I met up with a good friend recently whom I’ve known since grade 5. Right through high school, Frank and I were always together. After high school in the late 80’s, I went to Mohawk (for my first tour of duty) and he went to Sheridan College/University of Toronto for the then fledgling study of computer animation. After graduating he was offered a position with the CBC to develop their in-house computer animation operations but he turned down their lucrative offer.
He traveled the world working for various studios and returned to Toronto just as computer animation was taking off. He worked his mouse off and built his own animation and production studio employing hundreds of people today. He speaks to students at Sheridan about what to expect in the real world.
He bluntly says don’t just rely on your fresh new skills (Plan A) as a key to success. He reasons that as soon as you leave school, your skills soon become outdated. He tells them that someone in the world will always have better skills. He knows that firsthand; he’s working on setting up a studio in China. He tells the students to deep-six the culture of entitlement and be prepared to offer more to an employer than just a skill. Have a Plan B to help the employer succeed, make money and be more effective. That way you’ll be invited along for the ride.
Frank isn’t running a summer camp; it’s a competitive profit driven business and if you can’t handle it, then try the easier path, like his early other from the CBC. If you can handle it, then soak up all you can and do more than you’re expected to. Before you know it, you’ll be executing Plan C and be well on your way to creating your own destiny being a leader, an entrepreneur or just someone confident and well-rounded enough to weather any challenges that may be on the horizon.
Stay eager my friends!
– Robert Kulig
Computer Systems Technology ‘98