What am I supposed to do now?

My advice to the incoming Class of 2020 at Bentley University

On August 24, 2016, Bentley University welcomed the Class of 2020 to campus during the Convocation ceremony. I was honored to present the keynote address to the students and their families.

Convocation is such an emotional event. There are always tears when the parents say goodbye to their college-aged children. As their parents leave campus and they settle into their dorm rooms or wander their campus, there is a feeling that hits these newly minted college freshmen. The feeling presents itself in a variety of ways: sadness, anxiety, excitement, joy. That feeling is driven by a sense of freedom and independence that these young men and women may have never felt before.

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Bentley University, Convocation 2016, Keynote Address by Jim Pouliopoulos

And, one question is running through their minds: What am I supposed to do now? I gave the students some advice on how to handle that question.

It’s no longer a question of what they are supposed to do. They need to adopt a mindset where they seek self-discovery by asking a different kind of question. I also implored them to spend the next four years learning as much about themselves as they do learning about business and society. You can watch my Convocation address here.

One of the insights I didn’t share during my Convocation address was how to deconstruct a phrase that has caused a lot of debate regarding “doing what you love.”  The statement that seems to get tossed out a lot is: “Do what you love and the money will follow.

While I don’t disagree with the fundamental sentiment behind that phrase but it’s almost like a longer statement that had to be shortened to 140 characters so it could be shared on Twitter.  The statement is missing a lot of “fine print.”

In my opinion, the real message is:

Do what you love doing

       With people you enjoy …

               In an environment that protects your dream …

                       Learning things you want to learn …

                            Making an impact that you care about.

                                         Build a lifestyle based on all of this …

And enough money will follow.

My Convocation keynote address is here. You can watch the entire Convocation ceremony here.

How have you found happiness and career satisfaction?