Dear Jeff: A letter to my 16-year-old self | NCFE

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Dear Jeff: A letter to my 16-year-old self

Jeff Davies Jeff Davies Customer Support Advisor, NCFE

As Youth Employment Week approaches, we invited our colleagues to reflect on the advice they would have valued as young people embarking on their careers. Here, from the view of his 60s, Customer Support Advisor Jeff Davies shares some words of wisdom and encouragement to his younger self. 

Dear Jeff, 

You don’t know me yet, as I know you hardly know yourself.  

You’ve joined the army and I know you have questions. Loads of questions. You were at a fork in the road. Join the army and follow a long family tradition or be the first member of our family to go to university.  Is there a right path? 

You have courage in spadefuls and think you are invincible. However, you know you are vulnerable as a young gay man, and your chosen path is not welcoming. But you will blossom. There will be amazing times when you can be you and the experiences you are going to have will blow your mind. In a few years, the world is really going to change.  

You are you. You’re going to love and be loved. You’re going to like and be disliked, but it is not selfish to take care of yourself first. Speak when it makes a difference and stay quiet when it makes sense.  

Don’t be afraid of failure. Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from succeeding and don’t let those who may fear you dim your enthusiasm. You are curious. Questions will get you answers. 

Be you and know your worth. Pay attention to your health and finances. Having cheques left at the end of the month does not mean you have money left to spend.  

It is not your job to make everyone around you happy, kind or fulfilled. That is their life and do not sacrifice your health or happiness for success.  

Right now, you are being shouted at by strangers and learning some amazing skills (some of which you will still be using in your 60s). But remember, this is your life. Be yourself and follow your own dreams, not the dreams of others. Learn to mediate and be present in the lives of those you hold dear. Sometimes it is too late.  

At 16, you probably don’t think you’ll ever get old, but the good news is there are robust genes in the family!  

Trust that you know what is right. You are blessed with the family moral compass.  

There is so much more I could share, but you know that you will be more than OK, more than enough. You will shine.  

Life is going to be fun. Trust me. You’re going to see the world and the challenges that come with that.  

In the words of RuPaul (a famous drag queen), "If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?"


Future Jeff 

To learn more about Youth Employment Week, visit our dedicated webpage. To find out more about current career opportunities at NCFE, visit our Careers page.

Don’t be afraid of failure. Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from succeeding and don’t let those who may fear you dim your enthusiasm. 

Jeff Davies, Customer Support Advisor

Jff Davies now

Pictured above: Jeff then and now 


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