Danger Zone

danger sign

This is the question everyone lives with, every second. The real dangers occur when people don't have enough options, or no good ones.

In the jungle, that's not a good situation to be in.

if you're faced with the choice of being attacked by a lion or a tiger, you could say that the options are a bit limited, and not too great as career moves.

There are a lot of ways to wind up in that situation:

  • Lack of skills
  • Lack of income
  • No objectives
  • No planning
  • Not looking where you're going
  • Lazy
  • Not thinking
  • Distractions, when you need to concentrate
  • Overcommitted, in some way, stuck with commitments
  • Busy, but not taking care of business
  • Not looking for opportunities

These are all option-killers.

Never mind the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, this is serious.

This is where you can make or break yourself.

Get it wrong, and you can wind up poor, and poor means vulnerable in so many ways you'd never fit it into a database.

There's nothing fair, or even reasonable, about any of this.

You can throw yourself out with the garbage, if you lose the plot.

It'd be nice to say that you can always get a second chance, at your age, that things are going to work out. In practice, it's difficult, at best.

Things might work out. You might get a second chance, but don't bet on it.

Getting back on a roller coaster, while it's moving, isn't easy.

Teenagers have one serious disadvantage, built in to their age group: Things change, and they change fast. Getting lost for a few years isn't a great idea, (pity about that, isn't it?), because you're instantly, and constantly, trying to catch up. It can be done, but you have to put in a lot of effort.

You're not in control of the situation any more. It's controlling you.

Your options are that much more limited.

Add to this wonderful situation the quaint notion of having a life, and you can see that your options have also now been edited for you in advance. Your time is no longer your own.

Because this society seems to insist on mindlessly sticking whole generations on conveyor belts, putting them through a few processes, and then trying to guess what comes out at the other end, it's not a pretty sight.

It's not a very good system. Bluntly, people tend to succeed despite it, rather than because of it. If you were trying to guarantee the next generation was going to be well educated, fully employed, and productive, this definitely isn't how you'd do it. It's more like a game show where hardly anyone wins.

This time of your life is just plain risky. So don't add to the risk factors, you've already got plenty, and more if you kill your options. To be able to maneuver out of danger, you have to have somewhere to go.

So any kind of options you can create for yourself, in terms of where you want your life to go, are a form of self defence, as much as common sense.

What explorers need, when confronted with problems getting to their destinations, are alternatives.

You don't just need a Plan B, you need Plans C-Z, if you can do that.

Start with a bit of pessimism/realism:

  • What if something doesn't work out?
  • What if you can't do that course, for whatever reason?
  • What if the costs go nuts?
  • What if I flunk something, and have to do it again?
  • What if the world ends?

See how obvious all this stuff is, in theory, but how much of it is the sort of thing you're more likely to realize after it happens?

That's another danger. People usually work on the assumption that things will go right, not wrong.

They count on things going right.

That's a kind of over-commitment. Of all the things listed above, that's one of the most dangerous.

You can avoid fatal overconfidence by staying realistic, covering yourself, and checking out where else you can go with what you've got.

Say a degree course fouls up, right in the middle.

You got great passes in some things, and a couple of the electives, but crashed on a couple of essentials:

End of the world?

No, although it might feel like it.

A few options:

  • You can salvage what you have achieved, use it to remodel your career path.
  • You can back out of the situation before it gets any worse, and redesign your whole idea.
  • You can get credits in other courses.
  • You can definitely get some assistance. Colleges don't want to lose paying clients. It's in their interests to put you back on the rails.
  • (Another thing you might want to look at here is whether you picked the right option in the first place. Options are things which are workable.)

    One final example:

    If you see a minefield, one of the options is not to go through the minefield.

    complex maze of life

    Here's another view, from our website.