Very confused about my future and what I want to do when I grow up

RC Mike

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Mar 2, 2020
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304
My advice? Be cautious about seeking input from people who don’t know you. The people closest to you, you know you best, can help you much more than some stranger on the Internet.

That said... You’re 15. You shouldn’t be deciding. You should be exploring. Find ways to learn about your interests. Does your high school offer any career exploration programs? The school system I work for offers great opportunities to kids your age to actually try things out.

You want to learn about what it’s like to spend your days working on guitars? Your local guitar shop is the place to begin. You keep trying to reach out to PRSh, which is like someone interested in joining the Army trying to contact a member of the Joint Chiefs. You saw him at a meet and greet. His job is to be congenial and fun at those—he was working, not making meaningful personal connections.

Satisfaction in a career has an awful lot to do with purpose. If you find meaning in your work, you’ll be satisfied. That doesn’t mean it’s always fun, easy, or stress-free. It means you go to bed at night feeling like that day, you did what you’re meant to do.

You’re only 15, and you need to give yourself time to grow and truly learn who you are. That’ll guide your other choices. There is a lot of time in life to figure it all out.
 

jxe

babe en der wood
Joined
Apr 12, 2018
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2,898
Location
portland.or.us
Don't Follow Your Passion. Do what you are good at which will produce a good living for you and your future family.
I got that opinion from THIS guy and embraced it as my own...

if you don’t follow your passion you’ll end up making that face.

IMG_2492.jpg
 

Dirty_Boogie

Still got the ol' tagger on it
Joined
Oct 28, 2017
Messages
1,123
Location
MA
My advice? Be cautious about seeking input from people who don’t know you. The people closest to you, you know you best, can help you much more than some stranger on the Internet.

That said... You’re 15. You shouldn’t be deciding. You should be exploring. Find ways to learn about your interests. Does your high school offer any career exploration programs? The school system I work for offers great opportunities to kids your age to actually try things out.

You want to learn about what it’s like to spend your days working on guitars? Your local guitar shop is the place to begin. You keep trying to reach out to PRSh, which is like someone interested in joining the Army trying to contact a member of the Joint Chiefs. You saw him at a meet and greet. His job is to be congenial and fun at those—he was working, not making meaningful personal connections.

Satisfaction in a career has an awful lot to do with purpose. If you find meaning in your work, you’ll be satisfied. That doesn’t mean it’s always fun, easy, or stress-free. It means you go to bed at night feeling like that day, you did what you’re meant to do.

You’re only 15, and you need to give yourself time to grow and truly learn who you are. That’ll guide your other choices. There is a lot of time in life to figure it all out.
Perfectly put! Age 15 is not the time to stress about life. Live, explore, experience, start to step out of your comfort zone, and if it doesn't feel right, step back, or try a different direction. And turn off the internet for a while - it will do you a lot more good than obsessing on here.
 

Black Plaid

Other Alan!
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Apr 10, 2019
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Spokane, WA
Music school feels like a giant waste of money, if you are really motivated, you can learn it yourself, if you are really talented, you may not need to. When I was a professional musician, it was a bit of both, I taught myself enough to get by doing what my musical career needed.

You are never going to make a great living being a luthier, even if you create your own brand and it becomes successful, you'll need to turn into a business person to make it into something larger.

Software engineering can pay fantastically, but you really have to like it for what it is, which is nothing like what they teach in "Computer Science" at Uni.

All that said, there's nothing to keep you in one thing. I've been a fighter jet mechanic, a sales person, a musician, a studio engineer, and a software engineer in my life.

There are no set answers, you have to find your own path, but you should do this by finding out the pros and cons of each path and deciding based on what's really important to you.

Also, let yourself mature a bit before committing to anything. Do a little bit of everything. If you can't do something because "you have to be put in a rigid environment to learn and do that thing" then perhaps you aren't really cut out for it.
 

pac90

Helix user
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Jun 15, 2014
Messages
1,133
I have kids right around your age.... they are geting lined up with their strengths, creative daughter, academic son, but I tell them its most important to have a growth mindset, work hard and to enjoy the day

Its daunting to think ahead and plot from A to B. As others have said above, there are many ways to get to B and B will change along the way, & keeps changing that's why growth mindset keeps us moving and engaged.

