian road trips, but I never even considered SIT travel thrill until decades later.

 

    B.  Mid 20’s Travel

    Dating Game TRAVEL:

At 28, I won the Dating Game TV show 3 times including an all-expense paid, fully chaperoned trip to ultra-exclusive 5 star Villa d’Este Hotel, on Italy’s Lake Como. Extending trip 2 weeks. I SIT solo visited several other countries. 

A good adventure, yet few travel memories, but returned early because trip seemed too soulless, too lonely; better done with a lover or friend, I thought.            Sadly, It did not inspire foreign travel.

Anecdote: Innocent, storybook romance: The experience also included an unanticipated, entirely innocent, storybook romance with a young heiress to an international beverage company; & our early morning drive to Lake Lugano, Switzerland for breakfast in Mr Healy’s last built Austen-Healy. A romantic storybook experience!         Indeed. I was way over my head.

I never thought of traveling abroad again. If I had, it could only have been an unjustifiable indulgence. In those days, life’s financial insecurity fears trumped travel.                                                 Survival, not travel, drove my life.      You get the point.

SEE BLOG, “Reasons I did not travel earlier” [pplk" ???: ]

My 30s

                B. Biography                   Questions

                                Deeper dive, ... more context.                          Questions to ask me or  you.

 

Prologue:

I left my 30s for Jacksin Hole , Wyoming for several reasons:

1) eascape the pleasantly numbing 'la la' vibe of Mnahatan Beac,Californiah. A life style many would crave.
2) to escape the inevitable high pressure, 24/7 constant grind & responsibility of a solo law practice.
3. seek a more manly lifestyle, far from the flimsy beach lifestyle of beach, Strand biking & bars.
4. I wanted the freedom to piush new boudaries although I am not sure I coujld explain my reasoning. 

I was escaping from Manhattan Beach as much as I was running to Jackson hole. It was perhaps the most important decision of my life, but I would not know that then.

When I arrived, I couldn't. There were four things I could never have imagined a year before; even six months before.  1. design & .build a large log house, 2. wrangling (takling)  dudes on overnight horse pack trips into the Grand Teton Mountains, 3. buy, manage & instal & repair garage doors, 4. solo hike the Grand Tetons, 5. go back to college.

 

 

Wings:

  • U.....us.

Anchors:

  1. Po....../learning.

1. Family

I remember little ....‘the’ cabal.

 

 

Family:

1. D....ned.

 

2. School

2. School: 

      a. Pubme to re-evaluate decision, or merely revisiting my earlier decision?

 

School:

1. Did I r...built in Colorado Springs, applied & was accepted

3. Travel

TRAVEL:

Other than ... would I?

Travel Specific Questions:

1. Can a teen grasp...s & promotes foreign travel.

My 40s

                B. Biography                   Questions

                                Deeper dive, ... more context.                               Questions to ask me or  you.

 

Wings:

  • U.....us.

Anchors:

  1. Po....../learning.

1. Family

I remember little ....‘the’ cabal.

 

 

Family:

1. D....ned.

 

2. School

2. School: 

      a. Pubme to re-evaluate decision, or merely revisiting my earlier decision?

 

School:

1. Did I r...built in Colorado Springs, applied & was accepted

3. Travel

TRAVEL:

Other than ... would I?

Travel Specific Questions:

1. Can a teen grasp...s & promotes foreign travel.

My 40s

                B. Biography                   Questions

                                Deeper dive, ... more context.                               Questions to ask me or  you.

 

Wings:

  • U.....us.

Anchors:

  1. Po....../learning.

1. Family

I remember little ....‘the’ cabal.

 

 

Family:

1. D....ned.

 

2. School

2. School: 

      a. Pubme to re-evaluate decision, or merely revisiting my earlier decision?

 

School:

1. Did I r...built in Colorado Springs, applied & was accepted

3. Travel

TRAVEL:

Other than ... would I?

Travel Specific Questions:

1. Can a teen grasp...s & promotes foreign travel.

 

   TOC                                 Discussion  & Questions        

                                                   you might ask.

D. My 40s

 

 

 

 

 

   1. Early 20s:

I was raised in a middle-class family of a college educated father and high school educated mother who apparently always resented my father's education and his high corporate world success. Early on I was aware that she had little regard for me, yet great protective affection for my younger brother.

