The 1967 film “The Graduate” includes a famous scene in which a slick businessman gives terse career advice to the young graduate (played by Dustin Hoffman). “I have just one word to say to you: Plastics! There’s a great future in plastics.”

That scene came to mind during a recent trip to Europe, which Tina and I shared with two other couples. We often posed probing questions, so that the conversations would go beyond politics, the weather, old age and food.

I posed the question, “What career advice would you give to your grandchildren?” The six people in our group of septuagenarians came from a wide variety of careers (writer, speech pathologist, teacher, sporting goods store owner, department store buyer, ad man, admissions director, engineer, arts fundraiser, entrepreneur and on and on); as this list suggests, most of us had followed more than one career track.

Anyway, here are some pieces of advice that resulted from that discussion.

1. Do what you love. With hindsight, that advice is self-evident, but young people sometimes get sidetracked by other allures, such as salary, location, access to potential mates, etc. Or they spend too many years trying to please someone else, such as their parents or partner. In fairness, many of us take years to figure out what we really do love.

2. Bear with the boss — even a bad one. Most everyone has had a bad boss and most of us, at some level, don’t like having a boss in the first place. But having a boss is part of most jobs, and it’s good to be able to suck it up and bear with a bad boss, while trying to do good work (and exploring other opportunities on the side). A related piece of advice: part of your job is to make your boss look good.

3. Always look out for number one — you. Gone are the days when “the company” — or any organization — will look out for you and keep your best interests in mind. As a result, you have to be your own best advocate and career counselor.

4. Be willing to take risks. Always playing it safe seldom works out well in careers or, for that matter, in life. You have to take well-reasoned risks to move up in an organization or to determine what life path will be most fulfilling. At the same time, you can’t be a fickle grasshopper, hopping around from job to job and career to career, while never being willing to put in the hard work to succeed. And that brings us to the next piece of advice…

5. Work hard and be persistent. Anything worthwhile doing takes hard work. That piece of advice, however, can be taken too far, which brings us to the next point.

6. Know what’s important. Don’t sacrifice the well being of your children at the altars of being “successful” or “making money.” Children will sense if they are low on your priority scale, and you might pay the price later in reduced time with them or with your grandchildren.

7. Latch onto good mentors. I was lucky to have had three fine mentors, each one with different lessons to teach. The mentor doesn’t have to be the boss, although that’s the best scenario. Most people like being mentors; if they don’t, they’re probably not worth being mentored by.

8. Get in the habit of saving. Today’s newspapers are filled with stories of people who didn’t — or couldn’t — save enough for retirement.

9. Take occasional time-outs for introspection. What am I doing with my career? My life? Am I just going through the motions? Am I fulfilling my potential? Am I doing something good not just for myself or for my children but for my community and the world? Socrates had it right: “An unexamined life is not worth living.”

Oh, and one last point. Most young people resist unsolicited advice on any matter in my experience. Best to say, “I have some thoughts on X, Y or Z. Want to hear them?” Feel free, though, to send along this article to some of the young people in your lives as an FYI type of thing. Then they can blame me, not you, for intruding in their lives.

David Treadwell, a Brunswick writer, welcomes commentary and suggestions for future “Just a Little Old” columns. [email protected].

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