Baby steps

I’ve found that the newly employed are often on the fringe, stuck between devoting themselves to their newfound careers or deciding to go back to school. This period, which I will arbitrarily define as RTSS (Roaring TwentySomething Syndrome) is the byproduct of 1) the reality that you may be doing this for the next 30 years and 2) the hope that you can do something more challenging/inspiring/lucrative. For people with symptoms of RTSS, continued education is often seen as the cure, often in the form of graduate school.

For those who have worked for a few years already, the task seems daunting. Open a book, without pictures of electronics/fashion/cars? And study it? The idea of going back to school is intimidating. Especially since the monotony of easy tasks (see: bitch work) often given to new hires has killed off many brain cells, rendering the brain less effective. Plus the alcohol hasn’t helped either. But there’s a solution for this: go back to school. Like, now.

I don’t mean that you should run to your nearest bookstore and buy a stack of GRE/GMAT/LSAT books. That would be terribly boring. Instead, excite the brain by studying what you want to do, preferably in a field as far away from your current occupation as possible. The best place to do this is at a community college. In addition to the benefits of studying what you enjoy, you can also meet new people, which I’ve found is a challenge as I get older. For instance, a coworker of mine is studying accounting, while a good friend of mine is studying Korean and Vietnamese. Another took a photography class. The cost? At De Anza Community College in San Jose, a measly $13 a unit, and classes are typically 3 units! So in addition to doing what you like, meeting new people, and challenging your brain, you also save money by not doing something more expensive somewhere else (i.e. drinking, eating out, shopping, etc).

But the act of going back to a classroom and listening to a lecture is the most beneficial. Perhaps I don’t know that many gung-ho people, but taking baby steps seems to be the best approach to most things. And this is one way to train and determine if you are ready for the next step.

-Vince

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