Leave school, go to college/university, find job in that chosen field, totter up that career ladder, receive pension, retire playing golf, making soup and joining a bridge club. This is what schools drill into us since our first times tables test, and when you don't take this path, you feel like you're on the whacky races with no guidance pit stops and a worrying lack of financial fuel.
We hear the stories of many fellow comrades who have fallen foul to that 'vampiric' institution of unpaid internships which appears to sap the elixir of life from aspirational go-getters. These people have watched The Devil Wears Prada one time too many. There's a whole corner of the internet dedicated to sharing these exaggerated cosmopolitan horror stories.
Working in retail doesn't make you uneducated or unambitious. Just because someone spends their day in a shop rather than an office, a classroom, a courtroom, a hospital, a museum, a library, or a lecture theatre doesn't mean they are incapable of working in any of these places, they have just chosen not to.
This is the age of collaboration and reciprocity. Share what you know with others: send a link to an article you have read, order a book and put it in the mail, help someone who looks like they are having an attack of shyness across the corner of a cocktail party room. Above all, be interested in ideas and others, not just yourself.
As the economy shows welcome signs of recovery, Government and businesses are waking up to the fact that digital is a key driving force behind this growth. But, in order to make the most of the digital opportunity, there must be people with the right skills and experience at the heart of our workforce.
While there's no doubt that the country has come a long way in terms of gender equality in the workplace, there are still industries where women are significantly under represented. If we look at the engineering sector, for example, only 8% of engineers in the UK are women . In fact, the UK has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe.
What I think is new now is a broader recognition that it's a question of UK competitiveness - excluding half our population from the technical skills pool and limiting our innovation to the imaginations of one narrow demographic. As well as being overwhelmingly male STEM professionals are much more likely to be white and middle class than the population as a whole.
This sounds like a flippant statement but it's not meant to be. Leaving my job to go self employed, and leaving my husband to go it alone as a single parent, were both incredibly important and emotional times in my life. Times filled with fear, doubt, uncertainty, and plenty of tears. And on recent reflection I realised that I'd gone through many of the same thoughts and feelings during each of them.
Is it ethical to let a young person go to university in the full knowledge that a degree will serve then with no hope of employment? Is it ethical to supply a student with skills and information that have no relevance to the world of work? Is it ethical let a young person to exchange their money and time for a degree that is materially worthless?