Passion, Life & Your Career

26 06 2012

“Being alive is a creative process.” – Sir Ken Robinson

I had the opportunity to hear Sir Ken Robinson speak at the NACE (National Association of Colleges & Employers) Annual Conference this year.  He was quite the entertainer.  After the announcer finished introducing him by reading his bio, he came on stage and said, “I do sound quite impressive, don’t I?”  After the jokes, he brought up three points that I’d like to share with you as they relate to life and your career.  I hope you find the information as useful and inspiring as I did.

You create your life through the choices you make.

In doing this, your resume creates itself, not the other way around.  It’s up to you to build your resume throughout your life.  Just because it’s not a typical job doesn’t mean it’s not experience.  Don’t let your resume define you – you define your resume.  Seek out the knowledge required to advance your career, find a mentor, and learn all you can in your field of interest.  Step outside of your field as well.  Approach it from an enterprise-wide perspective.  Learn about other areas of business and how they work together, not just your immediate job function.

Life is not linear. 

Be ready for curveballs.  Just because you completed Step 1, doesn’t mean Step 2 is next.  This is what’s so great about life.  It gives you challenges along the way.  Nothing is perfect, nor is it predetermined.  When asked about his background and accomplishments, Sir Ken Robinson said he never planned to do any of it.  Life threw him good pitches, some curveballs, and a few wild ones.  Those little curveballs gave him the experience.  Henry Ford is credited with saying, “Error is only the opportunity to begin again, intelligently.”  Now you know what to do and what not to do, based on your experiences.

Finding your passion changes everything.

Many people never discover their true talents.  Sure, they get their jobs done, but they’re not happy.  It’s just a “job.”  Finding your passion may seem cliche’, but I can tell you this – he’s right.  It changes everything.  It’s a beautiful thing with a career and passion come together.  Work is no longer work.  You get to do what you love, and in turn, you love what you do.  Passion keeps us engaged in the workplace.  It helps us succeed.  It sparks creativity and inspires those around us who aren’t as engaged or passionate about their jobs.  Passion is something that can’t be taught.  It’s something that you find through life’s many experiences.  When you find it, you’ll know.

Lastly, he reminded us all that imagination is everything.  We need a career vision.  If we know what we want to achieve, make a few adjustments for curveballs along the way, and invest in our passion and talent, our lives emerge, evolve, making our resume look like it was planned.

What’s your career vision?


Advice from the Neighborhood

12 06 2012


I know I’ve said this before: pop culture is awesome.  Over the years, I’ve written about The A-Team, Muppets, Vanilla Ice and Smurfs.  I may be dating myself, but I’m going to go somewhere I’ve never gone before with this week’s blog post.  I’m going to the neighborhood….Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, to be exact.  Growing up, Fred Rogers was part of daily programming, next to Sesame Street.  Yep – we watched a lot of PBS and you know what?  I think it really helped me develop as an individual.  Everything from classic children’s programming like Sesame Street to more advanced (yet SO intriguing) shows like NOVA helped spark my imagination and curiosity.  I learned a very important lesson.

Last week, Mister Rogers remixed by Symphony of Science’s John D. Boswell for PBS Digital Studios was released on YouTube.  It went VIRAL.  If you like the video, please support your local PBS station:

Here’s the full video: 

The video reminded me that one should never stop learning in life.  Like Mister Rogers said, “there are so many things to learn about in this world.  It’s good to be curious.”

Here’s my challenge to you:  think BIG.  Never stop learning.  It all starts with an idea – small ideas turn into small things.  BIG ideas, no matter how audacious, keep us motivated.  Those ideas may evolve over time, but the bigger they are, the better.  Think about your future, not just the next week, month or even year.  What are the long term goals that you can achieve simply by moving a little closer each day?  Jim Collins called it the 20 Mile March in his recent book, Great by Choice (if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend that you do.)  Each day, keep consistently moving toward your goal.

Oh, and keep watching PBS.  I guarantee you’ll learn something new.  🙂

“Did you ever grow anything in the garden of your mind?” – Fred Rogers

Note: This post is simply a reflection of my personal opinion.  No compensation has been or will be received in return for a review or endorsement of product or programming. 

School’s Out…the Summer is YOURS!

5 06 2012

School’s out!

Summer is here.  Well, almost.  Even though summer doesn’t officially start until June 21, most schools are out, the weather is warm and a sense of freedom washed over the majority of students across the nation.  Remember the Alice Cooper song?  C’mon, I know you remember it.  If you don’t remember, there’s always YouTube:

Over the past two weeks, you’ve seen some great guest posts from Erin Palmer and Annie Favreau.  The timing of these posts was strategic.  To be honest, this is one of the busiest times of the year for me, so it’s nice to have a wonderful support network to provide top class job advice when I don’t have time to write.  I’m currently updating the guest blogger guidelines for Campus to Career, so please check back soon.  You’ll see a brand new tab at the top of the page that will help set the right level of expectations for a win-win partnership.

So, what’s YOUR plan for the summer?  Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your summer break:

Work a seasonal job.  The summer months bring all kinds of opportunity for hard workers.  Some of the most common seasonal jobs for summer include lifeguard, camp counselor, landscaper, and babysitter.  Think those jobs don’t matter?  Think again.  Each one can provide you with some excellent experience including personal accountability.  Not only could they be great additions to your résumé, they’re also good ways to establish your credibility.

Intern.  I wrote about this a few weeks ago.  Well, actually Vanilla Ice did.  Interning with a company can provide insight into the organization as you add value through your contributions.  Don’t get too caught up in the summer fun and games.  Even though the softball games and field trips are attractive, think about how you can transition from internship to full-time upon graduation.  Seek out a mentor for guidance on your journey.

Be a volunteer.  We all know the economy still isn’t in the greatest shape.  Internships and jobs, even seasonal jobs, are tough to come by.  Don’t be discouraged by this.  You can still gain some great experience through volunteering.  Check with local organizations to see how you can apply your skillset to help them complete their projects.  Don’t have a particular skillset?  That’s okay – most organizations welcome the help and are willing to train you to complete basic tasks.

Take a vacation.  Yes, I said it!  Summer vacations are the best.  Take some time for yourself.  Relax, unplug and rejuvenate.  Taking a vacation can be anything from spending time backpacking across Europe to simply clearing your calendar for a day or two to read that book you’ve had your eye on.  Regardless of what you do or what you don’t do, do it for YOU.  If you’re one of “those people” that like to work when you’re on vacation, check out Vocation Vacations.  You never know – you might just find your calling.

Stay positive.  This is harder than it sounds.  Surround yourself with a support network of family and friends.  Give yourself a break now and then.  Don’t get caught up with the reports that companies aren’t hiring and that there are no jobs for you.  Work your butt off, seek mentorship and guidance, and prepare yourself for success.  Oh and never stop learning (or laughing.)

I’m planning a vacation to do just what I mentioned earlier, but rest assured, Campus to Career will continue to provide you with some great content and job advice this summer.  Have a great break and as always, thanks for reading.