Three punches to the face. That is what I saw about half way through my talk with a group of high school students about getting a job or starting a business. Luckily, that was not the attitude of the class.
The reason I am talking to the students is it is an effort to pair successful professionals with disadvantaged kids to share experiences about working in the corporate world and as an entrepreneur.
Initially we talk about how to get a job. Next we discuss how to interview. They ask about how to get a job without having experience. We talk about the skills and attitudes that are attractive to employers. Getting your first job is hard if you don’t believe you have much to say; however, surprising there is a lot that can be said about high school experiences and some of the leadership role opportunities.
During my talk, two kids stand out to me – and they are not the ones in the fight. Both are African-American boys dressing for success. They wore dark dress pants, a white crisp long sleeve button up shirt and tie. They are attentive, asking questions, sharing their knowledge and opinions.
These two boys were a stark contrast to the fight that erupted in the class. They were a cut above the other students too – for one reason – both of them had the right attitude. It did not matter what level of engagement the rest of the class had, they were all in.
No matter if you are applying to your first or any job afterwards, attitude is something you can control. Many companies hire attitude first, skills second. It is far easier to develop skills than to change a poor attitude.
These two kids will go a long way in their careers. They may come from a similar background as the other kids, however, there is something in their soul that shouts out they will be successful.
There is so much we can learn from kids.