Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Backwards is the New Forwards

In most Asian countries, there is a big emphasis on school because there is a direct career path from grade to grade entrance exams and the job you actually get.

In most Western style educational and economic ecosystems, this is hardly the case. In fact, this is NOT the case. In most Western style systems, you can study anything you want and get a job that basically has nothing to do with what you studied.

Here are a few examples:

  1. Only about half of my classmates in Physical Therapy school had a major related to the profession. The rest of us had random majors like engineering, psychology, sociology... not everyone was a biology, chemistry, or kinesiology major.
  2. The vast majority of my classmates pursuing an MBA did not have a business background. While they were in some form of business, their undergraduate work was related to their industry, not business proper.
  3. Many science based undergraduates are finding their niche primarily in service based industries such as retail, restaurateur, and business-to-business sales.
  4. Getting a PhD in most schools do not require that you studied any specific or related field, only that your prerequisites are met and that you qualify as a desired candidate.
  5. Many professional performers have degrees in a variety of things; however, their primary job is performance be it music, theater, movie productions, etc.
So, why am I sharing this? Well, there is STILL this huge emphasis through familial and social bullying, by both parents and peers, that Millennial Asians HAVE TO study this or that because that is the only way they will amount to anything. And, they have to do it in the way of old. The thing is, it doesn't work anymore.


Working forwards isn't valid anymore. Working backwards is the new forwards.

Just like so many math tutors tell their students to work backwards from the answer or potential set of answers, career paths are becoming quite similar. Rather than looking only forwards to what the next level of schooling or training should be, we should be encouraging our millennials to look to the final answer: What do they want to do with their lives?

And, from there, work backwards to find the proper paths. It is absolutely enlightening to see how very many of them have both ambitious and artistic goals for their lives that will more than suffice financially and do not require the typical and liturgical academic approach as dictated by "the culture."

So remember... Backwards is the New Forwards.

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