When I cast my mind back to my school days I remember the talk in the playground was often “what do you want to be when you grow up?”. I remember my answer was always “I want to be a pilot”.
As the years went on this became less and less likely, and while I meandered my way through high school, following the course of what I knew best, computers, it became less and less likely. By the time I got into University on a computer course it was next to impossible, and a career in IT was all but inevitable.
As we go further in life we steer ourselves toward what we know best, what we are good at or what we enjoy, gaining qualifications and experience along the way. Sometimes we do this deliberately and sometimes it is unconsciously.
Have you ever woken up and thought “what if?”, “what if I had taken that job?” or “what if I have followed a different university course?”, I certainly have. In so many ways in life we end up with limited choices about what we are and what we can be.
You may think this is a rather negative post so far, and I guess you are right, but where I am going with this is we have a tool available to us that previous generations did not have. A tool that quashes these limits and breaks down the boundaries. The Internet is a great invention. I was lucky enough to be in the generation that saw the birth of the internet. Ever since I first saw it I was hooked. Yahoo, the BBC, Microsoft could all write HTML pages and they could be seen from anywhere in the world, but so could I… All of a sudden the playing field was level, I was as big and powerful as Microsoft.
Obviously it is not as simple as that, but the basic theory is there. I can publish websites, documents, videos online and nobody will stop me and tell me I am not qualified, I don’t have the right grades from school or I don’t have the correct amount of experience. The boundaries are gone, I can do what I want and the only limiting factor is that if what I write is not good enough people will not read it.
How many jobs can you do that? Imagine you want to be a surgeon, you can’t go into a hospital and keep hacking away at people until you get it right, until you become good enough to be respected. If you want to be a pilot you can’t grab the controls on your next trip abroad and say “come on, let’s have a go?”. The internet simply gives you all this opportunity on a plate!
All this is a bit obvious, you may say. Well yes it is, but how many of you reading this now have dabbled in the world of web publishing, with blogs or with personal websites? I imagine a few of you have. I wonder if any of you would think about giving up your day job to become an expert in the field of “the internet” and all it entails. Scary prospect, isn’t it? It is, but at the same time it has a strange appeal to it. It is an open door, one avenue in life that doesn’t have someone stood there judging us, telling us we are not good enough, or that we don’t have the skills to make it.
I liken it to the early days of America, the land of opportunity, where people were rewarded for taking the initiative, for developing themselves and for doing well. It is all too easy to accept the run of the mill life, going to work 9 – 5 and simply existing and paying the bills. The internet is not for everyone, but what I can say is it is THERE for everyone, if you want to use it.
There are not too many jobs on this planet that allow everyone to “have a go” and see how it works out. If you are one of these people “on the fence” like I was, give it a try, you might just surprise yourself.