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Career planning before and after graduation

Education pays: using high school graduates (with GED) as the baseline, this chart illustrates the percentage — above or below that baseline — median wage that can be expected depending on education attainment level. The figures are sourced from the US Census Bureau CPS 2018

Do you remember being little? All the doting relatives asking what you were going to be when you grow up. Young children are always so truthful, so sincere, and breathtakingly honest.

Some children say they want to be a diver, while others it was to be a fireman, a policeman, a truck driver, a nurse, or a ballet dancer — in the last choice, the child had never had dance lessons and was awkwardly already too tall.

Only a few adults achieve the vocation they wanted as a child, because seldom does a child state they want insurance VP, or an accountant, or a game-coder, for instance. Such choices are too intangible to grasp at an early age.

Now, let’s fast forward. Where will you be one year from now, or in three, five, or ten years’ time?

Over the years, when indicating what they want to achieve in life, students’ replies have ranged from the sublime and focused goals, to the unfocused, or somewhat ridiculous ideas that are often startling to the adults in the room.

Shouldn’t all ideas be taken seriously, though?

Isn’t this the time to learn what you can do, to explore, to push the limits, to test your determination to achieve? Most importantly, isn’t it the time to figure out who you are and grow into who you want to be?

Are you thinking of university? Perhaps, you’d rather just head straight into the work force? Will you stay, or will you return to Bermuda?

They might appear as mundane questions, but planning ahead on the cusp of your new life can be a great idea.

However, your journey must also be about:

• personal independence in thought and deed

• self-determination — you are in control of your decisions, and

• self sufficiency.

It isn’t always about the money, but finances are a big factor in upward career mobility.

Self-sufficiency is taking care of yourself in every way, including financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Self-sufficiency is about becoming a whole, stand-alone person; a real adult who can survive on their own. No more calling mummy and daddy for financial help, because they have enough to do to manage their own retirement. You have unlimited time to ascend your career path.

Self-sufficiency career decisions initially become a matter of choosing one that will pay the bills. Once you can survive financially, then start planning for your real career path to the stars.

Graduates more often than not have great intentions in one field that — surprise — morphs into another work focus that is completely unrelated, is more collaborative, more interesting, and personally rewarding.

Keep in mind that the greater and longer the learning curve, the better the chances for a rewarding financial future. The statistical lifetime earnings chart accompanying this article shows this has not changed.

Helpful research areas

Seriously planning a returning home?

1. Spend time before you leave to review the Bermuda Government’s Bermuda Job Market Employment Briefs 2017. Pages 5 to 7 list numerous occupations that employ non-Bermudians due to the acute shortage of skilled Bermudian graduates. On the list are underwriters, actuaries, mechanics, computer analysts, software engineers, pharmacists, auditors and accountants, finance professionals of all persuasions, brokers, medical personnel, marine engineers, telecommunications professionals.

2. Interview human resource firms and professionals to understand the more specific requirements needed for re-entry into the Bermuda workforce. Keep in touch with these firms.

3. Tailor your learning approach for these skills. Remember, financial independence first, then with adequate resources you can refine your career trajectory.

Some mistakes to avoid

Be careful in choosing a vocation for our Bermuda economy. Anecdotally, individuals have worked terribly hard to earn degrees abroad only to find that upon returning home there is little to no relevant positions or demand for such in Bermuda’s workforce.

Education and considering working abroad

ThinkAdvisor has a series of research articles on choosing college and university majors. It is written by Bernice Napach, a senior writer covering financial markets and asset managers, robo-advisers, college planning and retirement issues, showing:

• The 30 best paying jobs for college majors.

• The 32 worst paying jobs for college majors.

• The ten best jobs of the future.

Review them and chat about them, but place a cautionary star on all of them, because maybe, just maybe, you will want to come home to Bermuda, and the salaries are based upon US pay scales. Tailor your ambitions to the environment you will be employed within.

Finally, graduates, your wonderful new life journey will expose you to many people, from those that are singularly focused, to those that are never focused, and others drifting like leaves caught in a stream’s current. You will also likely meet some very special individuals who will become mentors and friends.

No matter your decision, what you choose to do may be the first, major transition in a long series of career evolutions. Make that choice a good one, make it the stepping stone to further accomplishments in a lifetime of goal achievements. Give each choice your absolute all.

Finally, life is never a straight line. Sometimes, veering off the beaten path and facing down severe obstacles may become the way of truth and fulfilment for you. You will get there, and you will thrive as an independent decision-maker, self-sufficient in practice, becoming the person you want to be — the role model for those following after.

Good luck and God bless you all.


• Bermuda Government Job Market Employment Briefs 2017. Link: https://tinyurl.com/y9d5dn5v

• ThinkAdvisor (best paying college majors). Link: https://tinyurl.com/y8gwhm5v

The New York Times (helping teenagers find their dreams). Link: https://tinyurl.com/yba6fbmo

The CUT (Just 6 per cent of Us Have the Jobs We Wanted As Kids). Link: https://tinyurl.com/y7h6o5sc

Martha Harris Myron CPA CFP JSM: Masters of Law — international tax and financial services. Dual citizen: Bermudian/US. Pondstraddler Life, financial perspectives for Bermuda islanders and their globally mobile connections on the Great Atlantic Pond. Finance columnist to The Royal Gazette, Bermuda. Contact: martha.myron@gmail.com