Congratulations on being enrolled in Texas A&M University’s WFSC, truly one of the most prestigious and respected colleges in the world! You have demonstrated the ability to make the transition from high school to college along with all the associated challenges. In this new phase of your life, you have shown an interest in our vast natural resources with hopes of a career that will further enhance our resources as well as providing support for yourself.
The protection and sustainability of our natural resources begins with the education phase followed by the management phase. The research phase can never sleep due to the constant barrage of changes in our ever-changing society. The past best management practices, developed by research and implemented in the field, may no longer be the best as adaptations of the resources themselves cannot sleep as well. Therefore, it is important for students to begin acquiring the tools that will enable them to make a difference while remaining gainfully employed.
As a humbled and privileged member of this Legacy Committee, I would like to reach out to you with various ideas on your future employment. As a biologist, the world of our natural resources is simply fascinating to me and I continue to find it incredible how nature adapts to survive. However, as a business owner, for over 36 years, I have also had to adapt to survive. Being fortunate enough to have found a career dealing with certain aspects of our natural resources, by far, the most challenging aspect of my career has been learning business. Oh, if I could only do it again and take some business courses! So, hindsight is always 20/20 and I took my education and applied it along with hard work. Then after about 8-10 years, luck came along and the learning and hard work started paying off. Yes, there were many long, sleepless nights of doubt, questions of my sanity, driving a 14 year old truck and living on TV dinners and pot pies. Regardless, I made a commitment promising to give it my all and ride the horse until it fell. Thankfully, that horse is still alive and kicking! A career requires that type of commitment while just a paycheck is the easy way out.
Experience is everything and perhaps the best way to land a good job is to participate as an intern during summer breaks. An intern program allows you to become acquainted with a particular type of business and helps you determine if this is something to pursue. It also provides an opportunity to showcase your skills and gives the business an opportunity to evaluate your work. Should the stars align on both sides, you will become that first-round draft pick and have a much better chance of landing a full-time job with more than starting pay.
Understanding how the business world works and the skills you are expected to have will give you an edge in landing that first full-time job. You see, what many students don’t realize is that college IS your first full-time job and education and preparation for your future IS your paycheck. Yes, it’s sometimes hard to get by and peer pressure is constant. But, a successful, long-term career mindset is what you have to set sight on. Otherwise, you may be destined to a life after college of job-hopping and living day to day. These and many more are the cold hard facts and I see it every day. And, from our natural resource’s perspective, who would you rather have in your corner to help protect and enhance the myriads of diverse species – someone paid minimum wage or someone who has been blessed by our finest educators and researchers?
As a business owner, we are always looking for individuals who can demonstrate the skills and abilities to become successful. A
degree gets you in our door and puts you first in line for an interview. Once employed, we evaluate performance annually to determine how well you did your current job and the potential you have to move up the proverbial corporate ladder. We consider many things such as attendance, creativity, dependability, quality of work and productivity. But, withouta doubt, what I consider to be most important is an employee’s initiative, drive and the ability to learn quickly. An employee’s ability to communicate both written and orally with other employees as well as clients is also paramount. Arriving to work on time is important, but the employee who arrives 15 minutes early and has the willingness to stay late is who catches my eye.
The multidisciplinary approach of WFSC covers a huge range of natural resource conservation disciplines and provides many opportunities for students to choose their field. You are the future and our resources need your help more than ever. And, with the new WFSC building located in the Agriculture and Life Sciences Complex nearing completion, students will have the best of the best in education and technology. Please join us for the Grand Opening on Friday, 15 September 2017. Good Luck in all your future endeavors!
Mac McCune, President
Lake Management Services, L.P