Whenever I’m booked to speak to students, no matter the grade or school, colleagues will always joke about telling young people to stay away from the news business. I never do it. Heck, I wouldn’t be a journalist had I listened to some people. Like most other industries, the news business has changed. It isn’t glamorous and can be quite discouraging. But I have never regretted my career choice and still have a passion for journalism.
Passion was the common message among the Career Day speakers this week at Cary Grove High School. I enjoyed talking about reporting for WGN News and getting to know some truly fabulous people in a wonderful community. And the kids asked some good questions about journalism. Most were undecided about future professions. Maybe some will become journalists.
Since I’m a reporter, I couldn’t help posing some questions to professionals in other career fields.
Bill Heche, Palatine Police Department, Crime Scene Technician
Why do you take part in Career Day?
One of the worst things when you get involved in police work is cynicism because you deal with negativity all the time. It’s one of the reasons I like doing stuff like this. You get to deal with kids in a positive perspective. It refreshes your energy and your batteries.
What’s the most fulfilling part of your job?
It’s fundamental. Getting the bad guys is what we all do this job for. I’m not sitting behind a desk 24/7. I get to interact with people. I’m in patrol but I also deal with forensics. I deal with the aftermath. I have to be that person’s advocate. I have to detach myself emotionally from what I’m doing. If I can’t detach myself, I can’t do my job. I flip an emotional switch.
That’s similar to what many journalists have to do.
Sal Napoli, Service and Parts Director at Crystal Lake Chrysler Jeep Dodge
What message do you most want kids to hear today?
Whatever you want to do, do it. Whether it’s being a mechanic or customer service, keep trying to have a drive for it. Don’t do something just because someone else is. Be successful in what you have a drive for.
What is most fulfilling in your job?
I work in service. The most important thing is taking care of people. It can be a thankless job once in awhile because people come in complaining about something. Things are wrong and they’re giving you the negative stuff so we work to turn it around and make it positive.
Did you set out to do what you do?
To take care of customers? Yes. I wanted to help in some way, shape or form. Growing up, my parents said I was always helping somebody else out. I wouldn’t do things around the house but I would go to someone else’s house to help out. It’s what I’ve always done.
Brian Bedo, Play-by-play Announcer and WGN Radio Sports Producer
What message do you want kids to take away from your session at Career Day?