For Associate Professor of History Rodney Stiling, settling on a practical while interesting career is tricky, but worth doing.
“Try a lot of things,” he said. “Just keep turning the dial and you’ll reach music that catches your ear.”
On Monday, Jan. 23, SPU’s LIFE After College week kicked off with a workshop called “Stories, Wit and Wisdom, SPU Voices on Vocation.” The annual week provides students with advice regarding everything from a gap year to how to dress for a job interview.
There, four professors and President Martin himself spoke on a panel about their experiences, both academic and with personal vocations, and they gave advice to students learning about what it takes to make it after graduation.
The president offered a message of perseverance and community for all to take with them through the week and beyond.
“Lean into those that are journeying with you,” he said. “Don’t check out too soon from jobs or opportunities.”
Throughout the week, a series of seventeen workshops addressed challenges every professional faces, emphasizing that the information is not limited to helping college graduates.
On Tuesday, Vice President of Content Strategy at PayScale Lydia Frank spoke to students on salary negotiation. She advised them to take initiative because, despite the taboo surrounding the discussion of salary, the results are often positive.
“Most people don’t actually know if they’re paid fairly,” Frank said. “It’s not something that’s easy to bring up … Less than half of people have asked for a raise, but if they have, 75 percent got one.”
Wednesday’s workshops focused on the prospects of connections and opportunities with strategies to network and job search successfully.
At the “Master the Job Search” workshop, Elizabeth Atcheson of Blue Bridge Career Coaching gave students a tutorial on how to be realistic regarding career choices.
“If you’re ideal job happens to be something from which there is not much demand, you don’t want to go in that direction,” Atcheson said. “Try to compare your ideal job with fields that are growing, those that need more candidates.”
Later that day, Vice President of Customer Success at KORU Anh Nguyen addressed the challenges and successes of networking in a chosen field.
Nguyen’s principle advice was to, “Give yourself a job to get a job.”
According to Nguyen, that first job is for students to master the networking site LinkedIn and connect with friends and family, and most importantly, alumni from SPU.
Attending senior Michaela Hunter had heard of networking but had never learned of it in-depth.
“I never knew how to do it [nor] … the intricate details of doing it, and this is very helpful,” Hunter said.
During the workshops, students took notes and asked questions of the speakers, demonstrating their engagement.
When asked if she had found the events enlightening, Senior Sharayah Silva said it was helpful to learn how to be comfortable with various possibilities.
“I’m a fashion merchandising major and my dream job is to be an image consultant,” Silva said. “But I don’t know how to get from point A to point B. Learning more about…vocation and how the job you get after college doesn’t have to be like the job.”
Silva’s words brought the theme of Thursday’s “How to BE Who You Were Meant to Be” workshop to the fore.
Philip Jacobs, an author and rap artist as well as President and Founder of Rebel Firm, spoke to students what he called the “journey of self-discovery,” and emphasized the ultimate importance of God.
“You have to let God be your foundation,” Jacobs said. “Your relationship with God is gonna be the thing that’s gives you foresight into what’s gonna happen next.”
Jacobs’ sentiment completes the answer to vocation, which was introduced during the first event.
“When you find something you absolutely love,” said Communications Professor Debbie Pope, “pay attention.”