Drop out of school if you want to get ahead

Phil Johnson

11 April 2018    |   

If you’re looking to validate your opinion on this matter with a “Steve Jobs dropped out and he was successful” conclusion this is not your article. I want to pose the idea that focusing all your efforts full-time on the traditional school to university pathway will hold you back a few years in life experience. Cue my colleague Jasper.  He’s 18 years old, has two years full-time corporate experience in sales and began a Bachelor of Business while his high school classmates were still in school. I would say he’s most things a parent would want of their child.  A high performer, earning good money and gaining worldly experiences several years before his now full-time university peers. He also dropped out of high school. It’s fair to say in retrospect that this decision served Jasper well –  and looking back I wish I had done the same. The reason I think this path is an option worth entertaining has nothing to do with time or money, or pointing to *insert billionaire* who also dropped out. It’s to do with finding the best pathway to sharpen your axe for life. It’s to do with eliminating self limiting beliefs and distancing yourself from false expectations that you have to be of a certain age, or a certain seniority and have a certain piece of paper to chase your goals. Spending a long time in higher education, both as a student and a student leader, I got the opportunity to gauge a pretty good profile of the modern university student. I saw the best and worst of the university system – I was the conduit to the bureaucrats when the university worked against students.  This was an eye opening experience that gave me a dutiful sense of purpose to help connect students to industry now that I’ve graduated. When I meet with student groups now, I identify many similarities to my former student self. What I see is rooms full of fee paying talented people held back waiting for false validations. Waiting until they graduate to go for a good job, waiting until second year to apply for the internship, waiting for the good semester that boosts their GPA enough to apply for the right position. I believe the average student is so sold into the boundaries of the education system that they are waiting for the permission to do life. The painfully ironic thing is that based on employment outcomes there’s never been a worse time to be a university graduate. And this is all happening in times where vocal industry commentators are saying that life skills are the hardest trait to find in Millennial employees. Clearly the classroom is not the place to be looking for life experience. A UK industry body suggested the most lacked employment skills in Millenials were: ‘Working life’ skills, self awareness and confidence, communication skills and commercial skills. Knowing that, if I had the time to pick my pathway again, I would chose to double down on these skills at a younger age.  I’d put university on the backburner for a while and fiercely pursue more authentic opportunities for self development, making the pursuit of the “piece of paper” a side project. But most certainly, I would have chosen to drop out of high school.   Originally posted on LinkedIn

Tanda-Jasper-Cooper-and-Phil-Johnson

If you’re looking to validate your opinion on this matter with a “Steve Jobs dropped out and he was successful” conclusion this is not your article.

I want to pose the idea that focusing all your efforts full-time on the traditional school to university pathway will hold you back a few years in life experience.

Cue my colleague Jasper.  He’s 18 years old, has two years full-time corporate experience in sales and began a Bachelor of Business while his high school classmates were still in school.

I would say he’s most things a parent would want of their child.  A high performer, earning good money and gaining worldly experiences several years before his now full-time university peers.

He also dropped out of high school.

It’s fair to say in retrospect that this decision served Jasper well –  and looking back I wish I had done the same.

The reason I think this path is an option worth entertaining has nothing to do with time or money, or pointing to *insert billionaire* who also dropped out.

It’s to do with finding the best pathway to sharpen your axe for life.

It’s to do with eliminating self limiting beliefs and distancing yourself from false expectations that you have to be of a certain age, or a certain seniority and have a certain piece of paper to chase your goals.

Spending a long time in higher education, both as a student and a student leader, I got the opportunity to gauge a pretty good profile of the modern university student.

I saw the best and worst of the university system – I was the conduit to the bureaucrats when the university worked against students.  This was an eye opening experience that gave me a dutiful sense of purpose to help connect students to industry now that I’ve graduated.

When I meet with student groups now, I identify many similarities to my former student self.

What I see is rooms full of fee paying talented people held back waiting for false validations.

Waiting until they graduate to go for a good job, waiting until second year to apply for the internship, waiting for the good semester that boosts their GPA enough to apply for the right position.

I believe the average student is so sold into the boundaries of the education system that they are waiting for the permission to do life.

The painfully ironic thing is that based on employment outcomes there’s never been a worse time to be a university graduate.

And this is all happening in times where vocal industry commentators are saying that life skills are the hardest trait to find in Millennial employees.

Clearly the classroom is not the place to be looking for life experience.

A UK industry body suggested the most lacked employment skills in Millenials were: ‘Working life’ skills, self awareness and confidence, communication skills and commercial skills.

