Last week, I was invited to share some thoughts by a long-time leader and department chair at the CyberPatriot Awards Program. Represented were six teams from local schools who participated in a series of hackathonlike challenges, culminated by the presentation of their appropriate awards. I left amazed at the talent in the room and how these young people are fundamentally influencing the talent gap in my own field.
In trying to connect with the iGen and their parents simultaneously, I tailored my thoughts and titled my presentation "Bytes You Can Take Now, So You Aren't Hungry Later". I shared with them thoughts on industry disruption, using available data to make critical decisions, and a very real gap in the cyber arena that I see daily, EQ vs. IQ.
While my wife reminded me that I exceeded my allotted time after the banquet was over (thanks dear), I had multiple questions from not just the students, but many of their parents, centered around how they can work towards a career they love. I reminded them of several major themes but found myself asking them all generally the same questions;
What truly intrigues you?
What are your unrealized talents, and which of those would you like to use?
What is your personal mission and what impact do you want to make in this world?
I think these are all good starting places for anyone determining their initial career path, or having a change of heart / midlife introspection. It still amazes me that many people I encounter go through the career motion almost aimlessly, only finding this area of their life continuously underwhelming and having cascading impacts into other more important areas of their life. Life's short, don't settle for mediocracy.