I recently had the privilege of being asked to be the guest speaker at the Sprott-Shaw Community College graduation ceremony and share some advice with the new graduates on starting their new careers.  They even gave me this cool Inukshuk for coming!  And check out the video at the bottom of the post.

Over the years, I have worked with many students and grads and I have three main pieces of advice that I feel are neccessary when setting out on their new paths.


Build your brand with integrity.  Do what you say you will do.  The best advice that I ever received was during my first year after I graduated college.  It is one that I remember every day and share whenever I can.

No matter how many great things you do or amazing things you say, the one time that you slip up and are devious, mean, or just blow up at someone – THAT is what they will remember you for.  In business and in relationships.  It doesn’t matter how many nice things you say, they remember when you hurt them.

So always be on.  Always be kind and have integrity in everything you do.


Cherish this opportunity to actually be able to build a career and to be in control of your future.  You are in an economy that is constantly changing and you have made the right decision in preparing yourself through education.  But remember that knowledge is not the most important thing.  Appreciate those around you and do everything you can to bring a smile to someone’s face each day. Ask questions and listen. 

You have the opportunity each day to create your destiny.  What do you want your future to look like?  I always say that you should take the time and envision yourself as the employee or person you aspire to be in five years.  Start acting like that person now.  Fix in your mind the behaviours, values, and relationships that person has and work TODAY to create them.

And remember that when you are dealing with challenges, you can’t affect what has happened up until this point – you can only control how YOU react in the moment.

My challenge to you:  Can you try and make one person smile or laugh each day? 


Don’t take yourself so seriously.  So many people are way too serious.  Sure there will always be lots to do, and we will always be busy, but find a way to make it fun!  Make this journey exciting!  You will spend the majority of your waking life at work, so make it something you enjoy.

  • Have a desk full of paperwork?  Make it a game to get it completed and celebrate that victory!
  • Have a great conversation?  End it with a high five!
  • Did someone do a great job?  Take them for lunch and thank them.  Share a laugh.

The world will keep spinning and there are enough grumps already to say it is spinning too fast.  Don’t be one of them.

And if you are stuck for ideas, call me. 

Here are 5 FUN new job tips:

  1. The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one.
  2. Don’t be irreplaceable, if you can’t be replaced, you can’t be promoted
  3. You can go anywhere you want if you look serious and wear a lab coat
  4. The only job where you start at the top is digging a hole
  5. If you are upset about something at work, definitely post it on Facebook to vent – especially if you have added your boss as a friend.


Go and make your mark on the world.  What will you want to be remembered for?

Joe Girard
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