LAW ADVOCACY FAMILY FINANCE A monthly newsletter providing your family with insight about the law and finance (with an occasional dose of humor) from your friends and advocates at DuPont Wealth Solutions and the Law Offices of DuPont and Blumenstiel.
WHEN I GROW UP
May as well not beat around the bush — I turned 53 last month. It seems like just yesterday that I was a 15-year-old boy with dreams of becoming an astronaut, an architech, engineer, and just about everything in between. Now I’m a father to a teenager who’s in the midst of planning out her own future. Unlike my younger self, however, my daughter Sophie has a laser focus on what she wants — at least as much as a 16 year old can. Sophie has her heart set on becoming a physical therapist, and I fully support her. What concerns me is not her certainty about a profession but rather the uncertainty of the world. At Sophie’s age, I struggled to answer the question, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” I now find myself asking, “What jobs will be availble for her when she grows up?” The advances in automation and digitization these past few decades have already pushed so many professions that were once considered “stable” and “high-paying” to the margins. Coming from a family of pharmacists, I’ve seen how online orders have relegated a once-proud medical profession to the back aisles of overstuffed, big-box stores. As my daughter looks to potentially make an eight-year commitment to learning physical “PEOPLE AROUND MY
opposite of what I faced at her age. While I was uncertain of my future during the relatively stable 1980s, my daughter has to temper her convictions against the uncertainty of the information age. One thing is certain: We are both products of our time. People around my age straddle the line between Baby Boomer optimism and Generation X cynicism. We were old enough to be awestruck by Neil Armstrong stepping onto the moon and young enough to be shaken to our core as Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated over Cape Canaveral. We held on to the conviction that an education and hard work could get us where we wanted to go in life, but the stars felt very, very far away. As a boy who’d dreamed of space travel only to find out I was too tall for a cockpit, I was especially listless. Drifting from inspiration to inspiration, I made a future for myself. If something failed to challenge me creatively, I moved on. Now that I have spent the last 25 plus years trying to answer the question of what I want to do when I grow up, I find myself fortunate enough to be able to say, exactly what I am doing. Sure, the technical changes and seemingly endless learning opportunities are parts of the job that keep me interested and challenged. But I have found that the single biggest reason that I am now able to unequivocally say that I am doing what I’ve always wanted to do is the human-connection side of things, not the technical. For a guy who was technical and science oriented, this has been quite an eye-opener. Fortunately for me, technology has no replacement for this kind of connection. But as for Sophie and what she will be doing when she turns 53, maybe she will be a physical therapist on a cruise spaceship heading to Mars.
AGE STRADDLE THE LINE BETWEEN BABY BOOMER OPTIMISM AND GENERATION X CYNICISM.”
therapy, one can’t help but wonder if that industry will suffer a similar fate.
Now my daughter is grappling with the commitment before her, a challenge that is the polar
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