The target audience for this book is young people who are trying to choose a career. I read it as a 40-year-old, and I definitely think anyone would benefit from exploring it. In some ways, young people are under less pressure, because they are universally expected to be inexperienced, broke, and undecided. As the years go by, we are supposed to present this bulwark of competence and have everything all figured out. Underneath that veneer are the not-up-to-code wiring of Impostor Syndrome, fear of imminent mortality, and overextended financial commitments. We’ve tried various things, none of which were as fulfilling or interesting as we had hoped, and we’re pretty much convinced that we just have to deal with boredom and frustration for a living. That’s where Roadmap comes in.
The book is based on a public television series called Roadtrip Nation. The developers were a group of recent college grads who didn’t know what to do with their lives. They set out in an RV to interview various people who had created interesting jobs for themselves. These interviews in themselves were enlightening, because it had never really occurred to me that any of these roles existed.
Roadmap is a workbook. It has all sorts of exercises to help readers figure out their interests and abilities. It’s a tool for inspiring divergent thinking, which does not come naturally to everyone. What naysayers always do, (and it’s every family’s job to naysay young people in this manner), is to quickly stamp out any indication that a young person is engaging in possibility thinking. The Only Way You Can Ever Be Safe Is To Always Do Exactly The Same As Everyone Else Has Always Done. If you set out to do something different, YOU WILL BE PROMPTLY DEVOURED BY WILD BEASTS. It is known. The tragic thing is that there is no money to be made in any job where the role is to be obedient and follow instructions. Those responsibilities mean the role can be filled by anyone who will show up. That includes robots, and if they haven’t shown up yet, they’re on their way.
The real money (power, security, influence, passion) comes from offering something unique. That makes you irreplaceable. The FAT WADS OF CASH come from inventing things that never existed, such as the Internet, the smartphone, or Angry Birds. I heard a comment the other day about how silly it would be to get a degree in poetry. I said, “Oh, poetry, like Eminem and Ice T. A kid should be so lucky as to write poetry for a living!” Naysayers always have a lot of contempt for what in reality can be extremely lucrative. Underwater basket weaving? I could sell that show in Vegas.
The trick is in trying to create something from nothing. When I graduated from high school, there was no World Wide Web. There was no Google, no Wikipedia, no social media, no texting, no apps, no YouTube, no Amazon, no Netflix, no Redbox, no iRobot, no drones, no GoPro, no Kickstarter or GoFundMe or Etsy or eBay or PayPal. Entire musical genres exist now that didn’t then. There was no Zumba and no CrossFit. There was no Segway or Wii and there were no wheelies or light-up shoes. Every single one of these things (except, debatably, Wikipedia) has created tons of jobs. They also appear to be thriving. It takes a vast amount of confidence and courage to set out and create in the face of naysaying; garden-variety lack of confidence is plenty for most people. A book like Roadmap could be the catalyst for a lot of people who only need to see a little proof that something new is always possible.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.