BIZTIPS - May 23, 2004

Biz Tips: An Employer’s Word to Graduates
Sunday, May 23, 2004
By Art Hill

Anna Quindlen opened her recent Newsweek column with an apology for the pace we’ve set for our soon-to-be graduates.  If they believe our hype, life is all about grades, status money, and toys.  Like Dustin Hoffman’s classic movie character, some graduates are looking for the “off switch,” but the only settings are “fast” and “faster.” 

So graduates, for a few days or even a few hours, stop, turn off the CD player, and make the most of this turning point in your life.  Think about who you really want to be and how you’re going to become that person.  It’s the same thing we do in business to make sure we’re building for the long run and not just chasing the latest fad.  It’s also what we employers wonder when we consider you for a job.  Who is this person? What do they really want?  Does it match what’s important to our team? 

That brings us to what many employers would tell graduates if we had the chance.  Survey after survey lists the qualities we’re looking for.

Our top priority is not a particular technical skill.  We’ll know in a day or a week whether you have it or whether we can train you in it.  Our top priority is not how many years you’ve spent in school, but how much you’ve learned – about yourself, about the world, about life.  No, our top priority as employers is “work ethic.”  That means whether you show up when you’re supposed to; whether you follow through on what you said you would do; whether you care about your customers, your work, your team.   Your technical skills will change and you can learn new ones, but the values that drive your work ethic are built over a lifetime. 

So graduates, we employers do not apologize for anything.  In fact, we reward your work ethic and skill with a career that helps you be who you want to be.  Take an hour, a day, or a week at graduation to think about it.   Congratulations.  We’ll be waiting for you.

Content © 2004 East Oregonian