We acknowledge that we live and work on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.
Victoria Faraci is a graduate student in the English Department at the University of Waterloo, currently on a Co-op term as a Communications and Marketing Assistant at the Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre.
My name is Victoria Faraci, and I am a wage slave.
At least I think I was a wage slave. But the worst part is, I think some of you are wage slaves, too.
I hate to start my blog post off negatively, but I want to relay an important message I heard from Larry Smith during his lecture, “So, you want to be a star” on October 23. A wage slave, in its most technical sense, is someone who ‘slaves’ away at a job just for the wage, but not because they truly enjoy it. I know I’ve fallen victim, or…slave, to the wages, but I’m here to try and re-iterate exactly what you missed when Larry called us out on our behaviour, saying, “I’m not insulting you, I’m describing you.”
Think like an entrepreneur:
Once again, I headed out to another event with my colleague at the Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre, Karin Schmidlin. Sitting in the theatre in Modern Languages, Larry started talking, and he took no prisoners. The goal of Larry’s talk was to get students to start thinking like entrepreneurs. It’s time to stand out in the workplace, and to do that, students must begin to ask important questions that demand important solutions.
Early on in his lecture, Larry established that when it comes to the work place, people want to maintain a middle ground; they want to do what needs to be done, earn their wage, and then go home. But guess what? The middle ground is disappearing more and more each year. Do you want to be a 0 or a 1, he asks? “You’re fine with being a 0.5…and that is the problem.”
Have you gotten with the program? Be exceptional, or be a commodity" - Larry Smith
uWaterloo's commanding distinction:
Did you know that in the past 12 months, the University of Waterloo has been in contact with 5,266 employers? That is our commanding distinction, he says. Larry looked out to the crowd, looked us dead in the eyes and said, “why aren’t you doing something about it”?
Larry encouraged everyone to embrace the University of Waterloo network of employers. He challenged students to learn how to use work term placements to help rocket their careers forward by starting to ask themselves important questions while on these placements.
The crowd was in awe as a long list of employers scrolled across the backdrop. It was like we were part of The Matrix, losing opportunities as they flew into another space and time. But we can catch them, Larry assured us.
With the help of many people at uWaterloo, including Howard Armitage, newly appointed Advisor to the President, Entrepreneurship, a list of resources has been compiled to help students become stars in the workplace and develop important problems that they can work to solve!
Larry drove the point home that we must search aggressively, methodically, and strategically by asking questions that many people do not ask, using the most promising tools available. This is how entrepreneurs think.
I’ve watched venture after venture created as the person identified a key problem in their work place [and used it] to extraordinary advantage” - Larry Smith
I think this resource tool could otherwise be called the “be exceptional manual.” At what other point in our lives will we, as students, have bright minds working together, providing us with an electronic resource that lets us in on the secret to a fulfilling career?
For a university that wants us to stand out, to stand up, never aiming for the middle ground, not even stopping when we’ve reached the higher ground, how can we possibly fail when we have people propelling us forward to ensure that we succeed?
Karin introduced me to Larry after his fantastic lecture, telling him I would be preparing this blog post. Larry said, “make it a quality blog”…and Larry, I hope I did just that!