Dear Twenty-two-year-old Self

diplomamanDear Twenty-two-year-old Self,

Congratulations to you/me. You’ve graduated college and are starting your first job in lovely (cough, cough) Dayton, OH.  You’ve already made one mistake – leaving God’s country, Athens, GA, but I cannot help you with that one now.

Congratulations are also in order because I/you have made it to the twenty-five year mark in our career. I know you’re wondering what you are doing now and what happens, but I cannot give that away and spoil the surprises along the way.  Let’s just say there’s no gold watch involved this year.  There is a no job story this year, but, again, I cannot spoil the surprise.

I know it is a little strange receiving a message from the future, so I understand if you’re skeptical.  It is a little strange from this end, too, since I wasn’t really sure how to deliver this to you.  After all, you don’t have an email account yet. There’s that whole time travel thing, too.  Back to the Future still makes our head spin.

Anyway, I wanted to give you some advice about a few things, now that I can look back over the past twenty-five years. You don’t have to heed these, but perhaps things will turn out a little different if you do.

First, in a couple of days, you’ll play a round of golf with your new co-workers at the beautiful NCR Country Club. It will be the highlight of your first week of work.  You’ll do well.   All that practicing you’ve done for the past four years will shine through.  You’ll think this working stuff is great.  Technically, you will get paid to play golf that day.  This, however, will be that last round of golf you play on any company’s dime for at least 25 years. It may be fairly normal for sales guys to take customers out, but you’re in tech support now, not sales.  By the time you are in the position where sales guys call on you, your employer will consider it unethical to accept such bribes.  I’m sorry – business “meetings”.  Just let that sink in.

One theme that follows everyone’s career is change.  Ours will be no exception.  You’ll find that being the change-ee and not the change-er is usually not a good thing, especially if you are overhead for a business or if your employer wants to make things cheaper out of the country.  If you insist on staying in tech, learn how to be a money maker for the company.

There will be a period of time when you have no kids, dual incomes, and tons of free time.  While honing your golf game or rebuilding Jeeps seem like great ways to pass this time, might I suggest taking advantage of your employer’s education reimbursement program.  Yes, thirty months seems like a long time to complete a masters program, but turns out it is not.  If you choose to ignore this advice, at least seek out a golf teacher and install that artificial putting green.  Be sure to spend 75% of your practice time on chipping and putting and start a blog about working toward the Senior Tour. Seriously.  Oh, I forgot, you don’t have blogs yet.

Before kids come along, decide what town you want to live in and move there.  I mean it. Pack it up and go.  With or without a great job. Cycling distance to the beach is more than acceptable.

Image courtesy of the Shawshank wiki:
Zihuatanejo. Image courtesy of the Shawshank wiki:

There’s a movie coming out in a few years called Shawshank Redemption.  You’ll like it immediately, but for different reasons as our 26 year-old self than our 47 year-old self.  Just remember, don’t be Brooks. And while Zihuatanejo is a real place in the movie, it can be metaphorical, too.

Finally, don’t buy any magic beans, a ferret or something called Rosetta Stone.

So, good luck to you.  I hope you get this message and take some of it to heart.  Perhaps you can write me when you hit the career twenty-five year mark and let me know how it went.  I look forward to hearing from you.






PS. There’s a baby blue 1979 CJ-7 in southern Indiana that you’ll find on your first anniversary trip.  PLEASE, I beg you! Walk away!



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