The Process of Metamorphosis: From Our Little University Dream to Reality – Michael Chan, CTE Co-op Student

There is nothing more fundamental in the progress of life than the people you care about. Originally, my plan for the future was to study hard in school, get my degree, probably go on to get a masters, work for a company for 4-5 years, and then start my own business. A typical plan previous generations followed which has worked out pretty well for them. Recently, as I sat in the office working away I realized the outcome of my future. Although this job is fantastic and a great, interesting experience, I came to terms with reality. Unlike the previous generations which were able to get by in life from my original plan, the stakes for our generation are different. As I hear lots of my friends say job security is an important factor for them, which is why we are all in university now and studying to get a competitive edge against others, I wonder to myself, is there truly such thing as job security? Even if you work for a large corporation such as General Motors, if it ever goes bankrupt, there goes your job. My guidance counsellor in high school said to me down straight that I would probably be switching between 5-6 jobs in the future. How is it possible then that I can receive a stable income, support for my family, buy a house, pay a rent, pay a OSAP, buy a car, save for retirement and live the dream that I always wanted to after I get my degree from university? The truth is that just from following my original plan, I can’t! The average salary for a family doctor is around $100,000 a year. After you pay taxes (income tax, property tax), rent, OSAP, car insurance, and probably an RRSP, you won’t be left with a lot for you and your family to get by in a year. Where is my mansion? Where is my fancy Mercedes? Where is my around the world vacation? Aren’t these things what we all work for when going to university, not just for ourselves, but for our parents so they could have a better life? I am scared. I am scared to be helpless, helpless to myself, helpless to my parents, and fearing the day when I cannot work anymore but have not collected enough money to retire. Who’s going to help me then, the government? They are probably going to run out of money after the baby boomers all retire. How about us you say? Well we are on our own since the greater good has already been satisfied. We need a way out! Whether it is working towards improving ourselves through external training such as the Centre for Teaching Excellence, or the start of a business with a group of friends, we need to define ourselves from the rest of the population. We need a competitive edge against all others. We need to be able to go to work because we enjoy it and not because we are forced. The question is not to say that you cannot achieve this but how can I achieve this. If we start looking at things not in the perspective of impossibility but in the perspective of a step by step process, we would end up a lot closer to the impossible ideals than if we stayed where we are and just agree with the impossibility.

I learned from economics there is a structure of four quadrants in this world: E/S/B/I. “E” stands for employee, a place where school teaches us to become in the future. These include accountants, doctors, lawyers, etc. and no matter how much they are making, they are working for somebody else and therefore their boss will mostly always make more than them. This is what I call working for someone else’s success. The “S” stands for self employed. These are people such as those in malls with their own store and selling things. THIS IS NOT A BUSINESS. Self employed are those who make money from the amount of time they put into their work. It is when if the one person is removed from the store, the store will stop making money and therefore no income is generated. “B” stands for business. “B” is where the rich of the rich are in this world, where people such as Bill Gates stand above the rest of the population. A business is a system that can generate income independent of the person’s time. Bill Gates doesn’t have to be there for Microsoft to make money and keep on improving. Finally, “I” stands for investor. This is where people like Warren Buffet sit as they accumulate wealth on assets that appreciate. The “B” and “I” quadrants are where you want to be. When people say they want to find a better job they are going about it all wrong. What you want to do is not change jobs, but to change quadrants. However, we are taught in school to work for the rich and stay in the “E” quadrant. All in all, in order to succeed, we need to forget the single minded perspective that we’ve accumulated over time, stay open minded and revisit this world in a whole new perspective.

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