Posted by: Jess Scheve | March 31, 2011

Professional Wisdom from Dr. Seuss?!

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a “professional.”  Does it just involve having a fancy schmancy title at a fancy schmancy job with a fancy schmany company? Or is there more to it than that?

I believe that there is more to being a professional than mere gainful employment… and I can’t very well do a blog about transitioning from student to professional without addressing the “how” of the process, now can I?

The way I see it, becoming a professional is a two part process.

1.) State of Mind. Before you get to the boardroom, you’ve got to start in the classroom. You’ve got to think like a pro, act like a pro and hang out where the pros hang out.  I can’t tell you how to do this, but I can tell you what helps me:

  • Reading the work of people who are smarter and have more experience than me.  If you’re not sure where to start, try Ragan or the Personal Branding Blog.
  • Rubbing elbows with the big shots.  I’m going to the upcoming YouToo Social Media Conference, for instance.  Conferences and seminars are not only great networking opportunities, but they also give you the chance to learn a lot in a short amount of time.  To find some conferences near you try PRSA or IABC.

2.) Landing the job. You’ve studied hard and now you’re ready to go out into the world and make your fortune. This part of the process is much easier said than done these days with scarce jobs and fierce competition.  So what’s a young professional to do?

  • Try starting your own business.  Throughout the past year that I’ve spent in grad school I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the word “entrepreneur.”  With all of the free platforms out there that allow you to create, it seems like there has never been a better time to go into business for yourself.  Intrigued?  Check out this post on Napkin Entrepreneurs.

As far as resumes, cover letters, interviews and networking are concerned I probably can’t tell you anything that you haven’t heard hundreds of times already.  But I do want to leave you with some words of encouragement.

Like many graduates, I received the book Oh, The Places You’ll Go as a graduation gift and I still read it from time to time.  I realize that this isn’t exactly graduate level reading, but I’m convinced that Dr. Seuss’ truths are universal.

Dr. Seuss book titled "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"

"Oh, the Places You'll Go!" By Dr. Seuss

“You can get so confused

That you’ll start in to race

Down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace

And grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,

Headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…”

I know what you’re thinking: “that’s not encouraging at all!”  But Dr. Seuss goes on to explain that this “waiting place” is not where you want to be and that you’ll find your way out and go on to bigger and brighter things.

I guess the moral of the story is that it just takes time.  What I take away from this is that I can’t just sit around waiting for things to happen for me. I’ve got to go MAKE them happen.  If I fail then I’m not really any worse off.  In any case I’d like to believe what Dr. Seuss says in the end of his book: “KID YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS.”

Snowy Mountains

Image by Dey Alexander from under Creative Commons



  1. I think that’s the best way to learn-finding someone (or several people) you admire and observing their professional habits. Great idea Anne!

  2. I cannot agree more with having a professional mindset. It really is half the battle! I think many students graduate without this, unfortunately. Kent’s PRSSA students have been an inspiration to me in the last two years because they seem to develop their own professionalism much sooner than I did.

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