Monday, March 12, 2012
Your Career and You: "The Future...It's Here...Now"
This is that glorious time of the year when birds are chirping outside my window and students are doing meltdowns in my office at Curry College, where I tinker with the Public Relations Concentration and teach most of the PR courses.
It’s that wonderful time when the first flower buds peek tentatively toward the sunny sky,...
...and a look of total panic gleams in the eyes of seniors facing the grim reality that, in spite of their best efforts, they are facing the end of life as they’ve known it for four-ish years and graduation is upon them.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the first or only person to say this, but that’s the thing about the future. Sooner or later…it turns into today.
(Cue bloodcurdling wails.)
It’s not just you students who hit this unavoidable wall. I accidentally read my driver’s license the other day, did the math, and concluded that I’m officially and inescapably a “senior citizen.”
Totally unfair. I’m too young to be old. Don’t have time for it. But it’s here…now.
The problem is, I don’t really know what I want to do when I grow up. I had a ball for some 40 years working in public relations for various organizations in various and sundry mundane and exotic locations.
And I’ve been as happy as a pig in mud (little Southernism there!) for the past 10-ish years teaching both undergraduate and graduate public relations courses to up-and-coming generations of practitioners.
But…like many of my students (not all, mind you…some of them are frighteningly organized and prepared)...I’m still trying to figure out what’s next. “What will the next phase of my life bring?”
This is where it gets tricky. I’d like to just continue doing what I’m doing. But my professional self says I should get out of the way and let someone else….someone earlier in his or her career…take the reins. Bring fresher ideas and fresher experience into the classroom.
But, to quote my ever-despairing students, “I don’t want to graduate yet. I’m not ready!”
All the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle of life aren’t in place yet. Or so you might think.
This is where we get serious.
You are ready. You just don’t realize it yet.
The pieces are there. You just haven’t figured out how each piece fits with its counterparts to complete the picture.
This is where I, and my other professional colleagues, come in.
Talk to us, for heaven’s sake! Ask us how we got where we are today. Ask us what we wish we had known when we started out. Ask us…!
I’ve been invited to talk to the First-Year Honors Students at Curry after spring break. My plan is to tell them just what I suggested above. How I got where I am today. What I wish I had known or had access to earlier in my career as well as while I was in college. What I would do differently knowing what I know today.
And I will share my boundless optimism for their future.
The resources available to students are mind-boggling:
· Career Services offices are ready and eager to provide advice, suggestions, recommendations…job opportunities.
· Faculty advisors can share personal experiences and professional connections.
· Local and national associations (the Public Relations Society of America, for example, as well as the Boston Chapter, PRSA) have professional and job-search resources.
Take advantage of all these options. I did.
The future is a world limited by ourselves; in it we discover only what concerns us and, sometimes, by chance, what interests those whom we love the most." - Maurice Maeterlinck, Joyzelle, Act i