(this is career advice from a dude who at your age went to an interview for fighter pilot after watching top gun :D )
 

HANGAR18

Drummer With A Guitar Habit
Joined
Sep 20, 2013
Messages
2,704
Location
Northern VIrginia
My advice? Be cautious about seeking input from people who don’t know you. The people closest to you, you know you best, can help you much more than some stranger on the Internet.

That said... You’re 15. You shouldn’t be deciding. You should be exploring. Find ways to learn about your interests. Does your high school offer any career exploration programs? The school system I work for offers great opportunities to kids your age to actually try things out.

You want to learn about what it’s like to spend your days working on guitars? Your local guitar shop is the place to begin. You keep trying to reach out to PRSh, which is like someone interested in joining the Army trying to contact a member of the Joint Chiefs. You saw him at a meet and greet. His job is to be congenial and fun at those—he was working, not making meaningful personal connections.

Satisfaction in a career has an awful lot to do with purpose. If you find meaning in your work, you’ll be satisfied. That doesn’t mean it’s always fun, easy, or stress-free. It means you go to bed at night feeling like that day, you did what you’re meant to do.

You’re only 15, and you need to give yourself time to grow and truly learn who you are. That’ll guide your other choices. There is a lot of time in life to figure it all out.

I am personally still experiencing the results of the career decisions I made when I was 15. That was 40 years ago. I wish I had done things differently.
 

GADonis

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Joined
Feb 27, 2015
Messages
465
Location
Savannah, GA
A guy I used to know went to music school in New York City, and he has a bachelors degree. He owes $180,000 for his schooling and he can’t afford to buy a house because of that bill. Oh, he works at a bakery/coffee shop as a waiter and he’s 30 years old. The mortgage company probably doesn’t like that, either. He’s is very smart, with a great personality, and he is an amazing classical guitarist. He teaches a few students part time. But he does not have any money.

Anyway, I met him at a local luthier school where we learned how to build acoustics from scratch. I took those classes every Tuesday night for four hours, 6-10 pm, and it was really fun.

My point is, that his degree did nothing for him. He said he would need to get his doctorate to teach at a good music college, which would be another loan. If you are going to spend money on school, try to major in something that will help you find a good career. So, I vote for number 3 but I encourage you to find a luthier school that has part time classes that you can take on the side. Set up a good reality while you also try to chase your dreams on the side.

Where I work, the computer guy makes more money than anyone else there. I heard him negotiate his salary with the owner through my office wall, and that’s what the owner said. $120,000 a year. That’s good money. That’s Private Stock money.

Good luck, young man. You will figure it all out. It’s good that you are thinking about this so early.

This is pretty good advice. I know of several people who complain about significant school debt and having problems paying it off. It seems that these people usually have a degree in a field that really didn't offer them much in terms of job opportunities. If you decide to go to college I would highly recommend a degree that has real world job opportunities and pay that makes the student loans worthwhile. Studying 18th Century European poetry may sound interesting, but nobody is going to pay you to do that after you graduate.

When I was your age I also thought about going into music as my livelihood. But for me that wasn't a good choice for several reasons. One of those reasons was that the life of a "starving artist" did not appeal to me. So I chose engineering. I do not regret the decision. By day I am a boring design engineer, making a comfortable living, but on the weekends I play in a band so best of both worlds.

Only you really know what is best for you. And as some else already pointed out if the path you choose doesn't work for you, you can change your path. I have many friends (okay not that many) who have worked in several different fields before finding the thing that works best for them.

Another thing to keep in mind is that things don't happen all at once. Especially financially. As a young person just starting out you can't really compare your financial situation to someone like me who is in their fifties and has been working in their chosen field for over thirty years. When you first start out it is very unlikely you will make a lot of money. My first job as an engineer out of college paid about $28,000 a year. Not much and I lived from paycheck to paycheck for quite some time. It wasn't until many years later that I was able to get out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle. It can be done, but not overnight and not without some fiscal discipline. I had the luck of timing on my side as college wasn't anywhere near as expensive then as it is now. I was able to get through school (4.5 years) without huge debt. It wasn't easy and often was not fun. I worked about 20 hours a week while doing a full course load in school. I never went on any spring break trip and I didn't even go out drinking much. I worked too hard at a job I hated to not use that money for the important things like food, rent, and books. I also had parents who could help when needed.

