Your Career and You: “Never ‘Get ‘Old’”


Publication1Publication2I have these epiphanies every now and then during which I realize that one of the reasons I continue to love what I do…teach the tools, tactics, and techniques of public relations to the next generation(s) of PR professionals…is that, while I “grew up,” I’ve never gotten “old.

Part of this comes from the fact that, as a member of Curry College’s Communication Department team, I get a chance to interact daily with scores of eager young up-and-coming professionals who are trying to figure out their own career paths, just as I did oh-so-many-years-ago.

Some are interested in radio; others in television…or theatre…or public relations…or any one of a host of specialty areas. And they look to us…their teachers or their faculty advisors…for some indication of what might be the path to choose.

I remember from my own undergraduate days the professors/professionals who most influenced my studies, and they weren’t the “fuddy-duddies.” They were energized, energetic, engaged, and enthusiastic.

What I remember most vividly, though, was that they were having fun sharing their own knowledge and experience with those of us who were there to learn.

And that was what made the difference. Not only did we want to be there. They wanted to be there. We were in this together!

I’ve had a couple of colleagues over the years (I’ve taught at a half-dozen colleges in the Boston area, so I’m not going to throw anyone in particular under the bus.) “gently” encourage me to ratchet back on my enthusiasm…to act “more professorial.”To which I (mentally) say, “Unh-unh. Not gonna happen.”

My students understand that there are two sides to the “Kirk” experience.

One is the guy who expects you to dive into your studies and take an active role in figuring out what you really love doing, asking questions along the way to help get a better focus, exploring options to figure out what you’re good at and want to do for a long, long time.

The other is the guy who loves “Pink Floyd” and “Lady Gaga” and can go on excitedly for hours about a PR-related activity he was involved in during his professional career days (Can anyone say…without groaning… “Blood Bank of Hawaii”?).

Why are there two sides? Or are there, really??

Satisfaction, in your career or in your life…to me…doesn’t come from same-ol’/same-ol’ ways of doing things.

No. It comes from the youthful enthusiasm that says, “Wow! This is fun…how can I make it fun-ner??” (And, yes, I totally know that’s not a word…I found it, brought it home, fed it, and kept it!)

The point here is that “old” truly can be nothing more than a state of mind. There is nothing that says you can’t experience a thrill of excitement when you try something new or different just because.

Childish enthusiasm, when maturely applied, can be a wonderful thing! So if you must grow up, just don’t get old!!

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    1. Simon Oh | #Read3 + The Week Ahead: Feb. 23, 2014

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