Ever since we were kids, we trust people. We trust our neighbors and parents to point us toward success and the “right path”. One of the hardest days of our lives is when we realize that our parents or the people we look at are not always perfect, are not always right, and worst of all, are completely wrong.
recently me asked Twitter what bad advice we were given when we started our careers. Let’s quickly look at the answers and some thoughts around them.
A woman is not an engineer
This attitude of the counselors really makes me shocked:
I don’t remember at all. Women in the calculation usually stayed within the scope of our own equipment … I hope it’s not so bad today for young women trying to pursue their passion.– Ramona Ridgewell (@RLRdev) May 5, 2021
Girls don’t know how to do math, so I shouldn’t pursue a career anywhere that might involve math (including algorithms).– Karyn Boyd 🇺🇸 (@ grlc0d3r2018) May 4, 2021
The contempt and disrespect shown to women in areas typically dominated by men is appalling. Telling someone that they are never good enough for a job in an industry is intentionally oppressive and reflects them more than you. Never listen to anyone telling you that you are not smart enough – you go where your passion takes you.
Unfortunately, I have worked with very few engineers who were not men. Probably the result of biased hiring and the influence of women, which is not worth on the field. Let’s be more inclusive in our adventures in computer science.
The internet is a craze
This struck me:
That Internet thing that’s just a trend won’t last long! (circa 1999)– Oliver Müller (@schwabencode) May 4, 2021
I can’t imagine what my parents thought when I was in high school. When I wasn’t playing sports, I was at the computer. I remember when the Internet hit: AOL disks in the mail, Yahoo’s main search engine and a 14.4kb modem dial tones a miserable voice. One memory that has always stuck with me was my mother shouting upstairs “David, go off the internet, your grandmother might be trying to call!”; then the Internet took over your phone line.
The Internet moved from this luxurious experience to one that has completely taken over most of our lives. Online banking and paying bills, streaming entertainment, email … we can hardly imagine our lives without it. Most of our partners would accuse us of obsession with our phones.
Imagine living through a COVID pandemic without the Internet. Imagine you have a different career without the internet. Most importantly – you don’t need your advisors to see what you see in terms of your dreams. Make it happen.
You are young, work yourself to death
I am certainly a victim of this:
Would one manager have told me that because I’m young (at the time), it’s okay to work hard (ergo. Long unpaid overtime) – and the top management will recognize this later. LOL.– Hirvesh Munogee (@hirvesh) May 4, 2021
When I was young, I took my ass away. I went to university full time while working 60 hours a week. I’m proud to have done that at the time, and to this day I’m very proud to have got all of this done. I also understand to some extent where this advice came from – you should be young and hungry, you probably don’t have children or massive family responsibilities, and you’ll find that you have to work up the ladder.
The problem with this attitude is that the idea of “earning away” has shifted from working an extra 10 hours a week to Silicon Valley newcomers working on pnemonics and other health problems. I agree that young workers must strive for trust, but the idea of self-weakening or at the expense of a small extra wage is unacceptable.
Go to the best four-year school
Encouraged by our growth, we attend the best schools:
I was told to go to a prestigious university that could not afford it, instead of taking a full ride in a good state school. It was a catastrophic decision.– KP MacGregor (@kpsmacgregor) May 4, 2021
You have to stay in school 🤣– Christopher Dosin (@christopherdosi) May 4, 2021
I am living proof that you don’t have to go to a big college to pursue a successful engineering career. I went to a very small university. I got my Associate degree at the University of Technology, got my first online job, and then graduated with a bachelor’s degree from a night school – I even went to summer school!
I am proud of my path, it served me well, but I can also recognize that my path would not be for everyone. There are several factors in a school compared to work performance: talent, work ethic, opportunities, ability to pay for school, family factors, etc. There is no perfect path to success in the design industry – and school years are no guarantee!
Find out where the money is now
Nothing is commanded to chase today’s money:
choose a major that is easy to find a job instead of where I want to apply– Ye Hao (@kfitfk) May 5, 2021
If technology has taught us anything, we should not strive for what is easy, we should not aim for what is great today, we need to think ahead. We need to see what could sustain us, but even more important is to be in an industry where we are happy. Do I want to spend a few days in a boring 9-5 job that doesn’t require much responsibility? Sure. It would eat my soul, but I didn’t realize the potential.
You will not be given tools
This was one of my favorites and one I will definitely remember:
You don’t have a calculator on hand all the time.– Peak shape (@Spike_Shape) May 4, 2021
I remember the first time my university professor said we could use Google during a computer science exam. I was in pain – “Isn’t that cheating?!” No, he just knew the reality of the field – no one has all the answers, and remembering the names of the method was a stupid game. Hell, I still have to look for the basics, which is why I started this blog.
Every generation deceives the younger generation with bad advice; sometimes intentionally, sometimes due to lack of vision. What I’ve learned from my experiences and others is that you can’t go wrong trying to inspire. No one ever gets angry when you support them in their search for their dreams – but they suffer if you like them in the clouds.