Ah, Career Day at High School.

henry silverwood drawing

Yes, the day when we go talk for twenty minutes on a topic that spans much of a person’s lifetime.

I actually love doing these. I remember when people came and dropped little wisdoms in my school days and how I kind of hung on to them and they helped me later when I least expected it. So I don’t worry too much about creating some magical experience. My main role is to be a real human, doing real things, and sharing space for a minute.

I am listed as “sci fi author and cartoonist,” so the kids who sign up for my sessions are often wonderful, cerebral, quiet kids with a lot on their minds.

They are exactly who the education system these days kind of doesn’t like.

In the past, it was about being fuzzy or techie. Left or right brain-ed. If you did “real” things you were a techie. You studied engineering or medicine or law. You were going places, man.

If you were fuzzy, you didn’t really learn anything. Supposedly.

I’m not kidding.

So of course that pissed me off and I proceeded to go have five or six careers totally predicated on creative thought. The fuzzy techie thing was just plain stupid.

Now I see a different duality: the introvert/extrovert one. newfangled edumacation paradigms like to reward group work, participation, loudness. Raising your hand. Being extroverted.

My Career Day rooms are full of the opposite. And you know what, big giant inventions have often happened because a person went off and spent a lot of time alone thinking about something. The bicycle and flight to name a couple.

There’s the girl who stays after to ask me about characters she’s creating. I tell her, fill in the details, write a day in the life. Figure out your character’s favorite foods, TV shows. It’s a lovely conversation.

Later there will be emails with Deep Questions. I love those too. Again, not gonna happen in the room. But those gears are turning, man.

So yeah, Steve Jobs wannabes, go for it. But can we stop creating these stupid dualities and emphasizing one over the other? What is that? We need winners and losers? We just can’t figure out there are different answers?

Barf.

Here is a wee video of me drawing my portrait of the quiet thinking artist person. In other words, most of the people I talk to at Career Day. Rock on, you fabulous people.