Emerging: Karen Storey

Young people facing an uncertain economic future need authentic role models to inspire them to achieve more than their forebears.  Karen Storey is one such role model, as an article in the influential magazine Wonderland testifies.

As ever it is the back story which is most relevant to the challenges that her peers face, in this case of humility and deliberate choices made to fully leverage a passion in the early years after graduating.

In this case it meant eschewing the accepted model of trying (and often failing) to fit a passion into tired evenings and weekends, against the framework of a low-paid 9-5 job.  Instead it involved Karen in spending her waking weekdays and weekends building a diverse range of relevant experience, through personal projects, internships and the support of others, despite the uncertain and often non-existent income that accompanied it.

The journey is clearly not for the faint of heart and the lows have been deep and numerous, but then when was life ever a straightforward proposition?  The early years for most are typified by low pay and of striving for recognition: how refreshing to deliberately spend that time pursuing a passion that could lead to a working lifetime of stimulation and fascination.

Though not yet 25, Karen has probably already clocked up most of the 10,000 hours of hard-earned purposeful practice that Malcolm Gladwell suggests is required to become a world class expert in a given field.

But this is not simply about Karen.  Rather it is her approach to work that helps to show other young people that there are worthwhile alternatives to low-paid, dead-end jobs.  That really is a refreshing image.

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