At 10 & 12, my father shipped me alone for summers to my mother’s parents on Manitoba, Canada’s plains to, as Grandma quipped, “…to get me away from my mother for at least the summers.” 

Most wonderful period of my early life. Loving, warm huge grandmother, taciturn Scotch (Edinburg direct )grandfather & wonderful manly role model, Uncle Bill.

Wonderful boyhood adventures: tent sleep in a tent with uncle’s dog, Pete, fishing, shooting rifles, big County Fair, boating & constantly in boyish trouble working in my grandfather’s then almost antique (70 years ago) small downtown grocery store. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. School:

PIK school girl

Even in kindergarten I was often expelled from class for disruptive behavior. I hated school’s boring regimentation. 

      Anecdote 1: In kindergarten, 1) I was 86’d from the play house, 2) scolded for blocking Office Clerk’s entry with large (2' x2') play blocks, 3) would not sleep quietly on my blanket during ‘milk’ break.

      Anecdote 2: In 2rd Grade I had my own chair in the hallway outside our classroom. Later I was switched to a different teacher.

In 3rd grade, I was moved to a different teacher’s class, but still had a worn path 😃 to office of the Principal who once flicked my ear with his finger & told my mother, "Scott is just not very intelligent.”      

     Anecdote 3: In 4th grade, my Math teacher threw chalk at me hitting me just below the left eye?

     Anecdote 4: Later, in 4th grade, my father, before I was expelled, placed me in private catholic Nazareth Elementary boys schoola, to hopefully re-direct my path. My bad behavior briefly continued until school’s Principle, Sister Mary Patrice, whacked me over the knuckles & advised that I had 2 weeks to ‘shape-up’ or I was expelled.    I did. 

Then back in public high school’s 8th grade hopefully rehabilitated, I still hated school, warred with my mother, enjoyed Cub Scouts and my church group. I lasted until thru 10th grade, when Dad removed before expulsion to Manlius Military School. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

3. Travel:

PIK school girl

Every summer as a young child my dislocated parents would drive from New York to Manitoba Canada or Nova Scotia, Canada to visit their parents. A long boring slog in an old car left no travel memories: foreign or domestic. 

At 10 & 12, my father shipped me alone for summers to my mother’s parents on Manitoba, Canada’s plains to, as Grandma quipped, “…to get me away from my mother for at least the summers.” 

Most wonderful period of my early life. Loving, warm huge grandmother, taciturn Scotch (Edinburg direct )grandfather & wonderful manly role model, Uncle Bill.

Wonderful boyhood adventures: tent sleep in a tent with uncle’s dog, Pete, fishing, shooting rifles, big County Fair, boating & constantly in boyish trouble working in my grandfather’s then almost antique (70 years ago) small downtown grocery store. 

Yet, in spite of the solo 3 day railroad trip to wonderful Grandma’s experience, it spawned NO specific desire to travel for travel’s sake.…

 

 

 

B. Teens:

., yet sought solace with more rebelliious frineds. 

    1. Middle & high School: 

Hating boring oppressive middle/high school like a wild animal trapped in a cage, I reverted to my earlier academic failure & behavioral issues including more rebellious friends and massive smoldering family upheaval. 

I started Each new school year enthusiastically, yet inexorably the  grinding, slogging classroom boredom washed over me like heavy lava - depressing, stifling my optimistic intentions … except for Geometry which foreshadowed my future organizational & logic talents.

While this teen tale looks pretty pessimistic, ironically during this same period I became an Eagle Scout with a Palm, barely missed being elected as a high school president and was head of my church group. When I told my mother I was gong to run for high school president she ridiculed my intention.  Go figure. 

In my middle -late teens I realized that I had ‘curiosity”, but not for force-fed academic. Perhaps it re-borm by the many hands-on Boy Scout merit badges I achieved.

In desperation, my parents shipped me off to Manlius Military High School where I excelled within the military structure & regimentation rapidly rising to officer status, but alas, still struggling mightily with studies.

It was here I learned I could take responsibiity for myself & others, could act independently with confidence. 

Anecdote:

Major Middelton, the adult commandant over all cadets once ordered me as 2nd Lieutenant of my platoon to do something (can't recall) that would jeopardize the legitimate goals of my platoon. In UNmilitary fashion, I refused until he backed down & recanted. Even now, looking back, I am surprised that at 16 I had that much confidence & responsibility to my men. 

