Alert! More Graduation Advice.

Sometimes, diplomas do not matter at all. So…

Here’s some advice to new graduates. Sorry, kids, it comes with the congratulations and the parties. Parents, relatives and un-relatives alike can eavesdrop here, too, just for fun.

Your diploma will not go looking for a job. A diploma does not take a paycheck home. A diploma never applies to a bunch of colleges and bites its fingernails until the right one answers with an admission letter.

The student who earned the diploma does all that. Do not underestimate the importance of the person holding that piece of paper. It’s as obvious as saying it takes a builder to turn a hammer and a bucket of nails into a house.

An employer, a college or a recruiter will want to know: “Will you do for me what you did in high school to get that piece of paper?”

Your answer should not be “Yes!”

Schools that award diplomas in New York State, whether the standard Regents Diploma or the Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation, say a grade of 65% is good enough to do the job.

Dear Graduate – or parent of Dear Graduate – if you can find an employer who will pay for a 65% job, do not take it. That business is about to go down in flames and it will take you with it.

So here is the quiz question I’ll bet nobody tested you on (this is true whether you have a brand new high school diploma or a PhD):

Q: “What grade do you need to earn every day on the job?”
The answer is totally unlike what worked for you in school. Get ready for it…

A: 100% in everything you do, every day.

That’s why your diploma is not enough. It is the man or woman who earned it that matters. Beyond your willingness to work, it is your character and integrity – your work ethic – not your diploma that will take you where you want to go. Accepting a pay check is your promise to turn out 100% of your best effort every day.

In school, you could blow off a test or skip a day once in a while because maybe it would all average out to a passing, “pretty good” grade at the end of the semester. That thinking could get you a diploma. It won’t keep a job worth keeping.

At least New York’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) diploma provides graduates with a “work-skills employability profile.” Envy that, you Regents graduates.

Wear your diploma with pride this year and accept all the congratulations you have earned. Just understand this: you’ll have to work even harder to keep all the promises most people think your diploma makes.

Never stop learning. Eartha Kitt said, “I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.”

Enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut