I went to college for all the wrong reasons. You know, the reasons that lead some people to become basket weaving majors.
Or metalsmithing majors.
Or religion majors.
I went to college for a challenge, for the love of learning, for the exploration of mature relationships, for personal connection on a new level.
Doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
I didn’t go to find a job. Or even prepare for one.
As I student, I never went to the networking or career prep events that my college dutifully hosted. I never learned about proper interviewing etiquette or how to hold a glass and a plate in one hand whilst leaving your right hand open for handshaking.
If it wasn’t late night discussions and dog-earred philosophy texts, I wasn’t interested.
Last week, I went back to school to attend my first how-to networking & professionalism event as a volunteer alumna.
I was expecting the culture shock: bunch of less-than-twentysomething college students, alumni from all different fields and industries… and then me.
But what I wasn’t expecting was the context of the event: GET A JOB.
Feel free to laugh at my out-of-touchness and naivete.
I’ve been to quite a few events this year. I’ve made a point of meeting and greeting. Flesh to flesh, palm to palm. Supporting my digital work with in-person smiles.
Each event had a different context and a different group of people.
But never was the focus of the event: GET A JOB.
It’s easy for me to forget, in fact, that there are people still looking for jobs.
Saying “still” really outs my “real world” seclusion.
Of the students I talked to, none had really considered creating their own job or starting their own business. They were at that event because they wanted to learn what the system expected of them, what it demanded of them, to be successful.
Even as I polished off my rusty interviewing skills, talking to three girls in three different fields of study, I was amazed at how they felt lost translating their experience & talents into ways to benefit society (or corporations, or organizations).
Square peg, meet round hole.
I wasn’t there to convince college students that entrepreneurship was the ticket to a bright & beautiful future. I was there to find out what I had to offer this new generation. The generation that will ultimately be shaping the world I mature & “retire” in.
What I discovered is that those students need the same thing that so many others do, the driving desire behind all of my work: we all need to know how our personal value translates into collective value.
How our strengths create a strong whole.
How our great work makes this a greater place.
So I asked them questions:
- Not, “What’s your major?” but “What are you passionate about?”
- Not, “What do you want to do when you graduate?” but “What really turns you on?”
- Not, “What’s is your experience?” but “How are you going to serve me, your friends here, and the world?”
Oh, sure. Those questions got a lot of blank stares. But they also got light bulbs, productive ramblings, and flashes of brilliance.
These students weren’t going to go out and start a company (although, who knows?!) but, at least for a brief bit of time, they were going to look at themselves just a little bit differently.
And that’s the heart of this work. That’s what pushes me. That’s what drives me.
I want you to look at yourself, your value, and what you have to offer differently – if just for a moment – because that’s the only way you can look at the system differently.
You can’t change the system until you’ve changed yourself. Click to tweet that little nugget.
The New Economy isn’t taking shape because of outside forces but because of internal awakenings.
People – YOU – are waking up to the fact that they’re not automatons on the get-a-job superhighway. They’re not computers waiting to be programmed with operating systems for certain careers or job positions.
They – YOU – are unique, valuable, and irreplaceable. But not until they wake up and realize it.
Quick! Grab a pen & paper…
Got it? Good.
Give yourself a job interview.
- Describe the last time you made a difficult decision. What was the outcome?
- Describe a time you didn’t know the answer to a question your boss or a client posed to you. How did you handle the response?
- What gets you excited about the task at hand?
- What type of work environment helps you to thrive?
- What is unique about & what you have to offer to this position?
What do you notice as you’re giving the answers?
Do the answers come fast & furious? Do you really need to pause and consider the stories influencing each answer? What do your answers tell you about your unique position in the New Economy?
Just like those college students I spoke with, you as a passion-driven business owner or aspiring business owner, have an obligation to truly understand what value you’re bringing to this New Economy. It’s your job to understand how your own internal awakenings are, even ever so slightly, shifting the system.
PS I’m going to be sharing some exclusive ideas, inspiration, and training with a special group of people. Want in? Want to know how your business can take better care of you? Register here.