Finally, after an extra Manlius school year I graduated having performed well enough to get a rare Appointment to the new US Air force Academy.

    2. USAFA, 

Regimine excellence, academic challeneged, 

USAFA is a great institution which taught me very powerful life lessons.

     1) "You have never reached your limit?"

         Anecdote:

           After the squadron's exhausting 2 hour run in the nearby hills, during lunch our upperclassman asked me jokingly, "If I would like to repeat the run after lunch?" To his surprise, "I instantly answered, "Yes" an we did proving "You never reach yoour limit."

     2) Do not let yoour honoir be impugned,

         Anecdote:

             Racing up several flights of stairs to sign in before being late from our Sunday leave, an upper classmen apparently yelled for us /me to stop. I never heard him. Later he filled an Honor Violation against us foring me to appear before the Honor Board. Very little trumps the seriousness of Honor Board's determination that you violated the code: expulsion within 24 hors. When my word that I never heard the upperclassmen yell was challenged, I remember feeling that I was slowly spinning in my chair I was so scared, I replied, " If you think I ma guilty, then I don't want to be part of this Academy." Nothing was said again.

     3) Strive for excellence when required.

          Anecdote:

              Perfectly shined shoes, neatly folded underwear in drawers, precisely memorized military quotes, etc. was demanded; failure gave you demerits & hours marching with rifle on your shoulder. 

I have the highest regard for USAFA and it grduates, but my lack of academic skills could not be sufficiently offset by my military enthusiasm. After 2 years I also realized I did not want a life of military regimentation and engineered my final exam failures and dropped out after 2nd year.

Only much later would I fully appreciate the contradiction between my academic inadequacy and my rare & difficult-to-get appointment to USAFA. Only later would I realize how USAFA had firmed my confidence in my capabilities.

 

 

 

 

 

C. 20s: 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

insure nothing  of value & DELETE

Succinct Travel Bio Synopsis: 

Every summer as a young child my dislocated parents would drive 1500 mi from New York to Manitoba Canada or Nova Scotia, Canada to visit their parents. A long boring slog in an old car left no travel memories: foreign or domestic.

In 20’s occasional driving/camping trip to Western National Parks. Always great and … safe.

24 to 30 I worked obsessively for several national corporations & large LA advertising agencies.

At 28 I won Dating Game TV show all-expense & catered trip to exclusive Villa d'Este Hotel on Lake Como, Italy extending it 2 weeks to SIT visit other countries. A good adventure, yet few travel memories: Rome's Coliseum, 17th C Austrian mansion & a cage full of blue bottle flies at Amersterdam Zoo, a aprk bench with a young man trying to convince a young woman how much he loved her as only the Italians can  

     Yet, I left early because I felt lonely without a romantic partner. (Nature & society conspire). My trip did not inspire foreign travel in me. 

At 35 started law school, then solo practiced a year, quit

At 39 ½, I quit my law practice AND  S Cal's beachfront 'la la land' lifestyle to move to Jackson Hole, WY  FOR a more manly lifestyle of horses, large log cabin construction, rental units & a garage door business I started.

Frequently, I chevy-suburban camped thru Western US & Canadian National Parks and innumeral historical sites. Finally, my life was appreciating nature and curoisty. I truly enjoyed this travel.

At 43, an ex-girlfriend jilted me,  just before our planned Vancouver World’s Fair camping road trip from Jackson Hole, WY. So, hurt,  I indignantly went alone, NEVER feeling loneliness again. Thereafter, I intentionaly happily traveled mostly 'solo independently everywhere.

At 49, I received my U of WY high school teaching certification teaching US History, Econ, geography, government & law at Jackson Hole High School. At 52 stopped all lecturing & testing -- replaced by self-directed projects with grades based on effort, imagination & creativity.

In my 50s I tested myself with: 1)  solo backpack trek over Alaska's Chilkoot Trail segueing directly to a 600mi solo kayak float to Dawson City, and 2) 2 weeks solo kayak paddle thru the watery labyrinth of Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

I wasn't afraid to foreign travel, I just never thought about it.

Did USA and Canada offer too many exciting travel opportunities for me yet to explore her? I could've easily ignored, arranged for someone to manage my properties for a month or two or decades later I realized I had enough money differently. I had known how to locate it.

