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May 19, 2005


Chris Corrigan

Always think of yourself as having something to offer. You are a free agent, even if you end up going to work for the same employer for the next forty years. Never forget that you always have the power to leave, and you always have something to offer. You are in the world on your terms. Enjoy it.


I would underscore what Chris wrote. If the graduate is a business student, I would get him/her a Tom Peters book.

I would also emphasize the importance of saving money-whether it be for retirement or a house. One of the best books my father gave me was "Personal Finance for Dummies." With the whole United Airlines Pension controversy and the Social Security debate, it is more important than ever for all of us to "take care of ourselves" because no organization will take care of us.

Greg Meyer

Curt -

Thanks for writing this as it really hits home for me. I remember that the first thing I wanted to do after college was to "avoid any jobs where I had to wear a tie." I've been through several jobs, and indeed several careers, and just starting to figure out what makes me tick. My father-in-law, who is close to retirement, likes to point out that you don't ever have to know what you want to be when you grow up. But you do have to try new things and keep on finding out the things that work for you.


No job is too big or small... and you shouldn't be afraid to take some more courses from the "School of Hard Knocks." Street smarts is just as important as book smarts, and you need to be willing to put in the time, energy, and talent to work your way up.

It's more about the journey than the destination.


Don't choose a career, or avoid one, just because of the salary projections. You can make great money in some low-paying careers by making yourself an expert in a specialty: writing books, speaking, and consulting. Conversely, the great-paying jobs today, like software engineering, may end up being a commodity by the time you've earned your stripes. Do what you love - nothing else is worth it in the long run.


My advice isn't career per se but monetary - it took me a long time to get to the point where long term saving was a priority and 401k preparation was a cornerstone. In your 20s your 401k is the most powerful it will ever be - invest in solid sthings and later in life you will find it easier to support all your dreams.

The other thing I'd say is that shrewd infrastructure decisions pay off - a cheap but reliable car, a low rent but in a good neighborhood apt shared with friends - not upgrading your cell phone all the time but investing the money you save in something else. It does not seem like it pays off, but what I know now is, it does.
Good luck!

Conrad Saam

Buy the new book by Peter Han, local entrepreneur, called From Nobodies to Somebodies. Released this month.

Excuse the plug for a good friend - but it's a very relevant book.


Very important book to read - and reread - "Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes" by William Bridges (

It talks about what Curt hinted at - that twenties are about exploring yourself (whether you want it or not). It also talks about other stages of life - including so-called mid-life crisis, or graduating from college (it is a huge transition, and not a very pleasant one at that - once the dust settles). It also helps make sense of these changes and sort out what's going on.

Von Kenric Kaneshiro

Be agile and "change ready." The world around us--around you--is evolving rapidly. A peer from graduate school wrote a paper about the concept of change readiness, and that we all start at the bottom of a pyramid similar to Maslow's hierarchy of need. And we evolve our ability to be "change ready," to be more tolerant to change and in our expectations for change being a normal part of life. The futurist Alvin Toffler wrote about this agility ability in saying that the most successful people will be those who are most effectively able to unlearn, learn, and learn again. You ability to succeed scales with your ability to not only tolerate but to embrace change.

What I'm about to say about your college career may freak your parents out, especially if they are footing to bill. Don't take just 4 years to do college. Take 6 to 8 years, and really explore yourself from the inside out.
For many of you, your wants and needs will continue to evolve, and so will your learning needs.

Finally, along the way to success as well as years from now when you have done well, remember your roots, and to give back to whatever or whoever you felt was significant in molding your success. But on your daily journey, remember to love life, and no matter what happens every day, what matters most at the end of each day are those you love. Be true to yourself and others.


It's been five years since I graduated from college. After dabbling in different jobs, and never staying in one for more than a year, I know for certain what I don't want in a career - but have only a vague idea what kind of job I'd be passionate about.

A couple of months back, I landed a job which I thought could be 'the one'. While I still enjoy certain aspects of my work, it comes with a whole lot of soul-sapping bureacracy (among many other things) and I've come to realise that the job itself is a dead-end job.

I'm already beginning to plan my next move, this time, into a completely different field. The scary thought is: What if restlessness rears its head after yet another job change? How long should all this exploring last before I finally settle down? Or, scarier yet, what if I never find what I'm looking for?

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