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Schools out where to from now?

Decisions, decisions! It sure can suck being grown up when it comes to making your mind up in what to do now that you have left school.

The period in your life when you can either set yourself up for the future or take a step back and rethink what you want to do with your life.

I get heaps of emails in regards to jobs in the surf industry or how do I learn to shape so I can start my own surfboard business.

The truth of the matter is not a lot of jobs pop up in the surfing industry and usually when they do they are filled from within the company at times.

It makes sense for some of the larger companys to employ an individual who already knows how the working of the organisation runs.

You might know a friend who started off packing boxes or tagging garments at one of the large companies and is now in a high paid position either as a sales rep, managing the wharehouse or even helping out in the graphic arts department.

Jobs do not come to you, you have to make them happen.

At the moment the surf industry has a shortage of graphic artists, accountants and staff with managerial skills.

There is not a shortage of shapers, which at the moment are in abundance and I' m talking real shaper not the few so called shapers who buy a couple of pre shapes (that are generally designed from a renown shaper) whack some rails on them and then call themselves a shaper and sign the board with their name (this does not apply to individuals who use their own pre shape designs when manafacturing).

Thanks to a few redneck back yarders, a shaper is still getting paid the same price for a shape he/she was getting paid about 15 years ago ($70 to $100). Why? Because they sell the boards so cheap they have not only stuffed the sale price up for themselves, but also for the other reputable shapers in the industry.

While most shapers start off in their backyard generally after a year they have set themselves up in a factory, but with some, they still continue to sell their boards cheap, because the people or friends they have been selling them to in the past keep returning for the cheap deal. Then when they try to put their prices up to cover their costs, their past clientele do not want to pay the extra.

The surfboard manufacturing industry has a shortage of quality glassers, sanders, air brush/board graphic artists and ding repairers at the moment, not shapers.

The same goes for surf photography and some say photography in general with the advent of the digital cameras, there is an abundance of so called photographers with their "auto focus point and shoot" gear that have seen photography become cut throat and to the point of now being ridiculous. Kodak Eastman laid off around 600 workers from their company in Melbourne last month with the direct blame on the digital market. Most surf companys have their own photographer that they use or ones that are well renown in the surf industry with years of experience. Sure there have been a few new names pop up, because of a couple of lucky shots or being in the right place at the right time, but where are they now?

So schools out and where to from now? Well if you have done your TEE and received some good marks (and if you haven't you can always do an Adult entry exam when you are 21), my suggestion is University, but chose your course wisely.

There are a lot of new courses available at the moment with heaps of different units in them, that some are finding out were not a good choice for future job prospects.

You basically come out being a "jack of all trades and master of none" and to some employers, they are usually not interested in this type of person.

To me if you surf, value for money and time to surf in your chosen job is a good bloody thing to think about.

My suggestion is if you want heaps of time off to go surfing, go onto uni get all the uni holidays, then become a teacher. You can not go past teaching. Why? Well tell me what other job do you get so many holidays in?

A normal job only gives you about 4 weeks off a year for your holidays, plus about 12 days sick leave and on top of that a few public holidays.

Teaching gives you around twelve weeks off a year, but take into consideration that preparation, planning and course structuring is sometimes done during this period or outside of normal working hours.

To some the pay is not enough and to others it is. Some teachers who have been in for 25 to 30 years are still only earning $65, 000 a year and those who choose to continue to better themselves with extra degrees not being recognized for their achievements, I'm not going to get into the political side of things here, so you work it out for yourself. But to me, if you surf, lifestyle is important.

Sure it might be a little bit of hard slog getting your degree, but if you like working with children, like going surfing and maybe throw in a bit of travel with some new work locations in the country, then Teaching maybe for you. You may also want to take into consideration that the fastest growing areas/suburbs are along our coastline, so your chances of scoring a job near the beach are pretty damn good.

Teaching is one of a few degrees that might be able to help you find the balance between your lifestyle of surfing and working or look into something else that will offer you the surfing lifestyle you want, but just make sure if you are doing a course or degree that at the end of it there will be some jobs around for you.

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