I'll end this overly long post with some advice my mother gave me when I went off to college. "Don't swear the small stuff. And it's ALL small stuff." This is easier said than done but if you can keep that in mind whatever path you take, you'll be happier.
 

Smiddy

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Sep 28, 2020
Messages
13
Many luthiers I know have engendering degrees. You may be more likely to get #4 by getting #3
 

Rhythmisking

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Jan 8, 2020
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San Francisco
One thing it's important to realize is that, in terms of job/life satisfaction, the actual work protocols, setting and environment is much more important than the job itself.

My first career was as a cabinetmaker. I apprenticed under an excellent journeyman and after a couple years got put "on the floor" as a full-fledged cabinetmaker. I've always been good with my hands, and loved woodworking. I absolutely hated the job. Here's why:

Cabinetmakers, even in a large custom shop, work alone. One builder-one project. The only time I might speak to anyone else all day was if I (or someone else) needed help moving a large piece. I found that didn't work for me. I prefer more personal interaction.

The cabinet jobs could last weeks or even a month if they were large. I found out I'm not so good with long-term projects as I get bored quickly and like variety. Spending three weeks building ugly sets of boring cabinets for some law office was torture. Many of the jobs, even though I worked in high-end custom shops, were ugly and boring.

Even though it was a custom shop, the designs were almost always done by architects, so no design input whatsoever as a cabinetmaker. Even the shop owner, who was a talented designer, rarely got to do any design work.

Cabinetmakers build the casework. Once it's finish sanded, it goes away and you start another project. So you never actually 'finish' anything. The spray person does the finishing and often other people might do the installation. If it was a really large piece, like a big reception desk, you might even never see it fully assembled. I learned I need to see a finished product to have a sense of completion and accomplishment. After years, it started to feel like one huge long project that never gets completed. I could go on...

My point is, just because you love something, doesn't mean doing that in the context of a job you can make a living at will be something that you love. Working at PRS, you might spend all day every day rough sawing lumber into body blanks and nothing else...for years. You wouldn't be crafting beautiful instruments from scratch. Some guitar companies do have 'custom shops' where a particular rock-star builder MIGHT build most of an instrument all by themselves, but even then they wouldn't be finishing them, or installing electronics.

It's easy to get a romantic notion of why doing a certain job or career might be appealing because it produces something you love, but until you experience what's it's actually like to work in that field on a day to day basis, it's almost impossible to know if doing it as a job will 'work' for you or not. This is why I'm not a huge fan of the "Follow your bliss" career advice. Often trying to earn a living -to the extent that you can support a family- doing what you love, forces you to make compromises that can be soul-destroying, especially if you're a creative or artistic type person.

I ended up being a hairsylist with my own shop and I love it...and I never in a million years would have imagined that this would be what I ended up doing for a career, but it fits me very well. Personal interactions. I work with my hands. Small, short projects. Complete creative control. Artistry and skill of craft. I help people, and every customer leaves with a problem fixed and happier than when they came in. And what makes it work for me has absolutely NOTHING to do with hair.
 

alex1fly

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May 12, 2020
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Location
USA
Folks wrote a lot. Wow!

You're in a classic interests vs practicality debate. I'm 35 and still have this debate with myself... Daily? Weekly? Dunno.

Fact 1 - you have to make money. So, figure out how to make money.

Fact 2 - you like music and guitars, so figure out a way to have those in your life. Those things typically require money - see Fact 1.

Just a balance, man. It'll never be perfect.

I will say that I don't know a single person that follows their interests\passions 100%. I think it'd be hard to be friends with someone like that. A big part of adult life is just taking care of the biz that your parents took care of for you. Boring, but part of the package generally and helps you relate to other people adulting.
 
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