CAREER DAY: How honest should I be with students?
Recently I delivered the opening keynote at a middle school’s Career Day. I debated the level of honesty in my speech. I jokingly posted:
Yeah, I kind of have a career but I don’t really have a job. There are many people with jobs but no career. The reason why I don’t have a solid career or job is because I decided to chase a dream. I made a conscious and informed decision to drop out of college to pursue an unconventional job. I realized there would be a risk involved but I knew that I wouldn’t be happy behind a desk or at corporate job.
I decided to chase the dream of boxing and speaking. Neither of these has been financially fruitful as yet. My friends all have 401ks, they are buying homes, and taking vacations. Me? Not even close. I’m fighting in tournaments to give myself content to create for blogs and Vlogs to build my social media platform while building my brand. I’m living paycheck to paycheck without a receiving a paycheck.
My career choices offers very little security. Sometimes I’m unmotivated. Sometimes it feels like I’m swimming upstream. I have asked myself at what point do I call it quits and follow a conventional career? I love being on stage but there are other parts of my career that sucks.
I just want to speak. I don’t want to send 1000 cold-call emails to not receive a response back. I don’t want to strategically post on social media and track twitter analytics. I don’t want to deliver 7 speeches at a school in a single day to work on my delivery. I don’t want to be worried about next month’s rent and juggling due dates. I don’t want to box just in order to have health insurance.
I know I’m expected to tell students to go to college and all that jazz they see on posters in the school library but I refuse. College doesn’t promise a career, the same way in which money doesn’t promise happiness. School isn’t for everyone.
I’m speaking from experience. Nothing used to hurt my confidence more than being reminded on every report card period that I was an idiot. I received terrible grades and barely graduated high school. Why would I invest money into a college education that doesn’t promises a degree. I believe in an education but I don’t believe in our educational system.
Education doesn’t always equate to intelligence. I hold more value in intelligence than I do education. Why would I tell an audience of students to take the path of standard education rather than chasing their dreams of an unconventional job?
But how could I tell students to chase their dreams if I’m not going to properly inform them of the downfalls in an unconventional career? I would need to explain to them the consequences of failure. If I’m going to tell students to go out on a limb, I feel obligated to inform them that the branch may break.
I don’t want to be a black cloud on these middle school’s positive day. I don’t want to sell them on only pursuing a path through college. How could I stand with a microphone and spew hypocrisy?
I decided to be honest. During my 30 minute keynote I described the ups and downs of my career. Enough people will give them the “rah rah rah” speech. I stressed the importance of back up plan and the value of trade schools. After the keynote I did 5 separate 25 minute talks with different classes where I went into specifics of an unconventional career.
I spoke to them about the struggle of getting a business of the ground, how difficult it is to get an agent, the importance of reputation. It was an open forum where we discussed the importance of networking, friends, finances, comfort, investing into yourself, and other subjects involving a career.
I think my message got across. I may not know everything do, but I’m more than willing to share what I would not do.
My goal is to make a comfortable living speaking to corporations on resiliency with efficiency. I speak on goal setting and time management. I resonate well with the millennial and think this is my niche. I am focused on corporations but will still speak at schools.
PS- I’m currently booking dates for a motivational keynote to kick off next year’s school year. If you’re interested in having me speak at your school or have any leads please reach out Booking@CelebritySportsSpeaker.com
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