Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Convocation Speech That Never Was

I've been floored by the reaction to my Financial Post column this week.

I’ve had oodles of supportive emails regarding my version of the “convocation speech” that I think all university and college graduates need to hear. Among the points I make:

Your diploma is a passport to nothing: You have a lot of catching up to do.

You are a free agent: A job is not your life, just a contract.

Stick your neck out. Honest critics -- not cynics -- can be an organization's best asset.

Get out of your social media cocoon. In the age of Facebook and Twitter, the winners will be those who know how to work the phone.

Keep control of your personal finances. Has anyone talked to you about the perils of deficit spending, the tyranny of credit-card interest rates, or the real costs of owning a home?

Governments are not your friend. Every dollar of help they provide cost somebody $1.50.

Think like an entrepreneur. As long as there are unmet needs, there will always be opportunities

The feedback has been terrific. A few examples:

“Thanks! It needed to be said loud & clear.” (From “an old fogey”)

"I've been preaching this exact sermon to my nephews with little success, but now have your column to pin on the wall to let them know that their uncle is not some old crackpot, but someone who can give them some insight… we are ahead of the game just knowing what Government is, and what it isn't.” (From Glen in Edmonton)

“I loved your column. I wish it had been written when my own kids were getting out of school. It should be read to all graduating students in class before they leave!” (S in Calgary)

“Both my girls are still in diapers but I'll clip and save this article for their graduations because I know these values and guidelines will still hold true.” (J in Montreal)

“I'm glad someone has the courage to tell the truth as it is... The current mess in our financial and personal circumstances is due to the lack of truth that pervades our media and personal communications.” (Gloria in Alberta)

“A wonderful graduation speech. It can help change / improve lives.” (M in Montreal)

“As I tell my kids: Aim high, Be realistic, and Bust your butt to get there.” Brian in Calgary.

Thanks to all my correspondents for taking the time to write. It's great to hear from you.

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