What I Would Have Done

They say not to look back. Not to wonder how life would have been different, better or worse. It’s probably good advice. That little bastard inside your head is generally notorious for looking back and filling you with regrets, wondering why life turned out how it did. How it could have been so much better if you had only done this and that and so forth. That little bastard. Let’s call him Fred. He’s your little voice.

Fred is never really happy. He’s generally pretty pissed off actually. Pissed about whatever you did in your teens, twenties and beyond. The missed jobs. The screwed up career. All the mistakes you’ve made. The millions of $$ you could have made had you only done it right…The better girlfriends you could have got. The friends you could have found. If only this. If only that. Again, he’s not happy.

I’m pretty bad at feeding Fred. Letting him tell me what could have been, thinking about it and so the cycle goes. Feeding that bastard Fred. For the moment, let’s just indulge Fred a bit…Give him some food for thought. If I had some things I’d do differently and could give some advice:

Plan Where You Want to Live

Early. That is, in your early 20’s or late teens. Where you live I think has a pretty big influence on not just your life but your happiness levels. They say most people regress to a certain happiness (or not) level. But surely living in Hawaii vs Detroit does something for you. The interesting thing is that most people (myself included) don’t think about this at all. Most people live near where they grew up or near their family or something similar. There is nothing at all wrong with that and family particularly is a big draw. But you should realize, depending on your career or business choice, there could possibly be MANY options open to you. Including overseas, in Europe, in the US or Australia, Asia etc. Do you like the beach, like European history, like high tech, Silicon Valley type stuff? Whatever it is, had I known now what I know, I would have given a lot more thought on where to live. And probably would have picked Europe.


Give a LOT of thought of who you want to work for and the culture you want to be in. Rather than just trying to get a job. In my early career, particularly straight out of university, I was flat broke. I chased any job. Very little regard for who or where or why. Having now worked for the man for nearly 20 years I realize my folly. The man can  generally be a prick. Whether it’s because he managed to hire a company full of arseholes or he makes you work too hard. He doesn’t train you. Develop you. Reward you. Or the work you do is pointless, no value or low passion for you. That latest app you are developing to allow more people to ”connect” online and ”chat”.? Who gives a fuck. If you really must work for someone –

  • What type of industry are you really passionate about and want to work in? What do you care about?
  • What culture are you looking for?
  • What travel, advancement, training and other development opportunities are there?
  • What size company?
    • Realize -> the bigger the size, the more politics, and the more arseholes. There is no getting around this. I don’t care if it’s Apple or Facebook or Google or whatever. People are all human. Everyone everywhere has the same ambitions, fears, pettiness, stress, arrogance, lies, postulating, politics. People also have friendliness, caring and kindness. It’s all mix. You will see it everywhere.
    • Had I had my time again, I likely would have chosen smaller to medium size companies. I have only worked for large corporations. That said, the grass always looks greener on the other side:).

Or Work for Yourself

Don’t even work for anyone!  Back in the 90’s, technology was a lot different than it is now. Now and beyond, it is incredible how low cost and possible it is for anyone to start a business. Money is not everything. But it can trade a lifestyle for you that is quite fun. Want to travel? Want to only work < 1/2 time? Want nice toys? A nice house? Nice clothes? A Porsche? All possible with a successful business. Now successful is the trick and in my one main attempt at this so far, I spectacularly failed. So, I have no advice at all. Other than, I do know you will likely never get rich working for the man.

  • In general, for the vast majority of cases I know of or have seen, stress, pressure and time commitments massively increase as you rise within the ranks, working for the man.
  • That rise in stress, pressure, time will give ‘rank’ and ‘position’ but may not reward you comparatively. At least compared to the time and stress. I have seen colleagues promoted to levels seemingly quite interesting. Only to be swamped with additional pressure and stress and the actual ‘rewards’ they received are in actual fact almost never worth it.
  • Although very hard. And fraught also with stress and challenges. Starting a business is incredibly difficult, particularly to be successful, to stand out amongst competition etc etc. But if you do manage to do it right, there is a chance of finding a far greater degree of financial and time freedom than you will working for the man.
    • Oh and btw, if you want to try starting a business. Do it early in life in your 20s with minimal responsibilities or $$ commitments.
  • Taken a lot more risks earlier in life, teens and 20’s rather than later when perhaps responsibilities and the impact of risks can become more of an issue. I have taken some risks and in some cases been massively burnt. Would have been easier having failed back in my 20’s.

That will do for now..Till the next part.