career day talk, year two

career day talk, year two

I was invited to speak at Robious Middle School in Virginia again for their Career Day this week:

Career Day talk

Robious Middle School

(I’m sandwiched between a funny sales guy, a high-energy teacher, and a sweet and sassy fire marshall. Not bad company for a Wednesday lunch:) We were just a few of the 30+ speakers on hand.)

The thought that kids who are between 12-14 years old might think I am the slightest bit cool is pretty great. (Let’s just assume they did.) It was a blast and honor to be at this school. Funny though, I found that once again, more adults (teachers and administrators) thought I was cool, than the kids did. I love having conversations with parents or teachers who say “I want to do what you did/are doing!” or “Um…do you mind if my daughter/son calls or writes to you?”

Um- yes please! Call me! Write me! Send a bird!

One particular teacher this week (who happened to be a writing teacher) was a welcomed and helpful force in my room of 25 antsy kids as I was on my soapbox. She occasionally piped in with something like; “Listen to that kids? Passion! That’s what makes you great at a career! That’s what we talk about all the time.” She was fantastic, she got it, and I am thrilled to know there are still teachers like her out there. After my talk was done, she came up to me and asked if I minded if her 25 year old daughter contacted me. Of course! I’ve heard time and time again from parents of 20-somethings, that they have these super smart and driven young adult children who “just don’t know what they want to do.”

Rest assured supportive, yet concerned parents; This “no idea what to do” is a positive big deal: Your 20-something has officially stepped out of the American Drone Zone. (Wahoo!) They’ve jumped off the gerbil wheel that’s labeled “This is what you do now.” They’ve taken a plunge into a pool that’s full of maybe a tad bit scared but actually really excited fellow troops, who are proclaiming; I don’t know exactly where I want to go/what I want to quite yet, but I know one thing for sure and the automated have-to life is not for me! 

Your kid will be fine. In fact- better than fine. They can think for themselves, they value their happiness, and they don’t want to be like everyone else. That is totally awesome. They will figure it out and be better in the long run for jumping ship into their own ocean.

Some advice I gave the middle schoolers. Can be applied to all humans:

1.) Concentrate on what you’re good at, not what you suck at: Challenge yourself to try things that are hard for you, but if you genuinely don’t like something, if you pretty much still stink at it even though you’ve tried and tried- walk away and focus on your greatness. You will become a master and the opportunities are endless. In short: Stay in your lane. 

2.) Stay top of mind; Keep showing up. Want a job at that place that isn’t hiring? Want to learn from that person or company you think is the bomb? Tell the company why you’d be the best ever at that job. Tell the person you admire why you think they are awesome and why they inspire you. Send a resume, send a video, send a chicken, send flowers, send a note, send yourself showing up at the door waving and smiling. I promise as soon as there is the need for a hire or room for an intern- they will think of you first. In short: “They” will find it impossible not to love you and want you around. 

3.) Never be afraid to ask: Those who ask shall receive. I was mortified as a kid when my grandmother shoo’d me up to various counters asking if the store would still honor an expired coupon, or if they offered any discounts. Embarrassment central when you’re 8 or 10 years old, but you know what? – nearly every single time, I was met with a “Sure! We can do X,Y,Z” response. Just speak up; when you stand up you stand out. In short: You get what you ask for. Seriously. 

Here’s to encouraging ship jumpers! I can’t wait to keep doing it again, and often

What advice do you give?

#DoWhatYouLove #ShipJumpersUnite #CareerDay

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