Book Review: 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Graduated

Book Review: 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I GraduatedI met Justin Driscoll a few months ago and was intrigued by one of his job functions. Basically, he speaks at colleges and universities across Pennsylvania to motivate and educate the students with regard to their career. How cool is that to go back to school but as an expert, still relating to the people you are speaking to, to help them figure out what they want to be when they grow up?

I finally got my hands on his book 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Graduated and just finished it last night. From his blog you can see what the seven things are:

  1. Meeting The Need
  2. Real Life Work Experience Matters More Than Textbooks
  3. Willingness To Relocate = Finding A Job Faster
  4. Innovative Employees Are Invaluable
  5. Integrity and Character STILL Matter In Business
  6. Those Who Aren’t Afraid to Change Will Never Be Unemployed
  7. Find Your Passion and Not Your JOB!

Here’s why this book is so different than anything that I have read so far: its written for the student. I realize that all the books that I’ve reviewed, or will review, should be read by students, but this book is literally written for the kid that doesn’t have a clue (scared of the real world, or still thinks they are going to teach all of us old geezers what the real world really is ;))

Justin spends his professional life talking in this forum, meeting with HR and hiring managers, and helping these kids, and it really comes across in his book. He writes things that I never really thought about, and understands the “what do you want to be when you grow up and how do you get there” space better than I do. You see, I kind of always knew what I wanted to do, so I’m not sure how I would have accepted this book. But, as a parent (and a mentor) I would recommend this book to any one that’s between a junior in high school and college graduation.

Justin’s personal stories, passion and observations make this a fun, light read that is quite easy to get through. Forget the corporate or business speak, this is written on the level that a high school kid with an interest in “what’s next” can devour (its a short read). The mix of philosophy, tactics and motivation all contribute to the flavor of this book. He carries the ideas and motivation forward regularly on his blog.

If you get this book for someone like that I recommend that you read it also and then use it as a starting point for dialogue. Perhaps this will be one of the answers to getting kids out of the house before they turn 30 🙂 🙂

So let’s use this as a starting point – is there anything that YOU wish YOU knew before you graduated?

5 thoughts on “Book Review: 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Graduated”

  1. Hey Jason, good resource. I wish one of the things I knew before I graduated was that I wasn’t going to be a career naval officer. Working on transisitoning to civilian life before I graduated might have been helpful. 😉

  2. What I always tell High School and College kids is that they have the best opportunity in the world right now and they’ll lose is as soon as they graduate.

    That opportunity is to work as an intern. Even the hardest company to get a job at has interns and is usually looking for a few more.

    It is the best way to get a feel for the “real working world” generally, and that company, specifically. It is real world experience that will help you more than your education.

    What’s more, if you don’t like the company that you’re interning for, you can change companies every 6 months without anyone thinking badly of you. If you like the company that you’re interning with after 6 months, just stay on and let them get used to you. When you graduate, there’s an excellent chance that you’ll get a job there.


  3. Hi Jason,

    Excellent question!

    I can think of a lot of things – but possibly the most important one follows:

    As a military guy, I met and worked with a pile of folks over the years that I should have maintained contact with. What I did not know then, and do know now, is that networking is a life long activity.

    And no one was wise enough to tell me.

    Or, if they did I was too foolish to hear them!

    I was a slow leaner – but I have made up for it in a big way.

    I have been fortunate enough to meet and work with everyone from the local mail carrier to singers, actors. big business folks, politicians and royalty – and absolutely everything in the middle. I let nearly every one of those contacts go to waste because I did not know better.

    It would not have taken much to maintain this contact and who knows what might have transpired. There may not have been any career prospects, but I know for sure that a few of those people would have made very good friends.

    Case in point:

    I was working at a rather dead end job in western Canada when I retired from the Air Force. The lady who was responsible for keeping the building clean was polishing the floor in the entrance to our office one night. I stopped to chat with her for a minute. Her name was Judy. We had always sort of nodded as we passed in the hallway. This time we each had a few minutes and neither of us was in a hurry – so we ended up chatting for almost half an hour.

    It turned out she had a friend who had a friend who was looking for some simulator test pilots for an international based firm. I got the name and within three weeks I was on my way to Hanau and my first assignment.

    You just never know who might know someone or something – that can – at a minimum – start you on a new path – or enhance your present path. So now I make a point of talking to as many people every day as I can – if only to say hello or ask after the family – and a big one – once I know them a little better, I always put them on my contact list.

    I still work with military folks and I always tell this story to the newbies and encourage them to start early and keep at it. Never judge the contact by the job they are doing – it may be what they are doing now, but it for darned sure may not be what they are!



  4. Oops – one other thing I wish I had known before I graduated – education is a life long thing.

    I just could not wait to get out of school and get a job and be cool.

    If I had known this before I graduated – I would have been a better student!

    Really, I would have – yes, really – I would have. Honest!! ;->

    Have a good one folks.


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