Author Topic: How did you decide on your career?  (Read 10441 times)

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Offline THE EDJ

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Re: How did you decide on your career?
« Reply #75 on: June 09, 2017, 11:11:01 AM »
Growing up and coming out of high school I was always interested in the outdoors. After high school, I enrolled in a degree program called "Outdoor Adventure and Administration," which was going to set me up for a lifelong career working at, and eventually running, an outdoor program or camp. After a year and a half, I decided I loved the outdoors too much to let it be work, so I began looking at other potential opportunities.

Aside from being outside, I was also very interested in engineering, and more specifically, mechanical engineering. I wrestled with doing a Tech Diploma and a degree for a few months before settling on the Mechanical Engineering Technologist program at SAIT. I didn't really want to do four more years of school and liked the idea that a tech position could be a lot more hands on. I don't regret that decision for even one minute.

Even as "just" a technologist, I've had some great opportunities to do something I love and have come a long ways in my short 5 year career, as I'm now leading a small team of designers and engineers for a heavy duty trailer manufacturer. The job is technical, very challenging, and ever rewarding. Every time I go to Alberta I see a trailer or piece of equipment that I've personally designed or worked on, and to me, that's pretty cool. If you see any trailer mounted oilfield equipment, it's probably on our trailers. And to top it off, I get to live in the Okanagan.

A lot has happened since this previous post, quoted here for some continuity. I held the design team lead position for a few years and then transitioned into a role where I assumed several peoples responsibilities as the company downsized and the economy took a dive. I acted primarily as the conduit between our sales team and the rest of the organization (engineering, supply, chain, production, etc.). I was in charge of estimating, pricing, approving projects and jobs, coordinating production schedule priorities, scheduling invoicing and delivery, among a host of other things. Through that time period, the company was sold and many organizational changes were made.

I resigned from that position at the beginning of May and have now started my own company, Monashee Design Co. I'm now offering mechanical design, drafting, design analysis, and consulting services, working from home. I'm currently waiting on some software licensing stuff to get sorted out before I can do much design work, but I'll be running Solidworks. I've just got the company on it's feet and it's been pretty awesome so far. Check out my website! www.monasheedesignco.com
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Offline Ambystom01

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Re: How did you decide on your career?
« Reply #76 on: July 06, 2017, 01:32:01 PM »
Some people have it simple with.  Just their name
Others have a complex set of numbers and letters
And Bussiness names are used too

When you are on a forum like this, you might form a picture in your mind of someone, by their name or posts.
A phenomenon of social media, and no face to face contact.
Also the fact that we post pictures of our trucks and not ourselves.
Which, much of the time will expose your what decade you were born in

How did you come up with your name?

Ill start

Have you been to Disneyland?
I only went here once as a kid. In 1972
But when I had kids I took them multiple times.
The best place on earth.
They knew how to clean out your wallet, but you still left the place smiling.
My grandfather always drove chevy trucks
Driving in his red and white one as a kid that dash impressed me
To this day I think it is the one of best interior designs ever
As the years piled on, trucks started accumulating at my house
At some point I googled chevy truck on the web, and this place popped up
When I wanted to see more info on here, they made me sign up
Hence, CHEVYLAND

This is perhaps the most schizophrenic piece of spam I've ever seen. Your name, CHEVYLAND, doesn't even match your actual forum name.
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Offline Player One

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Re: How did you decide on your career?
« Reply #77 on: July 06, 2017, 01:36:04 PM »
Some people have it simple with.  Just their name
Others have a complex set of numbers and letters
And Bussiness names are used too

When you are on a forum like this, you might form a picture in your mind of someone, by their name or posts.
A phenomenon of social media, and no face to face contact.
Also the fact that we post pictures of our trucks and not ourselves.
Which, much of the time will expose your what decade you were born in

How did you come up with your name?

