By Molly • Molly Walker • 

First determine who you are, speaker urges

Moly Walker / News-Register
Jim Ramos speaks about career paths to more than 600 high school juniors Tuesday.
Moly Walker / News-Register
Jim Ramos speaks about career paths to more than 600 high school juniors Tuesday.

But as the keynote speaker to more than 600 high school juniors during Tuesday’s Yamhill County Career & College Expo, he urged them to first ask themselves, “Who are you?”

He said that would determine the course of the story. “We’re going to talk about aligning your story with who you are,” he said.

Ramos proceeded to tell a story about a man who lost his arm when he wrecked his expensive sports car.

He first wailed about the loss of his Ferrari. When informed he had lost his arm as well, he cried, “My Rolex.”

That’s because he had his priorities all screwed up.

“The number one question to ask when you choose your career is, ‘Who are you?’” Ramos said.

If he asked students to tell him their stories, they would base their accounts on what they do, he said. But he said, “That’s not what I want.”

He noted how 80 percent of college students change their major. On average, they change it three times.

“Who you are must determine what you do,” he said. “What you do does not define or determine who you are.”

Ramos produced a baseball bat. He said it could double as a zombie killer, according to the movies — this is, if the zombie were hit in the head with the correct part of the barrel, the part known as the sweet spot. “The sweet spot for your life is determining who you are,” he said.

He quoted heavyweight boxing champion Joe Lewis, who said, “We’re all given one life to live, but if we do it right, once is enough.”

“There are no do-overs in life,” he said. “I want to help you live in your sweet spot this morning.”

Happiness in life isn’t determined by the accumulation of “stuff,” Ramos said. “If your goal is just to make money in your career, you’re going to be an unhappy person,” he said.

He said that students should concentrate on five things about themselves when choosing a career path, and he made them easy to remember by using the acronym SHAPE. He said:

S is for what learned skills you’ve acquired. H is for heart — an individual passion, something you love to do. A is for abilities — what you do naturally well. P is for your personality, ranging from extroverted to introverted. And E is for the experiences you’ve had in life.

“Your story is a part of who you are,” Ramos said. He said both good and bad experiences should be used to drive a person’s life.

“When you determine your career path, live in the sweet spot,” he counseled. “Let who you are determine what you do.”

Ramos lives in McMinnville with his wife, Shanna, and three teenage sons.

He worked with students for 27 years before deciding to launch a national men’s rediscovery movement called The Great Hunt for God. He began into the movement full time in June, and already has 14 teams consisting of nearly 200 men meeting weekly in four states.

Ramos was just one of many volunteers who helped with the event, held at the Nazarene Church on the Hill. Chamber President Phil Hutchison said about 200 worked with students in one capacity or another, discussing various careers, conducting mock job interviews and staffing career fair vendor booths.

“I think it’s a great experience,” said Hannah Schmeltzer, a junior at the private, religious-affiliated C.S. Lewis Academy in Newberg. “There’s a lot of information.”

For her, it was reaffirming to hear about aspects of nursing, the career she wants to pursue.

In its fourth year, the expo was co-sponsored by the McMinnville Area Chamber of Commerce, Job Growers, Worksource Yamhill County, Chemeketa Community College and Yamhill County’s public school districts.

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