When it happened the first time it was interesting. When it happened the second, it was beyond curious С it was noteworthy.
Thanks to some hard-working kids and kids-in-law, we attended two university commencements this year.
The speaker at the first one talked of leaving the profession she’d graduated in and the work she’d started her career in for a profession she loved, one where she felt she could truly make a difference. In her case, the transition was from accounting to academia.
In the second instance, the keynote left the field of law to work for social change in third-world countries.
Ironically, the woman who’d left the business world was talking to a room full of business graduates, and the woman who’d left her career in law was addressing those who’d just spent three tough years earning their law degrees.
So the message reverberated even more.
Look inward to what you have the capacity to do and what brings you joy, said Alison Davis-Blake at BYU’s Marriott School of Management Convocation. Then, look outward to find where your talents can make a “distinctive difference.”
Ignore the noise and take time to find your path, said Deborah Dugan at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law commencement program. You can’t predict the future, “take time to invent itЙGo off the beaten path, forge your own,” she said.
A good education is the best foundation for finding your path, and the speakers praised the accomplishments of the students, but didn’t seem to want the graduates to stop there.
Really, none of us should.
Does what we’re doing bring us joy? Does it make a difference? Is it inventing a new path?
I know many people who have found joy in their careers. I know many other people who have forged new paths. And sometimes, as I suspect happened for the speakers, success in a traditional career provides the means to branch into something new and risky and perhaps rewarding in a social but not a monetary sense.
Permit me, for a moment, to pay tribute to those who have found and pursue their joys, even if it doesn’t benefit them financially.
They are artists, they are poets, they are writers, and they are necessary to our society.
They do it not because of the money but despite the lack of it.
They do it because they believe in it, enjoy it, have to do it.
You see them at book tables, at art festivals, in the craft section of farmers’ markets.
And all they want is someone to love what they have created in just enough of a way that they are encouraged to keep writing, keep drawing, keep creating.
That would be our job.
Jobs with monetary potential have a built-in reward. I am glad for people who, despite the financial hit, fill those roles that bring a different kind of wealth into the world.
I hope they will get to speak at a commencement someday.