There’s a great guest post up at Captain Capitalism from a young guy who goes into detail about the immediate years after his recent college graduation. In short, he hasn’t used his degree and neither have the vast majority of his peers. No surprise there for us as we know that the modern man does not waste time or money on a college degree. But there is one quote in particular that I want to focus on from his post:

In what world can some 21 year old kid with a degree in economics start working on 1 million dollar+ computer systems as his first job? They say it all comes down to connections, and this was exactly the case for me. I had a great friend and mentor in high school – when I started working in a computer shop at the age of 14, he was the head salesman. We struck up a fast bond and he is still one of my best friends to this day, despite a ten year age gap.

He talked me up to his bosses at the engineering job, and I walked into the interview knowing it was mine provided I didn’t come off as a total moron.

There are a few points the modern man can take away from this great example. Firstly, this young guy got a job at the age of 14. Right away we’re off to a good start. He’s not dicking around with his friends, he’s earning money from an early age. But it’s not a job delivering newspapers. He’s working in a computer store.

Way back in the 80s when I was a teenager, computers and video games were in the beginning stages of their ascendancy. I had an Amiga 500, which was the cool computer of the day. Cool amongst nerds that is. You didn’t walk around school saying you had an Amiga if you didn’t want bad things to happen to you.

There were also arcade games back in those days. Lots of them. And arcades which were full of those games and full of teenage kids. While I did play them a bit, mostly I liked to hang out in my local computer store, finding cool little gadgets that I could add to my own machine and slowly learning how it all worked. There probably would have been half a dozen of us in there annoying the staff. It was a total nerd-off. Down the street in the arcade there would have been fifty or sixty kids pushing their money into 1942 or Rygar. Looking back it was a natural division at an early age between the future sheep and the masters of their own destiny.

Back to our quote. While working at the store he develops a great relationship with a guy ten years his age, a future mentor. He takes this for granted in his piece but this is unusual. Most kids would work in the store and that would be it. But he made the most of his opportunity and this ended up being what broke him into the industry ten years later.

The vast majority of people who study college degrees do the degree and that is it. They figure that all they have to do is graduate and then they can wave their piece of paper and jobs will magically appear. This is not the case. You need to start early. You need to foster professional relationships. You need to build your network. While studying you can volunteer your services for a small firm in the field that you want to work in when you finish studying. You’re helping them, you’re helping yourself, and they’re helping you.

By the time you finish your degree you should already have a clear idea where you’re going to be working. Let’s say your degree takes you four years to complete. That’s four years of networking in your future field. Maybe it’s four different start-ups where you help out. Think of all the contacts you will have made.

Or you could go out and get shit-faced every night with your buddies.

There’s nothing better in life than having options. But you need to create them in the first place. That’s what planning for your future really means. What are my future options? How can I leverage this contact into an opportunity? If you do this right then soon it will be you who is an option for other up-and-comers.

Options equate to choices which equates to freedom.