AT 53, 25 years after Dating Game trip to Italy, I chaperoned several high school students on a packaged tour to Rome. Again few memories, none of the travel inspiration designed for my students. 

I was intensely passionate. I videoed every US & Canada adventure, but have neither photos or video from my student trip. Why not?

At 58 ,

Bored at 58, made SIT RV Van trip to Baha Mexico. Fantastic. Wish I had done earlier.

driven by increasing boredom & an invite to caravan with another teachr & her students, I determined that I MUST visit Mexico. She reneged on her offer & with usual male indignation, I realiezed I had to overcome my fear of Mexico and just go.

Mexico had always frightened me: bad police, bad food, bad bandits, bad water, bad gas. 

So,I spent THAT Spring Break traveling Baja Mexico visiting small towns, eating local food, stopped occasionally by friendly police, camping overnight on secluded beaches for early morning kayak paddles, no gas issues,and just 1 morning’s brief bout of Montezuma’s Revenge.  A great trip. I enjoyed it immensely & eliminated foolish fears. ( may not be so foolish today (9/18/23)

That brief 1 1/2 week immersion in the Mexican culture was thrilling: authentic food prepared by locals for locals in tiny authentic restaurants or at street-food vendors, erasing the language barrier with hand gestures & smiles, navigating its terrible dirt & potholed roads. I was hooked on the exotic, strange, new  & exciting foreign culture.  This was my foreign travel TRIGGER.

My high school principal graciously gave me the 2nd semester off for the next 2 years.(On reflection, was he glad to get rid of me for awhile?)🥲😳.

The next 2 school years, solidified my foreign travel obssession.

     At 59,  

At 59, 2nd semester’s 3 months RV van trip thru Mexico, Guatemala & Belize. Fantastic memories & video. [YTclip. ]

First year, for 3 months I drove my small RV van with kayak on top and mt. buke hangoing opff the rear from Douglas, AZ to Chihuahua, MEX, teh to the west coast and south to Guatemala, and thru to Belize and into Yucatan, Mexican and finally up eastern Mexican Coast to Texas and home. I explored the major Myan sites, kayaked Mexico's' vast coastal playas and Belize Rivers

      On my return home I sold my large log home, most of my accumulated 'junk' and bought a condo.

     At 60,  

At 60, 2nd semester’s 3 month trip throughout New Zealand in small van. [YTclip. ] Fantastic memories & video.

Second year, began my ’true’ foreign trip traveling with 3 months throughout New Zealand in a small beat-to-hell van I bought from a hostel clerk.

      I returned home and retired from teaching to travel in earnest. I did so until cancer struck.  Hellava ride!!! 😁

   Obviously, at this 'creation' stage “…the tip of the tail is wagging this dog.’ 😀. 

      ................. I will now earnestly start filling in this shell-structure ......................

Wings:

  • Unlimited Intellectual curiosity
  • Unconstrained imagination & uninhibited creativity. 
  • Few human-created prejudices (Mom’s heart beat).

Anchors:

  • Knowledge base: Must yet learn a broad & deep knowledge & skills
  • Experience base: very limited, but rapidly growing,  with which to compare & learn
  • Family / friends / school / church impacts: may be good or bad.
  • Destructive school system: unrecognized threat of public education’s memorization /testing damage which:

    1) crushes intellectual curiosity, 

    2) stifles imagination, 

    3) suppresses initiative & creativity, 

    4) wastes the true potential of most students, 

    5) undermines confidence & self worth

    6) often wastes student’s months/years better spent actually learning useful knowledge & gaining useful skills & experience. …

    7) foolishly isolates each subject’s content from all others destroying their natural interconnectedness. 

Questions:

Family:

1. Could I, a Pre-teen, have understood my mother’s dislike of me? ..or why? 

I recognized her dislike of me by 4 or 5 and that she & my brother were a cabal of my enemies, but I never understood ‘Why.’ 

Was she the cause of my academic failures?  Did her ridicule & lack of support leave me blind to other opportunities like singing, acting, sports, etc.?      I didn’t think so then, nor now.

I never guessed that her negativity undermined my confidence & self worth because I always seemed to excel outside school. 

Only as an adult did I look back and presume to guess at her low self-worth & its source; perhaps when she compared herself to my gentle father's high professional status & respect. 

Anecdote:

6 decades later, I asked her 95 year old sister, why my mother was as I described her. My aunt looked at me in disbelief —-  she had no idea what I was talking about.

