This is for those youngsters who have struggled with the “What are you going to be when you grow up” question, and now need to come up with an answer.

I know a 13-year old boy who has his heart set on being an accountant. So, he goes along to see his career advisor, who tells him that to attain his goal he needs to gain two Higher passes, then attend college.

Being a bright lad, he realises that this doesn’t sound right, so he asks a couple of top-flight accountants if the advice he has been given is correct. He quickly learns that, contrary to the advice from the school-supplied careers guidance monkey, he needs a university degree in a business related subject, followed by passes in accountancy exams from one of the professional bodies such as The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.

That’s quite a jump from two Higher Grade passes and a college certificate!

So, here we have a guidance teacher giving advice that is so far off the mark it’s laughable. No encouragement. No support. Just exceptionally bad advice. I wonder if, when asked what he wanted to be when he left school, the adviser said: “Something in the career guidance line.” Unlikely. In other words, he ended up in a job he didn’t want in the first place, telling youngsters how to get the job THEY want.

And here’s a thought: if the careers advice officer is so clued up on careers, why doesn’t he have one? Why aren’t they forging ahead in some highly paid profession, rising through the ranks like a rocket?

When you think about it, the same thing is true of the Government-paid Small Business advisers and specialists. If they know enough to be giving business advice to a young entrepreneur, why aren’t they running their own thriving business?

With all that knowledge and expertise, why are they sitting behind a desk doing a nine-to-five job with paid annual leave and a set lunch break when they could be the head of a multinational conglomerate? Could it be, do you think, that these advisers perhaps don’t have the ability to succeed in a commercial environment? And if that’s the case, why are they dishing out advice?

You want my advice? Don’t listen to the “advisers”. Instead, go out and speak to the people who are already out there, doing it for real. You will find that successful people will be more than happy to offer advice. Good advice.

Drew McAdam


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