I got a text message from a friend who I have only spoken to maybe twice in the last three years. The text didn’t actually say anything — it was just a link to a TikTok video posted by @HVAC World. The video is narrated by the same voice that narrates every TikTok video I’ve ever seen and shows a discouraged man sitting in an empty classroom. The overused voice talks about how her boss was excited all week to give a presentation for career day at a local high school. The man was going to talk about all of the wonderful reasons to choose HVAC, but no one came to hear what he had to say.

Now, I don’t believe anything that TikTok girl has to say, so I don’t actually think there was a man sitting alone in a classroom during career day at this particular Oklahoma high school. I think it was scripted and posted to prove a point about how parents, teachers, and guidance counselors brainwash high schoolers into thinking they have to get a four-year degree. I say this because they used #HVACtech.

But, here’s the thing … I was in high school once. I had parents, teachers, other people’s parents, my friends, etc., all telling me I should be an engineer. Pushing me. Urging me. Convincing me why it was the best choice for me. And, no matter what they said, I said no.

Now, I know peer pressure can be real. But, when someone is passionate about something and they really want it, they tend not to care what other people say.

I said no to engineering because I wanted to be a writer. But, I also said no to engineering because no one ever talked about engineering in a fun and interesting way to me before. Maybe if they had, I would have wanted that more than I wanted to be a writer. Who knows?

So, you see, it doesn’t matter what is going on in the high schools across America. It doesn’t matter what anyone’s parents are telling them to do. What matters is what you’re doing.

Are you sharing statistics about the promising career of HVAC engineering? Or are you sharing stories about the projects and solutions you’ve been lucky enough to be a part of? The way you design your story and how you choose to share it can either leave people bored or inspired — you choose.