Ryan the Playground Expert spoke to a group of job-seeking undergrads.
A non-profit organisation called Talent Link invited me to speak to a group of undergrads on the topic of “Do a job you love over a job you can do”.
As I am a local children’s book author, the best way to introduce myself would be through my books.
“Hmm, which book should I read out?”
I settled on Ryan the Playground Expert (finalist in Singapore Book Awards 2016). Although it may seem odd to read a picture book aloud to adults, I’ve learnt from experience that it captures attention, entertains the audience, while effectively getting my message across. Besides, we should never pass up an opportunity to remind adults of the most creative and carefree period of their lives—their childhood!
In the midst of the talk, I realised that Ryan is a good career counsellor. I never knew that! You learn new things about your book characters all the time. It’s almost as if they’re alive!
These are the lessons I learned from the Playground Expert about choosing a career:
- Know your passion—Ryan was clear about his goal; he wanted to visit all the playgrounds in his country.
- Work hard—It was hard work visiting many playgrounds, but Ryan did it. He also kept notes and reflected on his experiences.
- Explore different aspects of your passion—Ryan didn’t restrict his visits to playgrounds for his age group; he also explored senior citizens’ fitness stations and babies’ playzones. In the workforce, employers appreciate cross-disciplinary experience.
- Accept help—Ryan needed his mum and dad to fetch him to playgrounds. They were glad to help. In your career, there will be people who’re willing to help you too.
- Maintain your responsibilities—Ryan kept up with his parents and baby brother. Some people can be very career-driven, but pursuing work-life harmony will help promote social and psychological health.
Oh, and did I tell you that Ryan operates from a wheelchair? He did not let muscular dystrophy hamper his passion. He looked beyond his limitations and eventually became an expert in his own arena.
You can too.