Back to school

This morning I spoke to an assembly at Orewa College, north of Auckland. The topic was choosing careers. I told my own story, of leaving school when I was 15, armed with University Entrance, working in a plastics factory on the night shift (read my previous blog about that experience - Character), how I returned to study (though not graphic design–as I had always imagined–but the dark arts of advertising and marketing. The twists and turns of my career, in agencies (large and small), IT and publishing of one kind and another.

My message, be prepared. Get an education, gain command of a domain (whether it is marketing, communications, science or sport) and refresh it over time. Make contact with other realms - if you are in science, make time for the arts, and vice versa. Be flexible. Change will happen. None of the tasks I learned in the early days of my advertising exist today and the skills I have acquired along the way, particularly in the digital arena have been essential for keeping the wind in my sails. Be adaptable. "If you don't like change you'll like irrelevance even less."

Looking out at the sea of faces I felt optimistic. Allowing for the desparate shyness of some teenagers-I have learned never to ask a direct question of an individual in a group–and the hormone filled cockiness of others (did I see myself out there in the crowd?).

If I had one concern it was the poor show of hands for enthusiasm for technology and science, compared with plenty for sport.

I'm working on honing a more formal presentation for high schools. Generation TXT kids need pictures and movies and short bites.

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