On Friday we hosted 600 students at the summer “Welcome to the Majors.” Here’s what I planned to say:
Today, Laurette Koellner told you her story. How she worked her way to the job of President of Boeing International. As a student Laurette differentiated herself. As an employee and leader Laurette differentiated herself.
Dean Jarley then explained to you what it will take to “get to the one.” To differentiate yourself through activity and create a unique value proposition that you can communicate to an employer or investor.
So, the question is, how do you take Dean Jarley’s call to action and Laurette’s successful example, and differentiate yourself? One of the assignments that you’ll complete in GEB 3003 and the other career classes is the Career To-DO List. This assignment represents 30% of your grade, and it’s all up to you.
Using the Activity List in Webcourses you will choose things to do. The things that you do will help you to first identify a career and major choice; and then build the skills and meet the people that you’ll need to make that career choice a reality. If you already have a job that you love, that’s ok! There are also activities that you can use at work to build a professional network, gain new experiences, and grow in your chosen field. Thinking of starting your own business or already working on one? There are also a slew of Entrepreneurial activities like attending workshops at the Blackstone Launch Pad and building a professional network that can help you secure new clients.
So for example, a student tells me, “But I have no idea what I want to do!” Ok, do you work? Yes. What do you do? I work at Publix. Cool, do you like your store managers? Yes. Ever wonder how they got their job? Ask them for a 20 minute meeting while you ask them questions about their job and how they got there. Tell them about what you’re doing and ask for advice. That’s an informational interview and it will build your network.
Another student tells me that they work full time and don’t have time to come to campus for speakers. That’s fine. What industry do you work in? Does that industry have an organization that you can join? Maybe one for your profession? Maybe you could attend a conference; or complete a job enlargement project that moves you out of your department and helps you develop new skills and contacts.
Not sure how to do these things? Choose to find the information in the books and resources I’ve assigned for the class. Choose to attend a presentation on Friday where a speaker will explain it. Choose to go to a Career Services workshop, speaker in the Exchange, or professional meeting where this topic will be discussed.
If you read the Activity List you’ll see over 60 different things you can do for points. Last semester there were around 3400 students taking one of these career classes. Combined they did over 18,000 different activities. That’s an average of over 6 activities per student. Activities that helped them decide on a career, develop skills, and meet the people who can help them fulfill the Dean’s call to action. In 4004 30% of the students got a perfect score on their final because of the things they did to get to the One.
So….. I’m going to address the elephant in the room. Why the hell am I up here in a kilt? Well, it has to do with being different.
While you were networking you heard the Dropkick Murphy’s playing, “It’s a Long Way to the Top if You Wanna Rock n Roll.” Why? Because, as I said, to differentiate yourself, to get to the one, you have to do things. But you don’t want to just act. It’s not a race to 60 points. If you choose to just rock and roll through the assignment without thinking about why you’re doing it and what it does for you, then you won’t get to the top. You won’t get to the one. Your activity won’t help you create a value proposition that differentiates you.
Not having a purpose for what you do is kind of like not thinking about what you wear. It’s kinda like coming out here in a kilt, just to get your attention. If all I do is stomp around and play my bagpipes, then I’m not making a point. I’m not leveraging a metaphor. I’m not teaching you anything. I’m just being outrageous. Unless I have a reason for doing it then all I can do is HOPE that at some point it becomes a signature look or a defining characteristic. I’m just gonna rock and roll and HOPE it differentiates me. But unfortunately, if you’re outrageous without a purpose, then you don’t differentiate yourself. You’re just different!