Knowing that, if I had the time to pick my pathway again, I would chose to double down on these skills at a younger age.  I’d put university on the backburner for a while and fiercely pursue more authentic opportunities for self development, making the pursuit of the “piece of paper” a side project.

But most certainly, I would have chosen to drop out of high school.

 

Originally posted on LinkedIn

Related Posts

Industry Insights    |   

Why Brisbane is Australia’s Best City for Startups

Since we’ve started flogging time and attendance software at Tanda, our team has bought over 40 airline tickets across Australia. We’ve been to every capital city and done business at hundreds of locations all around Australia. One thing really hit home: Brisbane is the best place to be a startup. Here are five reasons why: 1. Cost of living This is by far the biggest benefit of being in Brisbane; housing and office space are so much more within the price range of a business that’s just starting. This has allowed us to bootstrap to a considerable size without using external funding. 2. Transport This may sound like a small thing. The best advice we got when we were starting our business was “it takes a lot of shoe leather”, meaning we’d spend a lot of time on our feet talking to anyone who’ll meet with us. Driving around Brisbane is so much better than other capital cities. It’s affordable enough, and nothing is too far away. Despite what philosopher Alain de Botton might say about the Riverside Expressway, it’s one of my favourite features of the city. Because Brisbane’s not that big, we can justify having an office outside of the inner city where rent is a bit cheaper, without feeling like we are out of the loop. 3. BCC Brisbane City Council is making a very concerted effort for the future of the city to be digital. I was lucky enough to receive the Lord Mayor’s budding entrepreneur grant and have heard Cr Quirk talk about the city’s plan for the future and I’m excited about growing a business here. 4. Business community There are a number of great communities around start-ups really getting some traction in Brisbane such as River City Labs and iLab. But the other great thing about the city is how many innovative business people are willing to talk to you and lend a hand – which is particularly good for a B2B business! 5. Talent Brisbane has two great technology courses at QUT and UQ, which makes it much easier to attract and retain young talent to help build and grow our business. It’s a much tougher market for employers in other capital cities, especially those with only one technology-focused university. I’d recommend Brisbane as a great place to start a business for anyone considering starting out. The team at Brisbane Marketing & Digital Brisbane have a lot of support available to you on top of the many other benefits.

Events & Media AU    |   

Tanda Open Data Hackathon this weekend – 17th & 18th April

This article is about the 2015 event. Go to hack.tanda.co for 2016’s event details! The Tanda Open Data Hackathon is upon us! Programmers, designers and developers are flocking to Brisbane for Tanda’s first Open Data Hackathon. In a digital era where everything is reachable from the click of a button, it’s no surprise there are now marathons and competitions for the digitally oriented too. Hackathons, e-conferences and everything in between can be a great way to meet new faces in your industry and carve out your own opportunities in the workforce. You can come along as a lone wolf hunting down open data, or bring a pack of friends to brainstorm together. On the first night after pitches, that’s when you’ll have a chance to form your final teams and get ready to compete. Tanda’s Hackathon will be taking place over two locations. Day 1 will see us at our own Tanda HQ for meet’n’greet, drinks and pitches. Then, a fresh start (and a free breakfast) on Saturday morning will begin at Brisbane’s River City Labs.  The great facilities at this space will hopefully give all attendants the comfort they need to execute a great pitch. It’s a Learning Experience The main drive of these types of events is that everyone should walk out feeling that learnt something. Whether it’s something a team partner has shown you while trying to create something awesome under pressure, or a competitor reveals a clever trick in their presentation. There’s no point to an idea if you don’t share it. It’s a Networking Opportunity Whether it’s the company hosting the Hackathon or a fellow competitor at the event these are the kind of industry events where you can actually stand out for future employees. Instead of selling yourself in an annoying verbal resume at some cocktail event you can show potential employers your skills in action. It’s a push in the Right Direction Not only will you meet new people, you will receive feedback from the two judges for Tanda’s Hackathon. The first judge will be Tanda’s very own Adam Lyons who spends his time all over Australia helping to implement savvy programs for growth in Australian businesses. Our Guest Judge for the Tanda Open Data Hackathon is Keran McKenzie. Keran has been on the scene helping take start-ups to sky heights for the past 20 years. He’s come up all the way from Melbourne to assess your ideas and test your skills. It’s a chance to help a Great Cause This Hackathon is a “Hack It Forward” kind of event. All proceeds made in this event will go back into student funding for IT, programming, and related student clubs at QUT and UQ. As a Start-Up company ourselves Tanda knows the ideas start with you guys – the students, the idealists, the dreamers and the young entrepreneurs.