Anecdote:

At 10 & 12, my father shipped me for summers to my mother’s parents on Manitoba, Canada’s plains to, as Grandma quipped, “…to get me away from my mother for at least the summers.” 

Most wonderful period of my early life. Loving, warm huge grandmother, taciturn Scotch (Edinburg direct )grandfather & wonderful manly role model, Uncle Bill.

Wonderful boyhood adventures: tent sleep in a tent with uncle’s dog, Pete, fishing, shooting rifles, big County Fair, boating & constantly in boyish trouble working in my grandfather’s then almost antique (70 years ago) small downtown grocery store. 

Yet, in spite of the solo 3 day railroad trip to Grandma’s … no specific desire to travel for travel’s sake.

School:

1. Could I have ‘understood’ my father’s counsel to ‘get good grades’ if I wanted to succeed? 

What did that even mean? Ironically, even in today’s world it may have less & less relevance?

2. Did I consider my school’s boredom, my classroom disruptions, my academic & familial failings? 

No, I simply accepted them as ‘me’ without assigning direct blame to anyone including myself although I felt a gnawing guilt, tho.

My solution was my imagination’s classroom day-dreams — my ‘secret’ refuge … besides, of course,   distracting others & generally screwing around.

3. Who did I blame for my academic failures & apparent behavioral issues?

No one. I simply accepted them as ‘me’ without assigning blame to anyone including my mother & brother? 

As a child I simply presumed that parents & school was ‘my world’, and never thought to question it. I knew I liked Eddy Wagner’s mom a lot before she, unfortunately, died early. She and I could talk for hours.

I never liked my mother or brother. Always suspect. Always my danger zone.

4. Should/could I have contemplated my future & self corrected? 

Perhaps, but as a fledgling human, I was not coping with the present, so how would I imagine the future let alone how to prepare, plan, or alter it.

The future was , I suspect, simply the next required thing: 

“Up in the mornin' and out to school

The teacher is teachin' the golden rule

American history and practical math

You studyin' hard and hopin' to pass. 

               ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~     

Soon as three o'clock rolls around

You finally lay your burden down

Close up your books, get out of your seat

Down the halls and into the street”

     From Chuck Berry’s 1957 hit, “School Days.” 

             https://tinyurl.com/49hu3zhd

 

TRAVEL SPECIFIC Questions:

1. Does a child have an inherent desire for foreign travel?   Doubtful,

A child’s almost mental clean slate is frantically, with great wonder, trying to build its knowledge base, skills & experiences to match her growing awareness of the world she has been plopped into.

2. Can a child even grasp the concept of foreign travel?    Maybe

Perhaps in the same way tolerance is taught by erasing the significance of differences. EX: Americans eat hamburgers while Mexicans eat tacos; not good nor bad, just simply different.

3. Can parents facilitate travel desire? Perhaps

Exposing (NOT forcing upon) a child to travel-related media that compares/displays foreign cultures with our own e.g.: National Geographic Magazine's, Curiosity Stream’s documentaries, History Channel etc.

Critical to expose, not force or indoctrinate, a child too everything letting them become naturally interested, or NOT

Public education’s forced memorization & destructive testing system destroys intellectual curiosity, imagination & creativity.

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

K-8:

