I was recently asked to speak at the local elementary school’s career day. I was tasked with giving a 20 minute presentation to 6 different groups of 10-12 year old kids telling them all about my job and what I do. Kids of any age terrify me…seriously. My general stance on children is: I don’t get them, they don’t really get me, they ask weird questions I don’t have answers for, they’re always sticky. That about sums it up.
So when the guidance counselor contacted me, I was first incredibly honored and then very quickly became incredibly nervous. I can talk all day to grown ups about what I do and my business, but children? What would I say? Would they understand? Would they think it was boring? Would they throw things at me and kick me off stage? I don’t know what mentality 10 year-olds have.
I started to prepare by writing out notecards with different points to talk about. I haven’t filled out notecards since college. I wrote and rewrote several of them. I quickly determined that this was stupid. I decided to grab some promo pens, stickers, and magnets I had and figured I would woo them with free stuff….everyone loves a free pen! I rounded up a few smaller repurposed items that I thought they could relate to (lampshade made from a trash can, chalkboard made from a cabinet door, small upholstered desk chair) and a pile of before and after pics to pass around.
Well, I was a rockstar. In fact, I only had to speak for a few minutes because it turns out, kids LOVE to ask questions. And tell random stories. They asked if I was hiring and agreed to work for pizza. They asked if anyone has ever stolen anything (sadly, yes). They wanted to know how much money I make. And when I asked if anyone had ever painted anything before, I was surprised at how many had painted their room or their old dresser – that’s awesome! So most of my 20 minute time frame for each group was taken up with answering questions. At no point did they seem bored or confused. The lampshade from a trash can was a big hit! When I asked who might want to own their own business someday, there was at least one from each group that wanted to own an NFL team. Not quite the same as a small business, but they have dreams and that’s what counts!
All in all, it was a successful 3 hours and I would definitely do it again!
Today I received a stack of thank-you letters in the mail from some of the kids who listened to my presentation. I was laughing out loud as I read through most of them. Their honesty was refreshing and a humble reminder that I really do have an awesome job and can be an inspiration to others who want to live their dreams. It’s funny to me that sometimes it takes a group of 6th graders to remind me of that….they’re smarter than I realized
Here’s a look at some of the awesome doodles they drew and a few quotes that left me smiling:
“My favorite thing you showed us was the lamp with the trash can as the lamp shade. Your job sounded so interesting, I might want to do what you do some day.” -Megan
I love that one of them signed her letter “Artist and learning, Lainey”.
“I bet you get tired of making stuff for alot of people. How many helpers help you? Do you enjoy working there? Do you take some days off? Do you ever call the cops when something gets stolen?” -Kaylynn
“I think it’s fascinating how you turn random objects into really cool things. I have a really creative mind also. Now I realize that you are a busy person, but if you get the chance, I would really like to hear back from you. Just send it to Dewitt Elementary with my name on it.” -Mary
“I really liked the stuff you showed and I might visit your store in the future and get something.” -Karl
This doodle was my favorite.
“You really inspired me to be a designer when I grow up. I thought that your designs were really awesome! It was really fascinating to hear about your job.” -Alexis
Seriously, how can I not feel good after that? And yes, kids still scare me…just a little less now.