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Post-Secondary Education

Six Famous Quotes About Starting Your Career

Clock5 min. read
byVexxit Staff onJuly 04, 2020

No matter what path you plan on your career taking, we all have something to learn from the most successful creators and businesspeople of the generations before us. Keep this wisdom in your back pocket as you build your career and your business.

Congratulations, graduate! As you stand at the threshold of real life, it feels like the right moment to impart a bit of wisdom. Which frankly, is a lot of pressure, so we’ve rounded up some of our favourite profound bits from great commencement addresses in history.

Steve Jobs, Stanford, 2005

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary… Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”

Tina Fey, Fieldston School, 2008

“The first rule of improvisation is…agree.  Now obviously in real life you’re not always going to agree with everything that another person says… But the thing about the rule of agreement is that it teaches you that second part of it which is to respect what your partner has created.  I think that leads you to a great open minded starting place.  To start with a “Yes” in all your interactions…and then see where that takes you.”

David Foster Wallace, Kenyon College, 2005

“There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?” It is about the value of a real education… awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time.”

Oprah Winfrey, University of Southern California, 2018

“Your job is not always going to fulfill you. There will be some days that you just might be bored. Other days you may not feel like going to work at all. Go anyway. The number one lesson I can offer you where your work is concerned is this: Become so skilled, so vigilant, so flat-out fantastic at what you do that your talent cannot be dismissed.”

Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, Lake Forest College, 1977

“My uncle ordered popovers. From the restaurant’s bill of fare. And, when they were served, he regarded them with a penetrating stare. Then he spoke great Words of Wisdom as he sat there on that chair: “To eat these things,” said my uncle, “you must exercise great care. You may swallow down what’s solid but you must spit out the air!” And as you partake of the world’s bill of fare, that’s darned good advice to follow. Do a lot of spitting out the hot air. And be careful what you swallow.”

Larry Page, University of Michigan, 2009

“I think it is often easier to make progress on mega-ambitious dreams. I know that sounds completely nuts. But, since no one else is crazy enough to do it, you have little competition. The best people want to work on the big challenges.”


One big challenge many graduates face is how to manage a new level of financial responsibility. My advice, although it may not be as eloquent as the speakers above: connect with an expert who can inspire you to achieve the financial future of your dreams. 

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