When I grow up, I want to be a…
Today Morgan, you started school. And Zak, you turned one. Talk about a day to remember! All of this has got me thinking about your futures. What’s your life going to be like in 20, 30 or 40 years? What are you going to call a job? And how happy are you going to be doing it?
Right now, Morgan you either want to be a Mighty Pup or an astronaut. Great choices!
Zak, you’re not bothered with the existential question of what career you’ll have and are much happier sticking to chewing paper and dancing to anything that sounds like a groove. Oh, how I envy you…
When you meet people for the first time at parties or – heaven forbid – networking, too much emphasis is put on “what do you do?” To that, I’d have to say “marketing director”. Yawn!
Instead, people should ask “what do you like to do?”
“I make house music to varying levels of quality and I’m never paid by my record labels. But, I love doing it”.
Far more interesting than what it is I do to make money so I can do the things I want to do.
School, the time of your life..?
Before you have to worry about a career and dull questions about it, you need to tackle school. Some people will tell you that school is the happiest time of your life — bull shit.
School only lasts a decade and a half – that will seem like F O R E V E R when you’re growing up – but, compared to the rest of your life, it’s a blip.
It doesn’t say much for how happy you are the rest of your life if school is when your happiest.
Saying that, I LOVED primary school. Aside from Mrs Curry, who let me wet my pants while I was asking to go to the toilet in primary two.
Socially, I never found my place at high school. Fuck, I was the kid who never said anything and wore second-hand clothes passed down from his neighbours. I didn’t stand a chance.
But, looking back, I’m glad about that. It forced me to look beyond the shitty town I lived in and go somewhere better.
To go to uni or not?
University, for me, was a bit stop-start. I did a year at Glasgow University, one of the best uni’s in the world, studying film and TV. But, I was SO bored…
Due to draconian reasons, I had to study, sorry read, two electives. I choose classical Greek and philosophy and spent more time studying those subjects, which I had limited interest in compared to the film and TV.
Most likely I should have read the prospectus a bit closer, but that was already a sign that universities were outdated. And that was 1998!
I left Glasgow and moved to Sunderland to study Media and Culture.
Most of my attention there went on DJing at the club nights I was running at the student’s union, rather than my course.
I brought hard house and trance – along with a wave of loved up Mitsubishi munching students – to the club. The bouncers enjoyed working our nights the most – no fights, a rare thing for Sunderland.
What I didn’t realise then was I was learning the basics of marketing – the career I’ve been working on for 20 years now. Give customers an experience they love and a product they want to come back to.
So… Let’s step back a bit. What do you boys need to think about with your future jobs and what might they be like?
1 | Your job hasn’t been invented yet
In some sense, everything I say next is mute as your job hasn’t even been created. My job certainly wasn’t around when I was at school, or even that much when I was at uni.
I can remember being in computer class at school the first time I saw our teacher, Mr Scott, log onto the internet. Myself and 20 other nerds crowded around an original Apple Mac to watch him logon – via modem – to a message board.
Our minds were blown!
2 | Traditional education not keeping up with changes
It’s 2019 now and going to university is a seriously expensive business. Couple that with the fact many courses don’t give you the skills you need to survive in the real world.
There are still marketing courses that don’t teach digital marketing, and computer science courses that teach you less in three years than a six-week coding bootcamp.
Students these days have to ask what’s better, going to uni or studying shorter courses online?
Personally, I say microlearning is the way forward. That’s learning small amounts of vital skills in a short space of time which are relevant to what you need to know.” content=”I say microlearning is the way forward. That’s learning small amounts of vital skills in a short space of time which are relevant to what you need to know.
Such as reading blogs on PPC campaigns when you’re about to run your first Facebook marketing campaign. Or doing an online course full time for a month that teaches you how to build an app from scratch.
Who knows what it’ll be like in two decades time when you have to make your own choice.
Just remember that your mum and dad are here to help. But, we’re not here to tell you what to do.
That final decision has to be yours.
3 | Travel and look at a creative path
The big regret your mum and I have in our life is that we didn’t travel when we were young and didn’t mind sleeping in shitholes. Although, I think I’ve never been hardy enough – I like my comfort.
