Too Late? Never!

I was taking a noontime walk earlier this week, when I encountered this sign on the side of a bus stop shelter. Too late?  Too late for job training after 24?

How late is too late?
How late is too late?

Of course, many of you know that Job Corps is a program aimed at providing job training for the 16-24 group. A way to provide them skills that will give them more opportunity. The message is to motivate them if they haven’t really made the leap into skill-based employment.

But it did get me to thinking about when is it too late to do something different, something new. After all, I’ve had three different careers (so far) that are related only in the nature of the consumer products involved. If someone asked me today about what college education they should pursue to enter my current career, I don’t suppose I would recommend they start where I did and get an engineering degree.

I wasn’t trained for my current role as much as I was trained to problem solve as an engineer. That’s the skill, the practice, that is a consistent thread. It’s what most of us do, really. We just all have different approaches.

There are those that problem solve via formula or model. Collect the facts, put them in the model, and see what comes out. They investigate via formula, they process data via formula, and they update their formulas when required.

There are others who rely on their experience, their intuition to problem solve. They have collected enough data and solved enough problems in their experience that nothing is new to them anymore. They have a library of solutions that they apply as needed. Somewhat formula based, but adjusted for real world.

Then there are those that can rely on that, but still start with the clean slate. Investigate the problem the way you know, but then get input from someone with different experience to add to your skills. Don’t move to conclusion too fast. Incubate. Think about how you have solved similar situations in the past, but also look at what is unique about this one that might allow for or require a new solution. Maybe a simpler one.

Every day is training day. It’s never too late.

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