Monday, June 3, 2013

The 2013 Commencemen Address I Never Gave

I've never been asked to give a commencement speech and quite frankly, I live too close to my former school district to ever be considered to give one.  I learned a long time ago, the farther you move away from Hampton, the more of an expert you are.  Nevertheless, I have come up with my 2013 Commence Address.
Graduates, students, parents, faculty and guests.  I am honored to be here today to speak to the class of 2013.  While you may wonder what someone who lives in Hampton is doing giving the address today, rest assured while I haven't traveled to a far away land, I still understand common sense and can relate to people who have watched you grow up in our fine community.
First off, I want to point out how special you are.  Just like all of the other graduates of 2013 across the nation.  Yes, you are going to be looking for going to college, to the armed services or to the work force like a lot of other graduates.  Get the chip off of your shoulder and let's go get busy on getting a head start on your competition, each other.  Yes, that's what I said, each other.  The sooner you view your classmate as your competitor, the faster you will understand what the real world is like.
Second, there are no ribbons for 10th place.  If you are lucky, you will MAYBE get a "thank you" for first place.  No one owes you a job, health benefits, a free ride, or the time of day.  Those things are earned. 
Third, for those of you who have put stupid photos of yourself on Facebook or any other social media site, clean them off of your site.  Chances are, Google has already indexed them, but just in case, no potential employer wants to see you making  a duck face with a beer in your hand... that you are holding for someone else, of course.  What you need to do is to get a professional head shot photo and put it on Linked In and get that page built up with your skill sets and services you can offer people.  The old school resume is about to become a thing of the past and if you run into a potential employer like me, I'm going to Google you anyway and look you up on Facebook.  If you look like an idiot because of some stupid photos, I'll let another company deal with it.  Young ladies, if you wanted to be treated like equals at whatever job you are going to be going to, get all of the "whore-ish" pictures off of there.  There are some idiot bosses out there as well, who may think you are less than a young lady and may take advantage of you. 
Fourth, get out and volunteer for something.  We have a lot of aimless kids in this community and country who really could use some help.  Become a coach, scout leader, helper at the school, service club member or ANYTHING, just help out some kids.  They need it now more than ever.
Fifth, remember 1 out of 10 young people are denied a  job because of something posted on the social networks.  If you have a problem with a professor, boss or spouse -- don't whine on Facebook about it.  Deal with the issue and move on. 
Finally, be proud that you came from the Hampton-Dumont school district and never forget to come back once in a while.  In fact, tell your friends that Iowa's a great place to raise a family and that our work ethic is pretty darn good.  As an employer, I'd rather hire someone from a small town than a big city, because -- small town people wave at each other all the time.  Being friendly is in our DNA.  When you come back and you see a former teacher, give them a pat on the back as well.  They put up with you all these year, the least you can do is thank them. 
Not everyone can be a rocket scientist, fashion model or famous actor, but be the best you can be.  In 1983 when I crossed this stage, I crossed it with 7 other Eagle Scouts.  Quite a feat as the national average at that time was 1 of out every 100 Scouts earns the rank of Eagle Scout.  The first line of the Boy Scout Oath is "On my honor, I will do my best."  If you stick with that, you will go far.
My best to you, the graduates of 2013!!