We’ve seen a bit of the world, but not for an extended period. One highlight is your mum falling asleep on a speaker while I was DJing in Copenhagen… #NumberOneFan 🤣
Taking a year out and doing an online course when you get back could be a fantastic option for you.
- See a bit of the world
- Learn from other cultures
- Give something back to the world
- Get some ideas on how you can rock your world
If I was 18 today, that is what I would do. But, hindsight and living in the actual future is a hell of a thing…
One thing that will still be a constant when you are older is creativity. Look for a way that you can create your own life.
If you have the skills, be an artist, a musician, an actor, a juggler, or whatever else you want to devote your life to.
Artificial Intelligence – AI – is also less likely to be able to be good at creative jobs. People like marketers, lawyers and doctors need to worry, as AI will soon be much better than humans in those disciplines.
Creativity is also a mindset. We create the world around ourselves, literally from the way our brain sees everything. You can use your creativity to create a world in which you are fulfilled.
Find ways to make life move to the rhythm you decide. Don’t be a slave to someone else’s desires and don’t sell yourself out for someone else’s gain.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy and I think it’s something you have to work at until the day you die.
Something that is a bit of a mind fuck is the fact the world you see is only real to you.
I’m nowhere near intelligent enough to explain this correctly, but we only see a small percentage of what the world actually is.
This includes the tiny spectrum of light we can see – pigeons see more colours than humans – through to there being multiple version of you based on how people see you.
For example, you’ll hopefully see me as a loving dad. However, the guy down the road only sees me as that knobhead who scoots to work each day.
Which means I’m one person, but with an infinite number of versions of me.
Don’t think about that when stoned in your college student room…
4 | Where you work will be very different
I’m typing this as I sit in my home office/studio. I’ve also got an office in town that I go to, but in reality, I don’t need ever to go there. Technology has made it that I can work from wherever I want, whenever I want.
Social/work expectations haven’t quite caught up with the flexibility of technology. A lot of businesses are still wed to the 9 – 5 expectations of work and focus on time at desk over quality of work.
But, things are changing for the better.
When I think back to the back-breaking work my mum did in a rubber factory – which my auntie Anne got shut down because of its toxic fumes – it’s hard to complain about a desk job.
However, there are always ways to work smarter, not harder.
If you have the skills and the tech, work at the beach. Enjoy life, but make sure you deliver with your work.
5 | We could be on the verge of utopia
Time to crank up the nerd factor and talk Star Trek.
As cheesy as Star Trek is, its utopian world predicts an Earth that uses tech to raise human aspirations away from money and towards being a better human.
People become individuals that are more skilled, have greater empathy, and are not worried about paying their next rent bill.
AI is a scary word to a lot of people, but it could take us to that utopia.
I’ve worked with some of the leading people in AI in the UK, and they have, in equal measure, scared the hell out of me and made me optimistic.
The immediate properties of AI and automation are more about taking shitty jobs away that people don’t want to do. Such as long-distance lorry driver, telemarketer and lawyer – what weird kid wants to be a lawyer?
This will create a sea of unemployed people.
But, there is a positive where those same people can pivot into a different career or at least not worry about money.
In twenty years, we could spend our time becoming masters at whatever the fuck we want.
Be that becoming the next Da Vinci or Carl Cox, or a world-class ecologist, or someone who expands their minds by reading a new book every few days. We choose our paths.
Imagine what we could become if we didn’t have to worry about money? AI gives us that opportunity.
The problem – and it is a BIG problem – is for this to work you need the companies who benefit to PAY THEIR TAXES. Something all governments are shockingly bad at enforcing due to high-level corruption.
And, as we sit on a Brexit precipice, it could get even worse.
Hopefully, you’re reading this in the utopian world of 2040. You’re flying to the beach in your carbon positive automated Tesla.
Laughing about how Boris Johnson, Nigel Farrage, Dominic Cummings and everyone else from the leave team has been in jail for almost twenty years.
The problem is with all of this advice is, I don’t know if its a load of bollocks or not. All I can say is, it’s my current best guess at some advice that will help you boys out.
Don’t worry; I’m not going to leave it here. I’m going to try my best to grow as a human, get smarter, do the right thing – failing as I go – and pass on the best advice that I can.