Monday, May 21, 2007

Happy Graduation

Next week will begin the next post-graduation phase in my life. Ever heard the quote, as soon as you graduate from the school of life, someone comes up with another course? Well, I am just now finishing my Certificate in Photography through the University of Washington Extension program. (And for the record, just because I took this class, I do not claim to be an expert in photography. The learning continues...). My photographic journey began when I was about nine years old with my Kodak 110 camera and I took these courses over the last nine months to see if yet another career path lurked inside of me. I believe the answer to be yes. So here I have yet another opportunity to graduate and to utilize this learning in my life.

With graduation on the brain, I cannot help but apply this concept to seasonal work. Every summer or winter, individuals from all over the country, some recent high school or college graduates, or the ultimate graduation, retirement, have the opportunity to give their own college try at a career for around six months. Sometimes the job is the best thing they have ever done, sometimes it is not, but the best part is knowing at the get go that it is for a specified period of time and one gets to take yet another course from the school of life. Graduation in these instances might represent a line on the resume or a foot in the door to a cool career path. It may just be getting to try that thing that has always been intriguing. And sometimes, it just helps to know that it is not necessary to do that again.

All of us at Cool Works (tm) hope that we had something to do with finding those jobs in great places (tm) and freely admit that sometimes the jobs are not glamorous but, and to quote Garrison Keillor, 'you will know more about it when you are done.'

Quick takeaways from this:

1) Market job opportunities with your establishment as opportunities for growth, learning and future success.

2) Give your employees the tools they need to succeed - the syllabus (the employee handbook), provide progress reports (performance reviews), and encourage them along the way.

3) When the going gets tough, and I know that you HR folks are already aware that 'July' is coming, remind your employees why they came, reward their loyalty and if possible give them a day off to enjoy your great place and hang out with their friends. Remember that some of the best days you had in school were the ones where you played hooky.

4) As graduation nears, i.e. the end of the season, remind them of what they've learned this year, thank them for their hard work, and let them complete evaluation forms to help you make your place better.

5) And the big reminder, if they passed the summer with flying colors, invite them to return next year and make sure that they tell all of their friends about your cool place to work.

Wishing all graduates a nice closure to whatever chapter they are finishing and also hoping that everyone is looking for that next chapter to read.

P.S. - And lastly, if you live in the Seattle area, you are more than welcome to see my photographic work and those of my fellow graduates at the University of Washington Medical Center during the months of June and July. Visit www.uwphotocert.com to learn more about us. Thanks.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Gen Y Worker Lures - Let Them Volunteer!

This is quite an interesting article on the Society for Human Resource Management website regarding the desire of young people to volunteer and the benefits to employers who let them.

Enjoy and have a nice weekend!

http://www.shrm.org/hrnews_published/articles/CMS_021362.asp