Ill start

Have you been to Disneyland?
I only went here once as a kid. In 1972
But when I had kids I took them multiple times.
The best place on earth.
They knew how to clean out your wallet, but you still left the place smiling.
My grandfather always drove chevy trucks
Driving in his red and white one as a kid that dash impressed me
To this day I think it is the one of best interior designs ever
As the years piled on, trucks started accumulating at my house
At some point I googled chevy truck on the web, and this place popped up
When I wanted to see more info on here, they made me sign up
Hence, CHEVYLAND

Offline Rathburn

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Re: How did you decide on your career
« Reply #78 on: July 06, 2017, 01:47:03 PM »
Some people have it simple with.  Just their name
Others have a complex set of numbers and letters
And Bussiness names are used too

When you are on a forum like this, you might form a picture in your mind of someone, by their name or posts.
A phenomenon of social media, and no face to face contact.
Also the fact that we post pictures of our trucks and not ourselves.
Which, much of the time will expose your what decade you were born in

How did you come up with your name?

Ill start

Have you been to Disneyland?
I only went here once as a kid. In 1972
But when I had kids I took them multiple times.
The best place on earth.
They knew how to clean out your wallet, but you still left the place smiling.
My grandfather always drove chevy trucks
Driving in his red and white one as a kid that dash impressed me
To this day I think it is the one of best interior designs ever
As the years piled on, trucks started accumulating at my house
At some point I googled chevy truck on the web, and this place popped up
When I wanted to see more info on here, they made me sign up
Hence, CHEVYLAND

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Offline tcon

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Re: How did you decide on your career?
« Reply #79 on: July 07, 2017, 04:05:12 AM »
"How can I get paid the most for doing the least amount of work"

So I became a power engineer

Offline HiTempguy

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Re: How did you decide on your career?
« Reply #80 on: July 07, 2017, 01:34:29 PM »
"How can I get paid the most for doing the least amount of work"

So I became a power engineer

Truth, except during shutdowns. Then you might run your assay off depending on which site or plant you are at haha.

But yea, six figures comes pretty quick. Its treated my father well and lots of time its mostly being on the panel or doing walk arounds/inspections.

Offline Jukka

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Re: How did you decide on your career?
« Reply #81 on: July 24, 2018, 02:57:52 PM »
Bumping an old thread.

I'm basically the complete opposite of most people in this thread. I did itshay in school (barely graduated highschool) because I wasn't challenged enough. I was always the kid who wanted to help people out though. During my schooling I took part in programs like conflict managers (recess program where kids would go in and break up fights and mediate issues). I would also try and break up fights and stuff outside the program, which got me in trouble a few times. When I was in grade 7 I was gang beaten pretty badly to the point where we had to get the police involved. During that time, one of our family friends was the detectives who was taking care of the case and showed me so much compassion and made me feel like I wasn't the victim in the situation. It really made me want to get into a job where I could make that kind of difference in peoples lives.

I think when I graduated highschool, I had a 58.9% average, which was only brought up by me getting 96% in my automotive course. Anyways, graduated highschool with the intention of either applying to a Police Foundations program to get a leg up on trying to become a police officer, go to school for welding, or go to school for autobody. Put my application in to all 3 schools I was looking at, got accepted to all 3. During this time, I started working at a Canadian Tire doing autoparts.

 My mom thought I was too young/immature to think about policing, so she negelected to tell me about an english test I had to write for placement in the Police Foundations program, so the window lapsed, and I didn't get in. Went to check out the welding program I was accepted into, which was in a tiny town in Southern Ontario, like population of 3000 in the town and county. The school, which has multiple campuses around Ontario, had the smallest campus in this town. Literally all that they offered at the campus was ECE and welding. 2 year program with 8 people in my program..no thanks. So I went to school for Autobody.

