May 7, 2010
The Graduation Speech Your Kids Will Never Hear
IconThe Graduation Speech Your Kids Will Never Hear By Cliff Ennico Members of the Class of 2004: I was sorry to hear that the children#146;s TV show host who was to have been your commencement speaker today had to bow out at the last minute. I was delighted, however, when the Trustees called me about an hour ago and asked me to fill in. While I know some of you already have jobs and some (OK most of you) do not, I know that all of you are wondering today what your lives are going to be like. There are two things you need to know about your future. First, whatever dreams you hope to fulfill in your lives, you won#146;t be able to do them until you are making a living. Your first priority is to achieve financial security, and it may well take you the next 50 years to achieve it. If you thought that was bad, here#146;s the second thing. It has never been a more challenging time to make a living in America. Many of your parents worked for large corporations, but you cannot count on them any longer to provide you with a lifetime living. Today#146;s computer technology has eliminated the need for large corporate staffs. Our global economy often forces corporations to hire people overseas who can work for a fraction of the salaries and benefits their American competitors need. If only Americans can do the job, many companies prefer to hire them as independent contractors who will not receive benefits, health insurance or other employee #147;perks#148;. And in today#146;s volatile economy even the most #147;employee friendly#148; company can be taken over by a competitor, lose a key product due to obsolescence, or fail due to poor management. The Government won#146;t be there to bail you out. Social Security, Medicare and other government programs that helped your parents either won#146;t be there when you are ready for them, or they will be so scaled back that only the most poverty-stricken Americans will qualify for them. Hopefully that won#146;t include any of you. And you won#146;t be able to fall back upon blue-collar or service jobs, because you will be competing with a massive wave of new immigrants from Asia, Africa and Latin America who are only too willing, for a lot less money, to take the jobs we educated Americans are too proud to do. Make no mistake -- when it comes to earning a living, sooner or later you will be on your own. My prediction #150; no, my guarantee #150; is that at some point (maybe next year, maybe when you turn 50) all of you will find yourself in a situation, at least temporarily, where you must rely on your own efforts to generate the income you need. You will do this by owning and running your own business. My advice to all of you is to begin preparing for that day now. Start developing hobbies and other interests that you can turn into profit making businesses someday. Start reading and learning now about how successful businesses are run. Look for opportunities to start a business, and don#146;t wait until the #147;time is right#148; before you launch. The sooner you get started, the sooner you will be able to support yourself without having to rely on anyone else for your income. And then you can get on with the fun stuff you#146;ve always wanted to do. Now for the good news . . . you#146;re gonna have a blast! Unlike your parents, who often had no choice but to slave away in a boring, repetitive job, you have the power to take control of your own destiny. Yes, it takes a lot of courage. Yes, there will be some sleepless nights. But I have worked with over 10,000 people who have done it and succeeded, and believe me, a lot of them weren#146;t as smart as you. Don#146;t fall into the trap, as many of your parents did, of thinking that your career has to be #147;only one thing#148;. Some of my most successful clients do a number of different things #150; they have a day job, they do some part-time consulting, they write books, they teach evening classes at a local college, they buy and sell stuff on eBay, they sell home-made wood carvings at crafts fairs, they own apartment buildings. Yes, it sometimes gets a little crazy, but it all adds up to a living, and if any one of those things doesn#146;t pan out, they#146;ve got the rest to fall back on. Diversification is a good thing for careers as well as investment portfolios. Also, don#146;t fall into the trap of thinking you must #147;make use of your education#148; when planning your career. Some of the most successful people in America today are college dropouts. In the business world, a lot of A students end up working for people who were C students in school. A business need not be intellectually stimulating, or require a knowledge of calculus, to be wildly successful. So by all means reach for the stars and follow your passions (this is a graduation speech, after all). Without guts and determination, you will have trouble earning a living in this new, tough business world, even if you#146;re as smart as Einstein. May you succeed beyond your wildest dreams, and may you never run out of money. Thank you. Cliff Ennico ( ) is a syndicated columnist, author and host of the PBS television series 'Money Hunt'. This column is no substitute for legal, tax or financial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualified professional licensed in your state. To find out more about Cliff Ennico and other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit our Web page at . COPYRIGHT 2004 CLIFFORD R. ENNICO. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC. Permission granted for use on

Posted by Staff at 1:42 AM