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Local

LEARN AND LIVE: You’ve got career questions? We’ve got answers

Christopher Heimerman
Christopher Heimerman

Students brought a lot of great questions to the Sauk Valley Media table Friday morning during the career fair at Dixon High School.

I was surprised to find myself explaining the printing process, the paper’s history, and how folks go about putting ads in the paper (many apologies if I misrepresented my colleagues in advertising).

My favorite questions, however, were the ones that when I answered them, the student said something to the tune of, “Oh, duh. I should’ve known that,” which I countered quickly with a confession: When I was a teenager, I didn’t know many of those things they were asking me about, either.

Sure, I’m a newspaper geek now, but, honestly, with all the irons I had in the fire during high school, I didn’t pick up a paper if I didn’t have to.

There’s a much more boilerplate lesson to learn here, though, one that is anything but limited to the newspaper’s operations: It’s OK to not know, it’s OK to ask, and if you don’t ask, you only have yourself to blame.

If you’re like me, you still do it. Something is brought up that you feel you should be aware of, if not be well-versed in, and pride gets in the way. You nod, maybe even smile, as a droplet of sweat trickles down the back of your neck.

Foolish, foolish pride. Let’s try to break that spiral, shall we? Hands in. Go, team.

On a less tangential note, kudos to schools that host such career fairs, and the businesses that make employees available to field questions – perhaps even do some light recruiting. We can save kids and their families a whole lot of time, money and stress if we can help them figure out what they want to be when they grow up – or better yet, what they don’t want to be.

There were a couple of rather frank students who poo-poo’d on my vocation, and that’s perfectly fair. Not your bag? Good to rule it out. Feel free to stop by the police, fire department, hair salon, manufacturing and health care tables to explore your passion, whatever it might be.

There were also plenty of kids who nerded it up with me for a while, practically drinking in the newsprint, hanging on my every word about the process. If you’re a parent who has a kid just nuts enough to want to be a journalist, send them our way. As I told any youngster who’d listen: We love job-shadowers.

It sounds like Dixon High will host the fair every other year, and piggyback on Sauk Valley Community College’s event in the opposite years. We’ll be there.

Christopher Heimerman covers education for Sauk Valley Media and is its enterprise and projects editor. He can be reached at 815-625-3600, ext. 5523, or cheimerman@saukvalley.com.

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