Got accepted into the program, went for a tour of the school, who was getting a $10 million investment into it's automotive programs. They said everything would be finished up by the time school started in September. September rolls around, maybe 1/4 of the work being done is finished. They didn't have the resources available to us to actually learn anything, so I spent 2 months getting the oil can out of a 6x6" piece of sheet metal, made a couple of trim pieces using a shrinker, and learned how to use a metal break...all stuff I did in highschool. The school couldn't give me or the other students when any of the facilities would be opened up again. I dropped out after 2.5 months.

Spent the next 4 months working as a ski instructor and coach 7 days a week. Got told about a school in Southwestern Ontario that had just re-done it's AST program and had sponsorship from the Big 3. They also made their program an integrated co-op period in it, so when you graduate, you graduate as a second year AST apprentice. Did the program for 2.5 years, but it happen to be at the same time the auto industry in Detroit and Windsor fell, so when shops went to hire people, who could they hire? 20 year old kid with a year of schooling under his belt for $16/hour, or hire the guy who's been building engines on the Ford assembly line for the last 20 years for $18/hour? Made getting a job really difficult. I also had a realization during the last few months of my program that I really didn't want to work as a tech. I enjoyed working on my vehicles, but hated working on other people's cars while people who had never turned a wrench in their entire life get mad because a job that shows 3 hours book time isn't done, while not factoring in things like what Ontario's climate does to cars. I decided I wanted to become a police officer again, the drive stuck with me and I couldn't shake it.

Finished school, went back to school a few years later for the police foundations program that I originally got into and finally found something I was passionate for. I loved the program, loved being challenged every day in every possible way. Loved the course work, got involved in some extra curicular programs, one of which got me involved with volunteering with Toronto Police Service. I was in the program for 3 years, ran it for 2 of the three years, and absolutely loved it. Went from a kid who barely graduated highschool to making honors 3/4 semesters and won an award for leadership.

During all of this though, I was working in the automotive parts industry. Started off at 15 at Canadian Tire in parts, then started working part time as a speed shop when I was 17, then went full time. Spent 10 years working for the same speedshop where we specalized in classic performance parts and traditional hot-rods. Moved out to Calgary 5 years ago, worked for a couple of speedshops here, including now. But this isn't what I want to do.

I've had applications into a couple of police services throughout the years, and am continuing trying to get on board with a service somewhere. I enjoy working in the automotive industry, but working in it for the last 16 years on a wide variety of vehicles and customers, I've gone so numb to things. Cars don't excite me any more, and I still have this drive to do something that helps people.

So I'm not in my career yet, despite working in the same industry for 16 years.

Offline Zaider

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Re: How did you decide on your career?
« Reply #82 on: July 24, 2018, 04:33:55 PM »
Always knew I wanted to be an engineer, just didn't know what type. I thought that maybe i'd do automotive engineering, but a conversation with a prof put a stop to that. He asked me what I thought automotive engineering would be like and, when I really didn't know, he explained that it wouldn't be anything like I dreamed about. Time to look elsewhere.

In first year, I did a road trip up to Ft Mac with a friend to visit a girl I knew. Her mom organized a tour of Syncrude's mine and we got to ride around in the large haul trucks, see the plant, etc. I was mesmerized. Figured I'd give Mining a shot and see if I liked it. I've been doing it since.

I've previously thought about maybe doing law school (engineers with MBA's are a dime a dozen and generally get no respect in my world) but quickly realized that I didn't want to go back to school and that law was an interest and not a career.

The first part of my career was pretty rough at points. When I look back, it was because I wasn't putting the effort in that I needed to. University had taught me how to coast and get by with minimal work (foosball and drinking instead of studying). Since then, I've learned a lot about my work ethic, as well as the value of being proud of your product, and have definitely seen much more success as a result. I find that the better I think I am doing at my chosen career, the more I like it.

I guess its time to update this a bit since I saw that the thread got bumped up. Its been over 4 years since I wrote that and a lot has changed for me career-wise.

