The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

Annual Commencement Address: Your Life’s Work Should Have A Sense Of Purpose

On June 3rd, 2013, posted in: Uncategorized by

You’ve heard the old adage: “don’t split hairs.” One usually turns the phrase in an argument with a spouse. You may also hear it when the boss has an idea that he wants pushed, yet there are major gaffes in the execution for his plan of attack. You try to tell him of the “holes in his cheese” and he responds with “don’t split hairs.”

Well, I recently read something that split hairs and I loved it. The author was Mr. Carl McCoy, and what he had to say created one of those “should have had a V-8” moments. Here’s my own rendition of what Mr. McCoy had to say and, as is the case about this time every year, this will serve as my annual commencement address to graduating seniors:

People are usually encouraged with the advice to do something they love. Thousands of graduates across this great country adorn their caps & gowns every May, parade into a cavernous auditorium with atrocious acoustics and listen intently to some dude or dudette telling them to “do what you love.”

Well, here’s a sobering thought: being paid for your passion probably isn’t good enough. Sure there are a few of you who will make tap dancing a career, but most of you will have to do something else to pay the bills. “Doing what you love” may not be enough. Three part-time jobs, unpaid bills, no medical insurance and living in your parent’s basement in order to be a sculptor of modern art probably won’t be very rewarding for very long. Being impoverished in the name of “doing what you love” is a trying path for sure.

Let’s split hairs. How ‘bout doing meaningful work with love as the consequence? (I wish I had thought of that, but Mr. Carl McCoy gets all the credit.) There are a lot of jobs out there that, upon their completion, have obvious benefits to society – some less obvious than others. First responders or social workers obviously make the world a better place. So does working in a cooperative venture like a credit union or food co-op.

“Love” may not be the word used to describe any of these jobs under certain circumstances, but “a sense of purpose” better captures the reason for our choice of careers.

As a credit union guy, there is not much glamour, and certainly there are many, many things about what I do that I don’t love. But at the end of the day, what I do serves a purpose. Because I chose to work in a credit union, I get the opportunity to wake up every day and set out to “increase people’s standards of living and better their lifestyles.” That, my friends, is purposeful and I love it.

So, to all the 2013 graduates, do something with purpose and have a passion for it. You’ll learn to love it because it is meaningful and makes a difference.

No Responses to “Annual Commencement Address: Your Life’s Work Should Have A Sense Of Purpose”

Leave a Reply