Hated school. loved father, mother & brother my enimies; loved Boy Scouts, summer YMCA camp and church group. No thought of future. Future was the next obvious thing: school starts, homework, test, report card, Xmaxs vacation etc. 

````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````~~~~~~~~

Consider the fundamental life questions I did or should have asked myself? How would you have answered thos same questions? What would or mighht you have done differently.  What do you think. you might do?

 

D) Then, step back from my BIO, look inside yourself, ask:

What are my life’s goals — specifically.

What, right now, in my life could I begin to change that would help achieve my goals which may or may not include travel?

 

 “A life already lived” that went the same direction you are now going.

) give others the perspective on the problem or issue by sharing my life's experiences with no soft foreign travel, my travel experiences which inspired no commitment to travel, and finally those factors which caused 180° turn around into a life of committed extensive world travel to him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

More importantly, you can ask yourself what you would do or have done in the same circumstances I was in you can look at my life and say what do you think you would want to do differently and then you can finally most importantly ask yourself what will I do to achieve that a

 

 

Table of Contents  

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

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

        1. Wings: Your natural, innate, positive
             attributes!:
             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 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 experince

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

 

 

 

 

 

III. Benchmark Boundary

   A. INTRO - 'our' pause ....

      1. Key Benchmark Boundary questions

      2. "Now you have control!"

      3. Typical guidepost: college
          Student Loan debacle post [plk: Gap Year post]

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

   C. Anchors. [jlk: Wings]
       1. Opportunity for SIT Foreign Travel:
           Related deep-dive posts:
              a. Travel Benefits:    [plk: Travel Benefits]
              b. Gap Year:            [plk: Gap Year post]]       

      2. High School Diploma

      3. Marriage & Children:

      4. Investing Track:

   D. After High School options

      1. Hourly, unskilled labor:

      2. College:

      3. Trades

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]

 

 

 

I. 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?

            Space.com:  "The pad, at SpaceX's Starbase site in South Texas, took 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." https://scottsolotravels.com/umbraco#/content/content/edit/231
    NOTE: 2nd Starship launch:

    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

II. 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

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

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?

C. 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) Build positive character traits.
    3) Increases speed of knowledge acquisition which … 
    4) Expand knowledge & experience of your Factual Knowledge Base
    5) Travel memories enhance the Quality of Life for your entire life.

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

    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 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 knowledge, 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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

III. 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?

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:                                                                 PIK doughhnuts

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.

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.

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.

    b. College: Bachelor degree required work*

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 or locality based, over time heavily dependent on your merit ie 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.”

    c. The Trades (trade job) : 

                                                                                                                               [pplk: Travel Wisdom: Trades

Work Type: hands-on, possible Certified/ Management functions. 
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 characterizations of ‘work’ that have glorified college graduates AND belittled & ignored trade oriented work.

1. Career definition’s 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 their 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)

    c) ‘formal qualification’ (license, diploma, title): Semantically, aren’t a doctor’s State’s Medical License and an electrician’s License …both ‘formal qualification’? Do those ‘certs’ reflect a ‘high’ or lower minimal standard? I have experienced incompetency 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 work force. By 1980’s corporation’s required a Bachelor degree, as evidence of applicant’s minimal extended effort AND as a quick applicant screening device. 

        ‘white collar’ characteristics:

  • College degree required for hiring, but not necessary for job description
  • Suit & tie (except creative types, game software developers)
  • Tied (enslaved) to corporation
  • Grinding, climb up corporate ladder
  • Salary, rather than wages
  • Very ‘political’ 

b. Blue collar 

work 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:

  • Trade school or OJT (on job training) or both (diesel mechanics) 
  • knowledge & skill certification levels: apprentice, journey, and master
  • certification level based on skills, time & experience
  • dark, rugged clothes (denim: don’t show dirt)
  • hourly wage 
  • flexibility & independence
  • sole proprietor’s management skills & greater profit 

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

3. Profession/professional  vs ‘trades’ distinction

This institutional/government ‘profession/professional’ label implies another 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 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 also unintentionally disguise 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. Unprofesionally worse, … I, & my fellow teachers, knew we were frauds & hypocrites because we saw its effects each day             Shame on me for violated 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 pubic education system, but yet persisted often for decades in spite of the potential damage to kids and America 

 

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, 

1) “A ‘professional’ is obsessed with the pursuit of excellence  and 

a) ‘’obsessed’: NOT ‘kinda excited’ or “indifferent’’, but intensely driven, very passionate, etc

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

 

2) “on behalf of their client." each with their own key elements.   I’ll dissect.

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

 

b. a ‘client’: is who ever the professional is working for: Doctor’s patient, lawyer’s client, teacher’s student, parents & taxpayers, janitor’s business, hairdresser’s patron; gardener’s homeowner, etc ad nauseam.

 

c. Examples:

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 college education, certificate or title may still be a more ‘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 work force with enough personal initiative to at least get thru 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

 

3. 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 pro-active. Maybe I might have started foreign traveler 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. 

 

The young woman who knows she wants to be a doctor or a vet , 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 

 

Apparently, JUST a college degree was the magic key to any career direction I might subsequently choose. 

 

Yet, while roughly 50% of my ‘career’ was college-degree based, ‘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, stayed a chapter ahead of the class which contained to women whose husbands were accountants. 

 

Much later, the wives told me that they thought I was an accountant. The best teacher’s 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 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.

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