What would I be doing?

Written by Michael Lee on September 19, 2016

Ever thought of what you’d be doing as a profession if current day technologies didn’t exist? —Kevin Anderson

My friend, Kevin Anderson asked this on his Twitter today and it made me wonder, if the web didn’t exist or computers didn’t exist, what would I be doing as a profession?

Growing up, I remember when people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would respond with marine biologist. I had a fascination with turtles of all shapes and forms, especially sea turtles. I remember once in grade-school science class we watched a video on sea turtles and I knew right then and there I wanted to swim with the turtles.

Now I don’t know if actually becoming a marine biologist affords you with the opportunities to swim with sea turtles but being able to see all those really neat sea animals and live on islands intrigued my curiosity. So why didn’t I grow up to be a marine biologist now and instead became a programmer?

I remember sitting in the back of my dad’s van with my childhood buddy. And my dad asked my friend, what he wanted to be when he grew up. My friend responded with wanting to become an engineer and going to MIT. He said engineers make tons of money. I shared with my friend that I wanted to become a marine biologist and he said they don’t make much money. Oh.

So from that point on I decided like my friend, I’d become an engineer. Money aside, one of the more practical reasons as to why I didn’t become a marine biologist was, I’m scared of the deep sea. To this day when I go to the beach, I don’t dare venture to far out from the coast cause I just don’t know what’s below the water. That would be kind of funny, a marine biologist that was scared of the ocean.

Unlike my friend, I did end up going to school for computer engineering and absolutely hated it. I dropped out a couple of years into the program and went the complete opposite route and into computer animation. Which didn’t last long either, so when trying to think about my next steps, I thought about the sparks of joy I got when learning Java back when I was in engineering school. Seeing your code finally run gives you such a rush so I decided to pursue becoming a programmer.

Being the creative type, I loved the fact that I could take my imagination and use the raw materials of code and create things. But going back to Kevin’s question, if current day tech didn’t exist, what would I be doing now?

I don’t think I’d go out and become a marine biologist, but I think I would be doing something that required working with my hands. Probably something that had to do with making physical products and scaling wasn’t that easy. I think I’d be interested in making handmade toys or perhaps paper-based products like notebooks.

I’m intrigued by a person being able to use their craft and work on something over a period of time to eventually have a tangible product. Something about the imperfections of a handmade product that is of low production quantity by a single maker interests me. Perhaps one day in the future I’ll pull the technology plug and do this. Or perhaps making handmade goods will become my side projects.

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