Ring around the beach by Patrick
I’m talking to some Year 12 pupils on Monday and I’m thinking of using this as my main point: the world is your oyster – it’s down to you. But the number one most important thing in your life is to make the right friends.

What do you think? Will I sound too much like their mother?

My brief for the talk is: “Careers are changing at a quick pace, social media had and is having major changes. Keep ideas open – perhaps consider a portfolio career. If things don’t go to the original plan, find another way. Networking, communication and motivation are paramount.”

I’ve been asked to talk specifically about (1) How a job in TV isn’t as glamorous as it’s made out to be (Why I left) and (2) why it’s maybe good to have two “jobs” – one that makes you money (plumbing/ accountancy?) to support the one that fulfills you (acting/ music?) and (3) How to promoting yourself using social media: building your profile, making the right connections, starting a blog/Youtube channel etc.

I want the Year 12s I’m speaking to to know that what they do in life is completely up to them, but how building the right network is crucial. That they need to think about their friendships carefully – and be strategic. I’m not talking about sucking up to the girl whose dad runs a national newspaper, or the boy who goes to Antigua every year for his holidays (chances are they don’t have that type of child in the class – it doesn’t matter).

I’m talking about cultivating relationships with the people who are right for them – the people that bring out the best in them and not the worst, the people that are going to help them, the people that share the same passions. And those people can be as quirky, weird and wonderful as they like. They don’t have to be obvious, or part of the mainstream (And of course, in terms of contributing something new and important to the world, it’s probably better if they’re not).

Of course, social media can be a big part of finding those people, and of building those networks around yourself. The new relationships you create can lead to other meaningful friendships, which in turn can lead to more. Social media creates its own kind of network effect.

Through social media, anything is possible – we no longer have to speak with a certain accent, we no longer need to look a certain way (things are far from perfect, but if you look at how societal norms have opened up in the past few decades, they’re a lot better than they were).

So, life tip no 1: Don’t underestimate the important role your friends will play in life.

What do you think? Is that good career advice? I’m trying to think of something that involves making best use of social media. What advice would you give to 16 year olds starting out on their careers today?
Photo: Adwriter