Being the Dad of a Grad
June 22, 2015 § 2 Comments
Thirty-three years ago, I received my Diploma in Communications and Certificate in Journalism from what is now Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Richmond, B.C. Earlier this month, it was my turn to watch our son graduate from Okanagan College in Kelowna.
While it’s a milestone in our family to watch our only child take those next steps toward launching a career, thousands of other parents go through the same experience every year.
Countless other dads get to show their sons how to do a Windsor knot in a tie this year.
However, what I found remarkable was that all the speakers stepped to the podium combining to deliver essentially the same message I’ve already been sharing with young people – that youth today have more opportunities than ever before.
When I graduated to pursue work in journalism, you could find employment in print, television and radio.
I determined that I had a face for radio but not the voice and that sports writing was what I really wanted to do when I began my career.
In today’s world, you can specialize in social media and there are other numerous other niches such as green marketing. You can author copy in Canada about events in another country without stepping foot in that nation.
The range of other communications jobs that have emerged since my own graduation includes web content production and creating podcasts.
Even blogs were not yet a thing when I entered the workforce. Yes, there was life before the Internet.
And as graduates were reminded, jobs have been invented even since they began their college careers.
Pursuing a Writing and Publishing diploma wasn’t Peter’s first post-secondary choice. After trying a couple of terms at college, he decided to work in retail and construction before determining what he really wanted to pursue.
While Peter will be working in communications, something I can relate to, it’s much more important to me that he’s passionate about whatever he does.
I’m fond of the Confucius quote, “Find a job that you love and you’ll never work another day in your life.”
If I’ve inspired Peter and other young people about anything, it’s to find enjoyment in their employment and to think of what they do as more than a job.
That doesn’t mean being a workaholic – I’ve been called that – it’s more about considering what you’re doing fitting into the bigger picture, either for your current workplace or future opportunities.
I cringe when I hear people say they are bored or stuck in a rut at work. Even in a less predictable economy, we should still be masters of our own destiny.
That’s why the words of Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton, in particular, resonated with me. His key messages were:
Be present in all that you do. Take the time to engage with those around you – the best ideas are born of collaboration.
Be intentional about how you spend your time and about the work you choose to do. Follow your instincts and find a career and a life that aligns with your values – engage in work that is personally meaningful to you.
Give back. Use the skills you have acquired to transform yourself and your community.
Okanagan College graduates were told that most people will work in several careers in their working years.
A continuum of jobs has contributed to one career for me.
I began in journalism, moved on to corporate writing and editing, operated my own communications business, then returned to the public sector, first as a communications officer and now as a manager.
Okanagan College graduates would be wise to follow Mr. Hamilton’s advice.
Some sage words they might also heed come from the late Peter Drucker, management consultant, educator and author.
He once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
Son Peter will go as far as his ambition takes him. I wish him and all graduates much success in the next chapters of their lives.