One of my co-workers has a situation that I thought would be perfect to use as an illustration of a very important point. She’s young (in her early 20’s), and like many of my readers, she is in a rock band! She’s actually a really good singer. She has a kid and a husband, and she isn’t really feeling all the love and happiness that she feels she should. She and I recently had a conversation about her going back to school to get a degree.
Me: So, what are you going back to school for? What do you want to be when you grow up?
Her: I’m going to a performing arts school. They do a lot of marketing, and it would help the band.
Me: Okay, but what if the band thing doesn’t wind up making it? Then what?
Her: I don’t know, I guess I could come back here and be a teller again.
There was more to it, but this is where things became important. She is passionate about her music, and that’s good. She is thinking about the future, and that’s good too. She wants to do better financially for herself and her family. Good for her!
Too often, I hear from young people, or I hear about young people who were talented at something, and forsook schooling and education to do the thing that made them happy. Sometimes I hear the adults in these young peoples’ lives telling them that they should do what makes them happy and worry about the rest of it later.
I used to be a pretty good athlete. I was good enough to make it as a professional Martial Artist at a very young age, and the temptation was there. Luckily, I got all that out of my system before it screwed up my life. Not that there is anything wrong with being a professional Martial Artist, but seriously, think about the job description there. You are limited to a few choices: 1.) Teach, 2.) Act, 3.) bouncing or private security, or 3.) Stunt work. That’s pretty much it. What I didn’t know then, that I do now, is that I was going to get a bad injury when I was about 19, and wouldn’t be able to engage in the same level of athleticism as I would have before. What I didn’t know, is that I was going to spend a large chunk of time recuperating and being out of fighting shape. What I did know, was that I couldn’t see myself wearing (what look like) pajamas to work everyday and taking myself seriously.
The thing is, and this is true whether you are talking about sports, acting, modeling, music, or any other “art”, there might be plenty of famous people who were able to “make it” without the benefit of a lot of formal education. Kobe Bryant is famous for being drafted to Charlotte without going to college, and there are others. The problem with putting too much relevance to performers like Kobe or others, is that there are thousands out there who will never make it, not even with the same level of skill, passion and determination.
Some of them might make it, but might face some career ending calamity. Either way, they are royally screwed. In these cases, it makes sense to hedge your bet. I mentioned this to my friend.
Me: Why not continue with the band, and work on getting a degree that will payoff irrespective of the success or failure of the band? This way, you’re fine either way.
Her: Well, this is a really good school…,
Me: I’m sure it is, but what if you were to have to end your career with the band? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a backup plan?
Her: I never thought of that before.
Think about it: I’m not saying you won’t be the next Kobe, or whoever, but I’m not saying you will be. Either way, there’s an old saying about putting eggs in one basket. Makes sense to me.