It's a yearly visit for me. I was asked a few years ago to come and speak at a Career Day at a school, in fact...if you want to go back far enough, I was first invited to speak at a school during my days as an intern in Grand Rapids. Someone for Mona Shores had called and asked for a guest speaker about radio...and no one really jumped at the chance...because "Muskegon is just so far away!" Ya, right...whatever. I took the chance and came out and preached all things radio.
Like anything, it's shifted. I still talk about radio and my love for it if it's done properly. Is there a right and wrong way to do radio? I guess that's subject to the listener, but like anything I have done, I always think there is a better way. Today, I discuss some of the background I have and how I have had to adapt to my surroundings in media. Did I ever fancy myself as a blogger? No, but it's where I am and it's honestly where news is going. How have I strategicly watched audiences grow...how I have had to change delivery platforms from a transmitter tower to a modem. I talk about the fundamentals of media, what can be taught and what has to be experienced to be learned. I also talk to them about some of the soft skills that come along with the job. The importance of listening to who you are interviewing. How important it is to communicate effectivly and engage people. If they are on their way to college, I teach them that marketing and events are far more important than just about anything else in the business. I have always been lucky with the groups of kids too. They are attentive, inquisitive and respectful. It's always a great time to be able to share what got you to the point you are.
My thoughts? Try it out for yourself. Next time you hear of an invitation to be a part of something at your kids school, take it. 8th graders are a great age as they are just starting to think what the rest of their life will be. It's a good experience for them to see what kind of punches you had to roll with to get you where you are. It's also a great way to remind yourself about what it's like to be in the shoes of someone "just getting started". No matter your job...it's important. There will hopefully always be someone coming down the trail behind you that can learn from what you know, who you know and they can gather some knowledge of how things really get done in the working world.
My other thought...it's on the Muskegon Career Tech Center. Back in "my day" the "Skills Center" was the consolation prize for students who's aptitudes didn't lean toward college prep. Yes, back then...it's where they sent kids to build birdhouses and work with clay. Today, the Muskegon Career Tech Center is where kids go to get honest, practical and advanced knowledge about jobs that can last them a lifetime. To me, it seems very much like a place for elite students to go to and develop skills that will lead to immediate and direct employment in fields that will never run out of work. It's an amazing part of our educational system and I am honored to be back year in and year out to talk to the students.
I'd like to say thanks to the Muskegon ISD for inviting me out for the 8th Grade Career Days. If you'd like to know more about the offerings at the CTC for your student, click on the picture on the left and you'll find their website!