Since writing that, I was temp-promoted to team-lead when my actual team-lead got assigned to a different project. Did that for 8 months and then my wife and I took 4 months off to go backpacking in South America. It was good to get some distance and gain some life perspective, but it definitely set me back a little bit career-wise. When I came back, I took the opportunity to go up to site and gain some more field experience. If there's one thing I can suggest for younger engineers, its to do as much field-work as possible when you're younger. I spent a couple years doing FIFO at a mine and then got moved back downtown Calgary through one of our re-orgs. I learned about dealing with Operations folks and being a senior engineer on site who gets yelled at if things go wrong or if I make the wrong decision taught me a lot about responsibility for my own decisions and how to defend my decisions.

One great experience I had was being the senior mining engineer on site when the Ft Mac fires happened. I went from my regular job planning where to dig and what to build, to designing and building fire-breaks, ensuring safety of operators while they built the fire-breaks, fixing Bird-Alert systems, helping with emergency evacuation plans for our camp and planning safe areas for equipment should the fire reach the site. It was pretty scary at times, but looking back was an incredible experience. 

When I got back to Calgary after my stint at the mine, I was put in charge of a small team of junior engineers responsible for some things that were way out of my comfort zone and it was a steep learning curve. I got through it by spending time after work to learn what I didn't know. I also made mistakes.

A year later, our company's assets were bought by another company, including the employees. Without any real choice in the matter (alternative was to quit), I was now working for a different company. While I continued on in my same role, for the most part, I was finding that I was getting bored and I know that when I get bored, my performance slips. Not wanting to take the chance that I would slip too far, I jumped at the opportunity to switch roles into our Closure & Reclamation Team.

While I had been previously working on the active mining side of things - where to dig, what goes to the plant, haul truck efficiencies, what structures to build, I had been wanting to get into more of the environmental side of things. Mining is a very specific industry and sometimes it feels tough to switch fields once you're in. I wanted to broaden my skillset and the Environmental and Regulatory work that I am doing now is giving me that. Im learning new software, dealing with Regulatory applications, soil science, etc. Things feel fresh again and I love what I am doing - most of the time.  It isn't the management experience I was doing before, but I think this is more up my alley for now. I get a wider skillset and specialize in something that not a lot of mining engineers know about. If the time comes for me to leave (my choice or theirs) the company, then I've added this to my resume and can set myself apart.

I guess, to end this, my vision of what a career actually is has evolved. While Im still in the same industry, I've had so many different roles and each has taught me something different and allowed me to move onto the next thing. I dont really think that, from what I've seen, the stereotype of having a single job for 30 years and calling it a career exists anymore. People get bored, move on, move around and things open up for those around them. As long as Im still learning things and getting paid for it, Im pretty happy.

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Offline silent

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Re: How did you decide on your career?
« Reply #83 on: July 25, 2018, 10:28:22 AM »
If there's one thing I can suggest for younger engineers, its to do as much field-work as possible when you're younger. I spent a couple years doing FIFO at a mine and then got moved back downtown Calgary through one of our re-orgs. I learned about dealing with Operations folks and being a senior engineer on site who gets yelled at if things go wrong or if I make the wrong decision taught me a lot about responsibility for my own decisions and how to defend my decisions.
+1.  This is absolutely huge for any young engineer, field time is definitely viewed as an asset.  I did a year of FIFO and then relocated to our field office for a year before returning to Calgary. It's extremely tough on the personal life, especially if you have a significant other with full time employment in Calgary but we found a way to make it work.

There's no better way to learn a plant than having to design some modifications/upgraded and actually being there to speak with the operators and tradespeople.  They can show you a million ways to make their lives easier without costing much, which garners a lot of respect from them.  It's really nice having operations on your side because it's a guarantee you will need to lean on them in the future. The relationships on the field side are crucial.

Quote
As long as Im still learning things and getting paid for it, Im pretty happy.
This as well.  If you're not learning anything new, you're stagnating in your career and it's time for a change.

