Okay. I’ll admit it. I’m an incorrigible optimist. I firmly believe that something good is out there for me…and for you. But we have to go looking for it. It’s not coming to us.
I’m not sure when this began for me. My childhood kind of got off to a rocky start, and challenges have continued to present themselves ever since. But good things have happened in spite of (or, perhaps, because of??) this.
I’d love to say the good stuff that has happened over the years has been the result of something that I did. And, maybe…just maybe…it did. But I’ll be the first to state categorically that I did not actively try to change the course of things.
Maybe once…when I volunteered for a second assignment to Vietnam so that Margaret (my wife) and I could figure out if we really, really, wanted to get married. (As we begin wrapping up 49 wonderful years together, I guess the answer to that one is/was “Yes, dummy!”)
A lot of cool things have come my way over the three-quarters of a century that I’ve roamed this earth. In spite of my best misguided efforts, I stumbled into a career field…public relations…that has been so incredibly rewarding. I’ve had some amazing opportunities to help organizations succeed. And, as the direct result of a not-so-good employment choice (nothing like getting fired to perk up your day!), I have now been doing what I absolutely love doing for nearly 20 years…teaching public relations.
So now I’m sitting in Riverview, Florida…just outside Tampa…and I’m trying to figure out “What’s next?” Granted, I’m teaching part-time at The University of Tampa (thanks to my faculty colleagues who have made this possible) and I’m actively involved with PRSA Tampa Bay. But that only fills in a few hours a week. The adventure continues…!
As always, the question arises: “So where are you going with this, Kirk?”
The answer is what I try to pass on to my students and anyone else who will listen: “Don’t ‘settle.’ Be curious. If something sounds interesting, try it out. You never know.”
This was me back in 1977 when I decided that eight years’ Air Force service was enough. I wasn’t excited about the things I was doing even though, as I look back on them today, I realize that I was actually building an arsenal of skills and experience that would help me in the future.
So I left the Air Force and started looking for something else. What that “something else” would be, I had absolutely NO clue. Applied for a few entry-level (sort of) management positions. “Thanks, but no thanks” became an all-too-familiar response. Then a newspaper ad announced that the Army Training and Doctrine Command had a paid Public Affairs Internship opportunity.
It sounded “interesting,” so I applied and, son of a gun!, I was accepted! And the rest is, for many of you, all-too-familiar “Kirk history.”
The point here, though, is that I had absolutely NO clue where this adventure was going to take me. But I tried it anyway and now, 43 years later, I am where I am because I was curious about what might be “around the corner.” And here I am, smiling contentedly and looking for what lies ahead for me.