Saturday, June 18, 2011
Your Career and You: "Where's My Gold Star?"
I went down to Curry College for our annual staff/faculty barbecue and awards ceremony. Always a ton of fun...it's great to see hard-working, dedicated people getting well-deserved recognition for their contributions to our success.
While gnawing on a very well-done hamburger, I had a chance to chat with a new employee who just a few short years ago was (and still is!) one of my "rising stars." Filled with ideas; eager to make her mark. And she will. Of that, I am confident.
She made an interesting comment, though (which I will paraphrase), about some of her classmates...young professionals now...that really got me thinking about the challenges we, as educators or mentors or parents or bosses, face in the workplace today.
"A lot of my friends...people I graduated with...are disappointed with where they are [in terms of jobs/job titles, etc.]. They thought they would be directors of programs and doing higher-level work than they actually are."
You might ask, rightfully so, "How long have they been graduated?"
To which I respond, "Three years."
Three years..."directors of programs"...
Now, before you start throwing rocks at me, bear in mind that I'm the guy who worked for the US Army Recruiting Command back when we told young people to "Be all you can be."
I believe with all my heart in the ability of many of my students at Curry, where I oversee the Public Relations Concentration and teach most of the PR courses, as well as at Regis College, where I teach graduate Communication courses, to become genuine superstars.
Of course they can. They've made it this far, haven't they? They're doing well in classes. They're mega-involved in on- and off-campus activities. They're completing two, three, four internships.
But there's more to it than this, and, somewhere along the way, someone, somewhere failed to mention it along with the gut-wrenching difficulties of job hunting anyway.
It's called "earning your stripes" to use some military jargon. Prove to me you know what you're doing. Show me you've got staying power. Make a difference.
If you do all this...in time...you will move up in the ranks. You will be given more responsibility.
But you don't get a gold star just for showing up.
You have to work for it. You have to earn it.
It's that simple...and that difficult. It's called "life."
"Never were abilities so much below mediocrity so well rewarded; no, not when Caligula's horse was made Consul." ~ John Randolph, Speech [February 1, 1828]