You Can’t Take It, if You Don’t Want It

You Can’t Take It, if You Don’t Want It

Many recent grads say they can’t find jobs. Many recent students say they can’t find scholarships.

You cannot dream yourself into a character: you must hammer and forge yourself into one. ---Henry D. Thoreau

The economy is bad. We all know that. Accept it as a given. But it isn’t a certain doom— it isn’t an excuse to give up— it isn’t proof that fatalism is right, or that your efforts are in vain.

As a wise man told me when I was a boy, “When things get tough, you got to get tough with them.”

If things are bad, you’ve got to want it even more. And you’ve got to find an edge for yourself. Some way to distinguish yourself from that line of job-seekers.

And, even more sadly, so many are thwarted by their own lack of savvy. By the self-defeating mode.

Here’s a conversation I had this week with the financial aid counselor at a local college….

Me: “With things as tough as they are, are the scholarships drying up?”

Counselor: “Actually, we have quite a few grants and scholarships available, it’s surprising. The problem is the students.”

Financial Aid

Me: “The students? Why, they don’t qualify or what?”

Counselor: “Mostly they don’t want it bad enough. Like just this morning, a student sat down and told me how badly he needed a scholarship, he needed money to pay his fees and get his degree. The timing for him couldn’t be better, because a new scholarship had just opened up, and a couple of others weren’t filled yet.”

Me: “So what was the problem, sounds great.”

Counselor: “He was kind of typical. I told him one of the requirements was an essay. And he goes, an essay? He says, what if I put in all that work on an essay and don’t get the scholarship?”

Me: “You have got to be kidding me right now.”

Counselor: “Nope, I am perfectly serious. The bad part is, he’s not even an exception. So many times I hear it. Isn’t there one without an essay?”

Me: “So lots of students, they just don’t want it bad enough.”

Counselor: “Not all, but way too many. Not enough motivation. They want it handed to them on a silver platter. And now you understand what I mean.”

If you don’t want it bad enough to get your degree, to do whatever it takes, what about when it’s time to find a good job?

Even in this tough economy, people are being hired. The competition is strong. So you’ve got to be strong.

And the student’s lazy attitude— about doing an essay— is the same crippling attitude that carries over into the working world.

For example, one corporate interviewer was complaining recently about the kind of people she is getting for an opening. Not the kind of people, but their attitude.

Corporate Interviewer: “If you walk into a job interview dressed in cargo shorts and flip-flops like a kid at the mall, who is going to hire you? That master’s degree you slaved for is cheated, if you don’t project yourself well in person. I’m not hiring somebody who isn’t ready to represent this company anywhere, anytime, to anyone. That means right now.”

Me: “So, dress for success?”

Corporate Interviewer: “That’s not it, just a metaphor for lots of the people I interview. The thing is… you look in their eyes and they’re somewhere else… and sometimes I think this person deep down doesn’t really even want to go to work.”

Maybe it’s just that simple. You’ve got to REALLY want it! When you do, your enthusiasm is infectious.

Create your opportunities. Nobody is going to come searching for you. If you sit in a room in the dark, no sun will shine on your face. Get out there and hustle.

That same wise man, when I was a boy, told me,”Son, when you’re stupid, you’ve got to be strong.”

You know you’re not stupid. Get out there and do whatever it takes. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Get that scholarship, get that job. Hustle and search and learn!

Educate, educate, educate!

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