Open Letter to IPR Graduates

Every occupation is important – even if you feel like sweeping the floors or making the coffee is beneath you. Newsflash! It’s not. The best leaders often lead by example, and even leaders will sweep and make coffee when necessary, so what’s the real problem?

Everyone wants a job where they matter, and everybody wants to make a living doing what they’re best at. This is a tough thing for creatives because most of us don’t start out doing exactly what we’d like. We desire to do great things and we have to have room to be who we are at work… the whole “square peg, round hole” thing works least of all with us. So, how do we survive while making our way to where we’d really like to be?

Christian Blog Photo

Well, first off, there’s no “easy button” to make it happen. Attitude, personal choice and freedom are scary, and most of you probably have come to realize this, but the great thing about the education you’ve gotten at IPR is that you’re prepared. You need to believe this about yourself. Because you’ve chosen a very competitive field to get into, you’ve also chosen one of the very best colleges to prepare you. You may be competing with a lot of other candidates for positions at post houses, recording studios, record labels, Ad Agencies, etc… but you’re ready. You’ve made good decisions so far. The question is, will you take responsibility for your post IPR life, and take advantage of your positive attitude, your personal choices and your freedom? Scary stuff I know, but you’re ready, believe it.

If you need some motivation and encouragement, I’d like to draw your attention to some of the Graduate Success Stories posted to the IPR Alumni Blog (Alex, Grant, Josh, Michael) . Here are a few “announcements” talking about some of the things other graduates are doing as well (Lisa, Kyle). There may only be a few currently posted, but I’ve asked a lot of graduates to take part in these, and you’d be very surprised how huge your IPR network of graduated professionals is. There are graduates working all over the U.S. (some internationally) – if you’re not one of them, contact Career Services. There are so many great things on the Horizon for you, but you’ve got to continue making good choices. Complaining about not having a job yet is not a good choice; get busy and do something about it.

At this point in your history it’s time to take a look at who you are, and where you’d like to be. If at first you thought getting an education was going to be the easy answer, hopefully now you’ve learned differently. It’s rare that IPR graduates walk into a dream job immediately after graduation, but it does happen. And, it happens for those who are prepared, who know they’re ready, and who practice that way of thinking about themselves daily.

One of the biggest mistakes I see creatives make is they often believe there are great industry jobs out there, but, psychologically, they want to assume that those jobs will only be for other people. You’ll do yourself a favor by realizing you too will connect with a job that is a great fit! I’ve personally learned that I can’t look to my circumstances to give me clear information about where my life is headed. If you look around you and say to yourself “I’ll never move forward” or “I’ll never be successful”, you won’t be. But, if you’re honest with yourself, that your current circumstances aren’t breathing life into your dream, then you’ve got a call to action, a choice. Because, if you just lay down and stop fighting, you never will achieve what you’d hoped. Don’t think negative! When you do, you put yourself in the psychological place to fail… Negative self-talk can cause us to believe things about ourselves that simply aren’t true. And you owe it to yourself to give yourself every fighting chance you can. Use your freedom to fuel your positive attitude, so you can continue to make good choices for your career.

Here’s something else to chew on… have you ever considered where you are professionally, at this very moment, is only temporary? Look, I’m just as bad as anyone else at forgetting that, God willing, I have a lot of years of career left, and I really don’t know where I will be further down the road. I never expected to have such an awesome job, and, believe me, I’ve paid my dues. But I know, without question, my life and skillset are in a constant upward motion, because I choose for them to be. You too can choose this.

Look, you’re one of the many people that make IPR such an amazing place for the rest of us. We have a sincere interest in your success, and you will get where you want to be. It won’t be exactly what you thought; it will be better!

You may land in a place that is infinitely better than even you could’ve imagined, and it may be a bunny trail away from your original dream job, but it will fit you better. There’s a funny thing that happens to us as we step into the professional music world; we discover a lot about ourselves and most of us find we have a passion for things we didn’t even know were there for us until the point of entry. If you’re like me, and you’ve got to do something you’re passionate about, something that matters, then be positive as you consider your current circumstances. Just because you can’t see the future doesn’t mean you’re required to be miserable in the now. Stop being a modern stereotype; you don’t have to have instant gratification all the time. Live like these are the first steps on your amazing journey, and lean on your network to help you land in the best place for you. You will surprise yourself!

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