Life Lessons with Jerry Joyce

Life Lessons with Jerry Joyce

My daughter and my son are graduating this year – my daughter from college and my son from high school. These events are pretty big deals. The obvious is for the graduates, moving on to the next venue of life is a little scary and certainly challenging! This is also pretty big for me, an expense stream is drying up!

As I am looking at these events, it has caused me to look back on my own experiences and to think about what advice I would have like to receive as I was making my life changes. In my daughter’s case, she has a job – she will be teaching fourth grade math next year. She is beside herself with excitement and despite the fact that she has no pay check, is already looking at apartment listings to see where she can afford to live away from home. My son will be starting college in the fall and is contemplating what he wants to study. He had initially talked about accounting, but now is thinking that he would like to go into human resources.

So now that I am 37 years out of college and 42 years out of high school, what advice should I give them that I would have benefitted from hearing when I was at that crossroad?

I think I would start by telling them both that they should choose something they like as a profession. You spend way too much of your waking hours at your job to not like what you do. You don’t have to love it (although that helps – a lot!), but you cannot hate it. You will have a miserable life. There are a lot of ways to measure “rich,” being happy in your job will put you on that path.

Speaking of “rich,” the second thing is to stay within your means. Do not get yourself into huge debt either for educational costs or for normal living expenses. For my daughter, always find a way to put a little bit of money away and try to get to a point where you have a safety net so that when unexpected expenses occur (and they always will), you will be prepared.

Third, find your people. Choose your friends based on your values, not just to hang out with the popular kids. The friends that I have are ones that I met in college; they have celebrated every joyous event in my life and have been there for the tragedies as well.

Fourth, like the people you work with. This goes well with item #1 on the list and can go a long way to making that one work, but if you like the people you work with, the teamwork will come easier and the collective achievement of the group will be greater.

Finally, have confidence in your ability. You have been educated well and now is the time to show what you can do. Be willing to try new things; don’t be afraid to try even if you make mistakes; take responsibility for your mistakes and learn from them; also be willing to pitch in when you see someone else struggling.

I am sure that there is more that I could share, but for now this will do. Whatever additional advice I could give can come later. These five things will get them well on their way!


G1424635 Jerry Joyce, Director, Human Resources – FLS


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