What's wrong with this "after college" picture?

To get a job you must have experience, but to get experience you must have a job. This is the conundrum that our society has thrown many a  college graduate into on the day he's handed his diploma. Instead of leaving college fully equipped to enter a professional job, He finds himself suddenly with all the head knowledge, but none of the practical skills.

Although this 20 something young man is our bright and shining future, no one wants to hire him. He still needs to be taught everything and most people aren't willing to take the time or the risk in their business. Somehow that book education he got didn’t teach him how to DO anything, he just knows how to talk about it. Sure, he could take his diploma and start out in a very small paying job in his field of interest, and that would help him build up the experience so he can start his career. Sounds like a solution right?

There’s just a minor hitch. He has student loans which he has to start paying a few months after he graduates. The student loans were granted with the projection that he would leave college and enter a full time, high paying job in his industry. But it's not happening.

This promising young graduate steps off the platform with his diploma and suddenly finds himself scrambling for quick money. He needs to be able to pay his loans and that's a forced priority, so gaining experience becomes a secondary thought. He searches with growing desperation to find the job of his dreams and finally abandons his diploma and career field (temporarily) while he works as a waiter or bartender to pay his bills.

All the sudden, instead of starting to give to business and society in a lucrative career, our "future" is spending his most formative years washing tables and making small talk.

This could be fine for a time, but unfortunately paying those loans won't take months, but years.  So he find himself in the same predicament year after year. He's not able to use his degree because he lacks experience, he can't work a small paying job because of student loans, and his potential and passion is becoming buried and slowly forgotten.

The simplest, yet scariest solution to this problem:

Take responsibility for your own education and career path.

This could mean working to gain experience in conjunction with getting a college degree, or maybe even choosing an alternative path to college. There are many ways to avoid this predicament, but all of them require you to carefully consider the future. You'll have to get a little creative instead of just following the traditional route planned out for you.

Why (although you tip well) you still aren’t giving enough

The car wash employee, the cashier at the local grocery mart, the waitresses and cleaners and gas station attendants. Do we even see the people that are serving us? Do we look them in the eye, notice their name, and make a connection with them? Or do we avoid eye contact, mumble our thanks and tip them like we should. We have an opportunity there to stand out, to recognize their humanity and to truly appreciate their service. If we looked at it like a friend doing a favor for us, instead of a random stranger just doing their job, we could create a much happier experience for everyone.

Those people who are washing our car, serving our food, and picking up our garbage are adding something to our life, they are making it happier, easier or better. Of course we tip them and say thank-you. But do we ask how their day is going? Do we treat them as individuals?

Think of it from the other perspective. When you get a server at the restaurant who’s extra kind, who remembers your children’s names, and makes the effort to not just “do their job”, but to see you as important and valued, how do you feel? I know I get a little glow, because it was unexpected, above and beyond what the job demands. We can meet them halfway though. They don’t need to just brighten our day, we should try to bring sunshine to theirs. You would be surprised at the friends you’ll make, the stories you’ll hear and the happiness you can create by truly seeing the people who are serving us and making every interaction not just another dull exchange, but an experience.

She took a chance on you

I once heard someone say that having a child is like having a piece of your heart walk outside of your body. What a picture of how closely a mother’s life is intwined with her child’s! There is very little that compares to the grief a mother experiences when her baby is struggling. She is fiercely protective of her child, and every hurt he experience, hurts her still more. If he chooses to make bad decisions that break her heart, it’s like watching her own body self destruct and having no power to stop it.

Having a child is saying yes to many wonderful things like life and joy, yet also saying yes to the possibility of heartbreak. We should all recognize and appreciate the risk that our mother took when she decided to take a chance on sacrifice, worry, and hurt, to bring you into the world.

Has it been a good gamble for her?

Comfort the Crowd

When you're on stage, confidence is extremely important. If you have any hesitation; if you play or speak cautiously, you put the crowd on edge. The crowd begins to anticipate failures and that creates a tense environment. When you're confident, however, that puts the crowd at ease, and they sit back, comforted that you're in control and that they will experience a great performance.

Why Are You Complaining?

Have you ever stopped to consider that those things which make you discontent, frustrated, and unsatisfied. Someone else would be overjoyed to experience, or have. For example: You may have a mother that continually irks you because she makes you embarrassed you in public. Many orphans would be thrilled to undergo those same embarrassing moments for the privilege of having a mother who loves and cares for them.

Your car/appliance/computer gives you difficulties. It’s unreliable or slow and causes you a lot of frustration. There are thousands of people that would welcome the opportunity to have a working car, dishwasher or computer.

A little perspective is always good.

We take for granted the softness of our life but shame on us for being discontented with what we have, when many others would be more than pleased to trade places with us.

Always Give 100% (unless you are giving blood).

I’m definitely squeamish about needles, and taking a large quantity of blood out of my body just seemed gross. It would’ve been much easier for me to write off, as something I just didn’t feel like doing. I’m busy, young, and its not a priority.Yet, both my little brothers have been recipients of blood transfusions. Someone who had the same excuses as me, decided to take an hour and undergo a slightly uncomfortable experience. With that he gave my baby brothers the opportunity to live healthy childhoods. Somehow though, because we don’t see; because we can’t look at the car accident victims, or the people struggling with cancer, the need seems too far away to feel urgent or worth our time. But it is worth it to give blood, and someone, somewhere will be extremely grateful that you did.

Can We Achieve Excellence?

Think of excellence as a horizon instead of a destination. As we take steps toward excellence, its a mirage shimmering far in the distance. As we travel towards it,we encounter obstacles, fears, disappointments, and frustrations that we must overcome. When we do, we have moments of discovery, joy and accomplishment. Each time we reach a goal, excellence is just beyond the next. But progress is seen from looking at the initial first steps to where we are now. We're that much closer and heading in the right direction. The achievements are in the gained experiences, skills and wisdom, and not in winning the elusive title of excellence. So the question shouldn't be, can we achieve excellence; it should be, are we pursuing that lifestyle?