What You Should Do, When and Why

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-29-2003
What You Should Do, When and Why
Thu, 05-29-2003 - 3:52am
Please read this helpful article.

What You Should Do, When and Why


Just as we learn to walk in phases (first crawling, then standing, then taking that first step), we live our lives in a sequence of phases. For most people, the phases of life are:

Phase I (Birth to twenties)

Acquiring social skills

Learning the difference between right and wrong

Learning self-discipline (taught by parents, teachers, and others)

Achieving personal development

Concentrating on school, college

Dealing with peers

Staying out of trouble (with the law)

Deciding on a career and acquiring job skills

Phase II (Twenties to thirties)

Attending graduate school (optional)

Getting that first job or starting a new business

Avoiding debt; understanding money, credit cards, and other financial issues

Developing long-term relationships

Experiencing parenthood

Phase III (Thirties and forties)

Planning for buying a house, investing for retirement, having kids

Persuading your kids to go to college

Learning new skills, volunteering

I have intentionally omitted the fifties and up. By that age, decisions made earlier in life begin to catch up with you.

The Value of Time Life is not really predictable. Many factors - the decisions you make, your family background, some hidden talent, or just pure luck - will decide your fate. However, you can maximize your chances of a good life if you understand that the key component in the equation of life is time.

Time is one thing you can never get back. Once you’ve lost it, it’s gone forever. Of course, you can waste your teen years using drugs, dropping out of school, getting involved in gangs, or getting pregnant. With willpower and luck you might even be able to pull yourself out. But you’ll lose the most important time of your life - the teen years - which you could have used to lay a strong foundation for the future. The end result of wasting teen years is playing catch-up in life. While others are enjoying their twenties and thirties - driving expensive cars, buying homes, traveling for leisure, advancing their careers, raising a family, enjoying hobbies, giving to society - you could be in a lower-paying job, trying desperately to get the right education and skills, and looking for a way out. Such struggles often look great in the movies. But real life is a lot harder than that. Granted, you can undo some of the worst life-changing mistakes, but this comes at a price.

Let’s look at an example. Suppose you drop out of school, work at a low-paying job, get sick of it all, and then decide one day to go back to college. Here are the realities you’ll probably face:

You’ll have to take evening or part-time classes, thus prolonging your education considerably.

You’ll have costly habits that you’ll have to unlearn (a lot harder than it sounds).

You’ll have to make significant changes to your lifestyle to save money for tuition. And you might have to go into debt with school loans, while your peers are paying off theirs.

Once you graduate, you’ll have to compete with graduates much younger than you are, and many employers prefer younger workers. (Don’t kid yourself; there is definitely age bias in the workplace.)

Keep in mind that time does not stand still. While you’re turning your life around, changes are constantly taking place in the job market. Jobs are regularly moved overseas (especially manufacturing jobs). The remaining jobs require a lot more skills, and technology is out-pacing almost every other job sector. Getting a head start could give you a crucial advantage, while falling behind could hurt you.

Life is tough. Don’t make it tougher for yourself than necessary.

Copyright © Sumant Pendharkar. Sumant has a successful career in high-tech management in the Silicon Valley. This article is adapted from his book "Raising Yourself: Making The Right Choices" (for ages 10 - 18). Reprinted with permission.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 05-29-2003 - 11:46am
I disagree with the school part: You’ll have costly habits that you’ll have to unlearn (a lot harder than it sounds). You’ll have to make significant changes to your lifestyle to save money for tuition. And you might have to go into debt with school loans, while your peers are paying off theirs.

Bull! My friends who went to college have the killer debt - I took night classes and paid my way AS I WENT. And those friends did buy expensive cars and stuff the BANK owns. I bought my own place while still in my 30s. I learned the value of money and financial matters in my TEEN years. Because I had to!

This "formula" is a pretty good guideline - BUT - going to college does not guarantee expensive cars and vacation. In fact, I know ppl who have degrees and went back for another one b/c they made the wrong choice (not knowing themselves well enough at 18 to decide for the rest of their life). There are alot of assumptions about spending habits and its correlation to education, etc. I would like to see statistics cause I don't buy it.


PS: I dislike the word "should" - ppl should do what it is right for them. If you stay true to who you are, then you are being the person God made you to be. And he made you for a reason and a purpose!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 05-29-2003 - 2:56pm
Yuk!!! Everyone is entitled to their own time lines of when things are done! I didn't move out of my parents' house till age 28, after finishing law school (I am now 36)- I want kids and marriage but neither has been in the cards for me just yet, and I know plenty who followed the time line and are miserable and plenty who were so called late bloomers and are doing fabulously well. Man plans and G-d laughs. My sister finished grad school at 23, got married at 24, had four children from age 26-34 - two have special needs and her marriage is rocky - she did everything right time wise but believe me that does not guarantee happiness.