I always dreamed of being an astronaut, pilot, or anything that would get me off the Earth for a while. But because Cape Canaveral (or the Kennedy Space Center) was a bit too far off for me, the only real bet was to take up flying.

Back then, a whole industry could be built using one plane. One man, the pilot, would be responsible for fuelling, loading, inspection, planning, radioing, cleaning up and, of course, flying the plane safely back to the strip of hewed out land called a runway.

Today, a whole industry is built around the passenger or cargo. Whatever needs transporting, there’s a job waiting for someone to get behind the wheel (or yoke). Because it tends to get a little confusing as to exactly which career to focus on, a whole new era of job hunting has come to your doorstep in the form of career fairs.

Today’s career fair is sophisticated and fun to attend. It’s an event at which a promising future might await the young student, fresh out of high school and ready to go where no student has gone before, at least from his or her respective class. A place where a pay cheque can magically appear after a few short weeks of honest labour.

Back in my day, a career fair was more like a visit to the guidance councillor, who barraged you with a lot of pamphlets exhorting to attend more school, in order to get the job that everyone always wanted you to get. For some reason, there were very few doctors and lawyers, but so many who wanted to be a chief. I think that is because the prerequisites were having a large enough family to vote you in, and the academic accomplishments were secondary.

Well, flying only took a few hundred hours before someone trusted you enough with their life (and their plane, since many students I knew had no money to buy their own aircraft). So, for me, it seemed to be the best route to take in the shortest time. Little did I know that the weather played a big role in flying, since you could only fly around in nice weather.

Unfortunately for me, Mother Nature had so many snow and rain storms that flying meant trying to forecast when the best weather would come around. Then I would compete with all the other students for some plane rental time, or flight simulator time if you couldn’t get the real thing. So getting that easy license turned out to be a year of waiting and waiting on the ground for a few hours in the air.

The motto, if the training looks too easy to be true, is to look around to see how many people are actually doing that job, before jumping into spelunking or raising horses for your daily bread and butter.

I remember one person who was concerned about their present state of mind, social status and income. I told them not to worry about today, but to think of the future when they finished school and entered the career they had been working toward. Another year won’t hurt a bit, don’t quit before you finish.

Sure enough, that person took the advice and now has a hard time keeping track of all the money being made and having a harder time decided what to spend all that moolah on. Some people have just the right type of problems, eh? So, pick a career from one of those booths designed to entice you into a high-paying job, and stay in school long enough to be someone when you grow up.