Offline diamondedge

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Re: How did you decide on your career?
« Reply #84 on: July 25, 2018, 10:39:51 AM »
This as well.  If you're not learning anything new, you're stagnating in your career and it's time for a change.

I've been very lucky to have this both of my own drive and also by virtue of economic factors.

I've touched almost every flavor of my particular engineering discipline, including construction. The problem is I find I get caught up in a lot of pulling forces; I'm still a fairly young engineer but with piecemeal experience from different industries. My network has allowed me to break into different industries but all of
these little appetizers is not...appetizing to future/potential employers.

I'm learning now and I love it; but will it last? I am doing everything I can to make it last.

Telecommunications, embedded hardware, project management, project engineering, systems engineering, oil and gas electrical systems, instrumentation,  electrical construction, standards, and now utility. But not enough to be good at all of it.

It's been a crazy 8 years.

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Offline RedndWhite

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Re: How did you decide on your career?
« Reply #85 on: July 25, 2018, 11:36:22 AM »
+1.  This is absolutely huge for any young engineer, field time is definitely viewed as an asset.  I did a year of FIFO and then relocated to our field office for a year before returning to Calgary. It's extremely tough on the personal life, especially if you have a significant other with full time employment in Calgary but we found a way to make it work.

There's no better way to learn a plant than having to design some modifications/upgraded and actually being there to speak with the operators and tradespeople.  They can show you a million ways to make their lives easier without costing much, which garners a lot of respect from them.  It's really nice having operations on your side because it's a guarantee you will need to lean on them in the future. The relationships on the field side are crucial.
This as well.  If you're not learning anything new, you're stagnating in your career and it's time for a change.

I fall under tradesperson... you can definitely tell when something was designed by an engineer who has never been out in the field. Doesn't matter if its in oil, automotive/heavy equipment, residential framing, whatever. We can tell, we will itchbay. We'll also teach if you just ask.

There are some engineers who just don't give a uckfay about how easy something could be. If it's not their way, it's the highway. Don't be like that guy. Go out and learn how things are built, assembled, and brought out to the field, and installed. It'll make you a valuable asset.

And if you're still not convinced, go work on an Audi that's out of warranty.
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Offline Markkas

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Re: How did you decide on your career?
« Reply #86 on: July 26, 2018, 03:10:50 AM »
I dont really think that, from what I've seen, the stereotype of having a single job for 30 years and calling it a career exists anymore. People get bored, move on, move around and things open up for those around them. As long as Im still learning things and getting paid for it, Im pretty happy.

I quite believe in this as well. With the ability to now apply in an instant in many different fields of work, types of roles, organizations, etc. I feel as if this is becoming less of a thing. It's a new generation, and I personally think i'll be all over the place before I really find myself doing something that makes me happy every single day.

To update my own personal point on this topic, since my last updates I have graduated university with my bcomm, travelled fairly well, and started working for a private company in the insurance industry. Going from working (albeit part time) public sector to private has opened so many windows for me. There are certainly perks of working for an organization not funded or pressured by the government for absolutely everything, and I constantly find myself comparing the two.

I am enjoying learning on how the insurance industry works, and my role has certainly been a great step for me into the professional world. With that being said however, I don't see myself staying too much longer. Ultimately, my work is just not very stimulating for me. It's a lot of sitting at a desk dealing with nothing but numbers for hours, and I find myself getting bored quite often. I strive in environments where I can learn, grow, and really use the skillsets that I have, and unfortunately i'm just not accomplishing that with my current work. On top of that, it seems that my workload just increases month after month with little to no additional support.

Over the last few months, i've been looking at applying for a two year after degree program for comp-sci. Right now I can see myself doing it next fall, so that's likely where my path is headed.