Events & Media AU    |   

Bright Ideas Paying Dividends for Budding Entrepreneurs

Four housemates, a bright idea and a client list that’s pushing towards triple figures six months after launch. Technology entrepreneurship is alive and well in Brisbane and software developer PayAus (Now, Tanda) is among the latest wave of shoe-stringers to find an untapped market niche. PayAus’s cloud-based rostering, sign-on and reporting program promises a low-cost means for small businesses to automate what’s still a paper process for many. PayAus’s founder is 21-year-old technology graduate Alex Ghiculescu. He and his three partners, all of whom are the offspring of small business families, have progressively given up paid employment as demand for their product has grown since its February release. Advertisement “It’s getting to the point where we’re making a living out of it,” Ghiculescu said. Word of mouth and advertising through Google AdWords have seen PayAus acquire a clutch of grown-up customers across Australia including clubs and hotels and the Brisbane logistics company Interport Cargo. PayAus has also former a partnership with major accounting software vendors Xero and MYOB. The firm is among 12 start-ups that last week received a share of $25,000 in grant funding from the Brisbane City Council, via the Lord Mayor’s Budding Entrepreneurs program. The initiative is part of a Digital Brisbane strategy launched in July 2012 after the appointment of chief digital officer Kieran O’Hea. His remit includes encouraging local businesses to become more digitally savvy and fostering a start-up culture in the city. While the southern capitals are the epicentre of Australia’s start-up scene, Brisbane has spawned global success stories including the smash-hit game Fruit Ninja, and We Are Hunted, an online music tracker acquired by Twitter in April. Long established software and services vendors including TechnologyOne and Data 3 also began in Brisbane. Ghiculescu will spend his cut of the grant attending the Yow! developer conference this year. Fellow grant recipient Zachary Fitz-Walter, 27, says his cheque will afford his joining fee at River City Labs, a Brisbane incubator run by Pipe Networks founder and high-tech investor Steve Baxter. Since inception in March 2012, the facility has been used by 116 start-ups and currently has 55 companies in residence. Fitz-Walter is a PhD student completing a thesis on gamification at QUT’s Mobile Innovation Lab. His big idea is Monster Link, a video game which incorporates real life elements, such as location and weather. Gamification refers to the incorporation of video game features and techniques into everyday activities, to make them more engaging. “We want to show what we can do, then look for potential investors,” Fitz-Walter said. His team of four includes two PhD students and an artist. Apple technology had removed barriers to entry and made it easy for those with a bright idea to develop it quickly, Fitz-Walter said. Miriam Hochwald, the founder of Geek Girl Coffees, an international networking and support group for women working in science and technology, took a share of the cash for her sideline project, Little Geeklet. The app helps users to publish online stories. “I am aiming to assist people to tick off their bucket list item of writing a children’s book,” Hochwald said. “It doesn’t have to be a world hit, a great story or even good art work … I think creative expression is important for people’s wellbeing at any age – not just restricted to kids or so-called artists.” The council will offer a second round of grants early next year. The inaugural round attracted 96 applications. Source: Originally posted on SMH.

More Resources

About the author

Phil Johnson

Partner Manager: Having used Tanda in a management capacity prior to working at Tanda, Phil understands first hand the value that Tanda can bring to a business. Phil now manages Tanda's Partner Program, to assist businesses to implement innovative solutions and processes in their business.

Share this article

Related Articles

Industry Insights

Why Brisbane is Australia’s Best City for Startups

Since we’ve started flogging time and attendance software at Tanda, our team has bought over 40 airline tickets across Australia. We’ve been to every capital city and done business at hundreds of locations all around Australia. One thing really hit home: Brisbane is the best place to be a startup. Here are five reasons why: […]

Events & Media AU

Tanda Open Data Hackathon this weekend – 17th & 18th April

This article is about the 2015 event. Go to hack.tanda.co for 2016’s event details! The Tanda Open Data Hackathon is upon us! Programmers, designers and developers are flocking to Brisbane for Tanda’s first Open Data Hackathon. In a digital era where everything is reachable from the click of a button, it’s no surprise there are now […]

Events & Media AU

Bright Ideas Paying Dividends for Budding Entrepreneurs

Four housemates, a bright idea and a client list that’s pushing towards triple figures six months after launch. Technology entrepreneurship is alive and well in Brisbane and software developer PayAus (Now, Tanda) is among the latest wave of shoe-stringers to find an untapped market niche. PayAus’s cloud-based rostering, sign-on and reporting program promises a low-cost […]

More Resources

Subscribe to the Tanda Blog!

Stay updated with the latest insights on frontline work, industry news, business templates, and other free resources.

*Please fill this field
*Please fill this field