Welcome to the twenty-second issue of CEE News!
Last month, I had the honor of attending the graduation ceremony of my niece, Sina. She earned her Master’s Degree and will be a practicing Physician’s Assistant this fall. After the Pomp and Circumstance processional, but before the hooding of the graduates, came the speeches. Although the house lights were turned off, I found myself scribbling notes in the dark on the back of the program hoping that I could read them later and capture some compelling truths.
Not only did I bring back a beautiful shot of Sina in her cap and gown, but I also gained some memorable advice about how we can frame our careers.
The commencement speaker told the graduates about an Op-Ed piece recently written by David Brooks for the New York Times titled The Moral Bucket List. In it, Brooks suggests that we all have two sets of virtues: resume virtues and eulogy virtues.
“The résumé virtues,” Brooks writes “are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy virtues are the ones that are talked about at your funeral — whether you were kind, brave, honest or faithful. Were you capable of deep love?”
Brooks goes on to consider that our society and educational systems are focused on building resume virtues – skills and strategies needed for an external career – but not on how to build internal character. “But people on the road to inner light,” writes Brooks, “do not find their vocations by asking, what do I want from life? They ask, what is life asking of me? How can I match my intrinsic talent with one of the world’s deep needs?”
I don’t know if Sina and her fellow graduates were able to process these questions given the excitement about their special day. But, I do know that if she reframes her career identity from, “How can I make a living?” to “How can I contribute?” she will have a deeply satisfying sense of purpose.
Good luck, Sina, and to all of the graduates of 2017! It took a lot of hard work to reach this goal. You had to show up every day, whether you felt like it or not. I hope you feel great about what you’ve accomplished, and I hope you’ll continue to be a person who shows up day in and day out for those things that are worthwhile and important in life.