Monday, January 16, 2006

Decisions decisions

At 14 I didn't know what I wanted to do. The lucky amongst us have probably been following their chosen passionate path since they had a 'road to Damascus' experience at the age of 3 days! Sunday lunch with one of our neighbours covered many topics from the mundane to the esoteric. One that struck me was the current debate they are engaged in as a family about the future career of the daughter of the family.

I don't know about you but I found this torture enough at 14 in Wales in 1976. In fact i still don't know what career I want, but I gave up worrying about it a long time ago, and indeed have been celebrating this freedom for many years. In France it is so much harder. Every metier is coded, classified, tightly defined and immutable. The choice of metier puts you into a 10 year logical tube of further education and training. Escape is discouraged, hard, and requires another 10 year logical tube journey. How scary is that?

Now I may be exaggerating a bit, for clarity obviously, but this poor girl looks positively traumatised by the experience so far, and she seems a long way from making a choice. My 6 penn'orth was to describe my first three metiers, (not including all the school and holiday jobs of course - life is too short!). They were gardener, RAF navigator, and geography researcher. I tried to get across that finding something you love and really want to do is more important than anything else. And for most of us that means giving it a go. There are no wrong decisions. There's also the fact that, even in France, the idea of one life - one metier is rapidly disappearing. So even if a choice has to be made, it's only about the first metier, not for the rest of your life. Does that make it easier? I hope so.

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