Since my last post, I’ve been preoccupied with getting ready for my four new spring semester classes. We’ve completed the first week now, so things will begin to settle down.
I’ve got good classes. All four are filled with bright, interesting people, and I look forward to working with them. I instructed all four classes to read my two posts below, the one on 2009 and “What exactly do you want?” They serve to set the stage for some serious, disciplined learning in the coming weeks.
The timing is right. The economy continues to deteriorate. Job prospects for December 2008 and May 2009 graduates look grim. The economy moves in cycles, and we are in a down cycle right now and will be for months to come. I believe the best thing that recent and soon-to-be graduates can do is prepare themselves for job opportunities, methodically and thoughtfully pursue leads for viable opportunities, and stay positive. Things will get better.
For 35 years, I earned a living doing what I now teach. I have been through recessions and corporate layoffs and all the pain that accompanies economic cycles. You simply have to tough it out. There is always something positive you can do to help your situation.
If I have learned anything from the life events I’ve faced, I’ve learned that it is not so much what happens to you, but what you think about what happens to you, that really matters. For example, whining and moaning about what happens — economic turbulence, job loss, short-term diminished employment prospects, etc. — is a waste of time. You simply have to assess the situation, revisit your goals, and adjust your strategy to keep on track to goal attainment.
There will be setbacks in life. I broke my back in a traffic accident when I was 29 years old. As a result, I became paralyzed and a wheelchair user. I certainly did not plan that. The accident changed a great many things in my life, but not the essence of who I am and what I wish to accomplish. For example, I was still a husband and father and a dedicated and ambitious integrated marketing communication professional. I wanted to live a meaningful life and accomplish many things. The fact that I could no longer walk made it more difficult to do some of the things I wanted to do, but I learned to focus on what I could do, not on what I could not do. That saved my life.
In life, we face many challenges. No matter what, you can overcome them. I do it, and so will you. Life is so precious. Every day is a blessing, a gift. Our job here and now is to make the most and the best of this precious gift. That means dealing with setbacks and hurts and unforeseen situations while working toward our goals.