Aug 25, 2011

The Path Not Traveled

Phil Kanet, University of Cincinnati Alum and University of Cincinnati Foundation Director of Communication, recently reflected on his life and experiences at UC.

A recent birthday found me reflecting on where things stand in my life – career, family, etc. All those questions about where the 35-year-old me stacks up against what the 20-year-old me figured I would be doing and even what the world looked like then versus now.

At some point along that stream of contemplation, I remembered a very specific piece of career advice that one of my professors at UC divvied out. It was my senior year and I had a healthy amount of electives to fill out my graduation credit requirements. The topic of copyright law came up, specifically as it related to the music industry that was just starting to see the effects of file sharing, streaming and online piracy. His advice envisioned the future of music in holograms --- that is, multi-dimensional performances right in the comfort of one’s living room. See also Star Wars or Trek.

His specific advice? “If you’re currently sitting there wondering what to do with your career, go to law school and specialize in hologram copyright law – you’ll make a ton of money!” While I otherwise have enormous respect for this professor (who shall remain nameless) and must acknowledge that we do live in a world where 3-D televisions for the home are only a trip to Best Buy away – I think it’s safe to assume this professor’s last name wasn’t Nostradamus.

Sure, it’s human nature to wish we would have taken a few different steps along the way. But at least I didn’t latch on to that advice and incur the expense of a law degree only to sit here 15 years later and wonder why I’m not sitting on a pot of gold via trekky projections of Lady GaGa falling off her piano or Caleb Followill melting down.

Can anyone else top this tale of misinformed career advice? What about the opposite? Did you have a professor give you spot-on career advice you wish you would have followed in hindsight?

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