Last week, my son Ben moved to Vancouver for a work placement at a sports physio clinic. Packed his tiny Mazda hatchback full of clothes, summer tires, his computer, skis and a huge box of bread and headed west.
It's officially a 4 month internship but I suspect he's gone for good. He's applying to Grad School to become a full on physiotherapist and they don't offer that in Regina. And he'd rather be near his girlfriend than his parents at this point.
Life sure does repeat itself, eh? I made a similar trip west in 1988, for a co-op work term at Mobil Oil in Calgary. My parents figured it was a one way trip too - they even bought me luggage. (Although I did come back for a bit. 30 years and counting!)
If I've done a good job as a dad, Ben knows he has many more options available to him than I thought I had 30 years ago. Back then, if you wanted a 'professional career', your options were a government job or an oil company. At least that's what I was taught.
These days, there are more options than ever before. Both real, tangible options along with the mental freedom to pursue a variety of things. When I was 23, I was told the goal was to get a job with a pension plan (any job with a pension will do) and stay there until retirement. Ben would find that idea laughable.
If there were 200 people in the '80s who were into social entrepreneurship, I sure didn't know them. That was the time of Wall Street and Yuppies. Or Affluenza and Voluntary Simplicity. Either get on the train or reject the whole thing.
Now, instead of worrying about leases and 18% interest rates, entire, real companies can be formed for the price of an internet connection and some cloud storage. The only constraint is your imagination and the willingness to truly see what people need.
Even if Ben doesn't get into Grad School, he already has the skills and knowledge to start a handful of businesses in the sports injury and rehab space. Or general fitness. Or personal training or healthy cooking and eating. He knows how to see and listen to others. And he's used to cobbling together a project using a wide range of resources.
It's a great time to start something. I can't wait to see what he starts next.
(I can't wait to hear about what YOU are working on too. Shoot me a note and let me know or drop a comment below!)
Mark’s photo is of Ben on his final First Day of School, September 2018