Lesson learned so far is to never stop doing. No matter what I am looking for in life, I want to keep myself busy working and learning. In doing just that, instead of finding the exact path I want to follow in my career now, I am figuring out which ones I no longer want to follow. Process of elimination + gaining valuable experience along the way.

Offline Ambystom01

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Re: How did you decide on your career?
« Reply #87 on: July 27, 2018, 07:52:18 PM »
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a vet. For various reasons, at around 15/16, I decided this wasn't right for me and my interests moved to molecular biology.

I got my first degree in biological sciences. I was dead set on the research career, so the next logical step was to go to grad school. My plan was to get an MSc, then a PhD, and then do some post docing with the final goal being a research position in academics or ideally commercial pharmaceuticals. Anyways, I spent 4 years getting an MSc in RNA biochemistry and that was enough. I liked the work, but couldn't imagine doing it for a career; there was too much administrative crap, and the short-term highs didn't counteract the weeks or months of doubting yourself and hunting stupid tech bugs.

I started thinking about what I could do with my background. Med school was the obvious choice but medicine didn't really attract me as much as I thought it should if I was going to become a doctor; I wasn't passionate about it. I looked more into the legal field and it sounded like my best option given my skills and my lifestyle goals. Funnily enough, people had suggested I should go into the law during my undergrad but I was too focused on the research path to really take their suggestion seriously. I did the LSAT, applied to a few law schools, and got in. I entered with the goal of practicing in intellectual property, environmental law, biotechnology, really any area that used my science background.

It has been the best decision of my life. It hasn't been easy, and the field isn't easy, but I feel at the moment it was the right decision for me. It's an area that offers a lot of flexibility, you can practice in any area you want and move between areas as you see fit (save for Crown work), and is intellectually stimulating, and emotionally fulfilling. Obviously it comes with a lot of bad stereotypes, some ullbayitshay, some fairly accurate, but I like it.

So I'll take Zaider's lead and do a follow-up.

The above was posted in my last year of law school. I'm now approaching, in August, the 4 year anniversary of when I first started working in a law firm, and September will be my 3rd year anniversary of being admitted to the bar.

In that time, I completed my articles, and ended up practicing primarily in the area of civil litigation. Not quite where I thought or planned to end up going in but an amusing going into the "family business" of sorts. Until almost a year ago, I did a lot of work in plaintiff's personal injury, probably 50-60% of my practice, with the rest consisting of estate litigation and other types of civil litigation (plaintiff and defence). My dad worked as a medical expert for personal injury matters. So that's the family business I'm talking about.

In September 2017, I moved out of private practice and went in house with an insurance company, so now I do insurance defence,with some subrogation matters.

Overall, I'm still happy with my career choice. I like in house work better than private practice. It's less stressful, there's no need to hunt down clients and worry about billing, and the company is so large I'm a tiny cog in a giant machine, which I prefer - I'm treated like every other employee. I think I'm also better suited for defence work.

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Offline JohnnyCanuck

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Re: How did you decide on your career?
« Reply #88 on: July 30, 2018, 05:28:25 PM »
Too make a long story short, I took the lazy/easy way and dropped out of high school, and was blessed to: retire at 54 and move to - for my wife and I - our dream place.
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Offline jellynuts

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Re: How did you decide on your career?
« Reply #89 on: August 21, 2018, 08:16:48 PM »
Too make a long story short, I took the lazy/easy way and dropped out of high school, and was blessed to: retire at 54 and move to - for my wife and I - our dream place.

I wish I dropped out of high school two. 

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Offline Rathburn

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Re: How did you decide on your career?
« Reply #90 on: August 22, 2018, 08:32:10 AM »
I wish I dropped out of high school two.

There's still time for you to drop out of school. Extend that summer break!
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Offline silent

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Re: How did you decide on your career?
« Reply #91 on: August 22, 2018, 11:46:47 AM »
There's still time for you to drop out of school. Extend that summer break!
Why would he do that now?  Grade 12 is a breeze the 5th time around.