Advice for the Young Professional . . .

I had the privilege (and I really do consider it to be that) of speaking to fifteen seniors, all about to graduate, at Wichita State University's Elliott School of Communication today. This was my fifth time giving my standard (although always slightly varied) remarks on Workplace Conflict (I'm an EXPERT - on the topic and the "lecture"). I ramble on for a little over sixty minutes and give lots of random chunks of advice and opinions and "counsel" but I think - for the fall - I'll add one more point . . . have. An. Opinion.

There were over a dozen students - let's call them young adults - in the room. That's more than twelve perspectives, twelve (young) lives full of experience, twelve sets of hopes and dreams and aspirations, twelve whatever else you want to say.

And yet - and YET - there were six different times (in sixty minutes (that is one every ten minutes - I'm no math major but I know a little bit)) that not a single one of them had anything to offer to the discussion . . . and I'm not talking about me asking what the fifth decimal place of Pi (it is nine, for the record) . . . I'm talking about "How many of you would like to work in a _____________ (environment - corporate environment, agency, non-profit, etc.)?" (To clarify - this is probably a weak example . . . almost everyone in the class had an workplace picked out but a few did not.)

NOW! I know, I know. I'm overly opinionated and I am often intimidating. I get that. But if you are going to graduate in two months . . . shouldn't you know where you might like to work? I'm not saying you MUST work there but you don't have an inkling?

Another example . . . "How important is passion in what 'we' do?" Not a single person had an opinion. NO one wanted to offer their perspective on passion. One could say they were passion-less.

Yes, yes - generations change and styles evolve and this group is not as aggressive or assertive as mine was (then - and still is now) but I would like to think that, after 17 years of formal education they would have figured out that at least having an OPINION (much less a well-informed one) at all times is step one to growing up . . . if not being obnoxious.