Whether you are going to university or into the job market I hope you'll set out to 'earn and learn' throughout a career that will be all the more rewarding if you do. The retail industry is a good place to do that. It is often a first job for many school leavers and it's a fulfilling place to build a career, providing a lifetime of learning and opportunities.
I think it is fair to say I have an adventurous streak. I have hitchhiked and used local transport to cross West Africa and the Sahara Desert, via Timbuktu to Morocco; snow-boarded in the Himalayas; kayaked the White Nile; started an on-going volunteer project in Uganda and also driven a taxi around the world!
It is also good to talk to your family and friends who will, I hope, give you an honest assessment of you as you are today. This is not always easy, but at the same time will show courage, humility and integrity. This may, in turn, be guided by what you have achieved in your schooling and early life.
Remember the next time you walk past a person sitting in a shop doorway that he or she isn't sitting there in the wind and rain as a lifestyle choice. They are there because something went wrong in their life and they are struggling to deal with it. They are someone's son, daughter, mother, brother or father. They could be yours!
Nigel is a veteran and pioneer of social enterprise and social finance; in fact, he was working in these spaces well before they even had names. He is the Chairman of The Big Issue, a social enterprise founded in 1991 enabling homeless individuals in the UK to earn a living, and the CEO of Big Issue Invest, a social investment business founded in 2005 that provides finance to social enterprises.
All too quickly those childhood dreams and aspirations ebbed away as the responsibilities of your first mortgage, meeting your partner, marriage, children, a bigger house and simply staying afloat rapidly took centre stage. And before you knew it, there you were, slap bang in the middle of the rat race.