September 2014

As chief elected officer of the Society, ASSE's president promotes the advancement of the Society and the safety profession, and represents ASSE before members, other relevant professional societies and various governmental agencies. Professional Safety shares his latest thoughts on the Society, the profession and its practice.

Read past messages in the President's Message Archive.

President's Message - May 2004

ASSE is your connection to a team of highly skilled, motivated, passionate and dedicated professionals- in other words, the perfect career partner.

2003-2004 ASSE President James "Skipper" Kendrick, CSP

On Your Career

People spend nearly 75 percent of their time involved in work, yet many report being unhappy doing what they do. That's a lot of time spent just "going through the motions." When asked what it is they don't like about their work, many respond-somewhat wistfully-that what they do simply isn't fulfilling, that they really want to do something that matters to people and the world.

When your life's work is fulfilling and personally rewarding, you grow with your career and you enjoy a continued sense of satisfaction and achievement. Benjamin Fairless, former chair of U.S. Steel, identified four essential ingredients for success: Choose a career you love. Give it the best there is in you. Seize your opportunities. Be a member of the team. Let's take a closer look at each ingredient:

  • Choose a career you love. The safety profession is devoted to protecting people, property and the environment. It's hard not to love such a noble pursuit. It gives you a great sense of achievement when what you do helps people return home each day free from pain and injury.

  • Give it your best. If you love what you do, it fires a passion within you to consistently perform at the highest level. For SH&E professionals, this passion is directed toward driving hazards out of the workplace; toward providing knowledge and skills to protect fellow employees; and toward showing how injury/illness prevention can improve business performance.

  • Seize all opportunities. These opportunities can arise at any time. Be prepared to respond by developing and honing the skills, tools and knowledge that will propel you toward greater success, fulfillment and passion.

  • Be a team player. Helping others stay safe on the job is the ultimate team sport-it requires that everyone work together, look out for and care about each other. As an ASSE member, you belong to another team-a team of 30,000 other professionals who share common values and beliefs, as well as that undying passion to prevent injuries and illnesses. These teammates are eager to share, mentor and guide you toward success.

Consider, as one example, the success of Jerry Ray, ASSE's 1997-98 President. He was the first charter student member to become Society president. In an article about his career, Jerry notes that "when you get your first paycheck and your employer adds your expected retirement date, you think that is a date that will never come. But it will and to get there requires planning, planning, planning." He continues, "Plan where you want yourself positioned in five to 10 years, then prepare yourself accordingly to make it happen. Understand that without the proper education, work experience and an open mind to do whatever it takes, the plan is not going to come together. I got involved with safety professionals in college and after graduation my mentors in industry guided me along."

Now consider the potential for future success. Jay Braffett is a sophomore at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. His educational journey has only just begun, but he is already thinking beyond graduation. "What is the value of a master's degree? What degree will best position me for success? What are current professionals with varying skill sets and levels of education earning at this time? What is the potential for growth?" With answers to questions like these and assistance from ASSE and his student section, Jay is forming a solid plan for his future.

You are in charge of your career. Do you have a plan? If so, ASSE stands ready to help you execute it and achieve success. If not, ASSE has many career resources to help you define your plan, and willing mentors ready to help you implement and refine it. ASSE is your connection to a team of highly skilled, motivated, passionate and dedicated professionals-in other words, the perfect career partner.

James "Skipper" Kendrick, CSP