Cpl. George Henrie’s frankness about the benefits of joining the RCMP was refreshing.

He didn’t talk so much about the nobility of the role or describe it in emotional terms, but simply laid out that it has incredible perks: relocation pay, generous pension, free housing, free vacations, job security.

A lot of us like to talk about the sentimental reasons we follow our careers, but the reality for most is that it’s an economic and quality of life decision.

But if we are talking non-monetary factors, Henrie has had a pretty cool career. Besides the regular police work, he spent more than a decade as a bodyguard and driver for Prime Ministers Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau, as well as their families. The experiences he must have had, no doubt locked away for none but him to ever hear, must have been amazing.

Though he did not share the compensation details of those roles, there’s little doubt he had housing, meals and travel provided while following the prime ministers around the world. People save up for years to be able to experience other countries, while folks like Henrie got paid to do it, as well as the opportunity to rub shoulders with a network few can experience.

And he wasn’t great in school, admittedly. But what allowed Henrie to succeed was hard work and a determination to keep moving forward. That can be all one needs for many careers, as the value of formal education is overblown in Western culture. Take journalism – no one needs a degree to do this, only the will to go out and tell other people what’s going on.

With Henrie’s lifetime of experience, he is completely in charge of his life now. He’s chosen to lead the Nunavut RCMP recruiting unit, but he could probably throw a dart on a map and be just fine financially and career-wise wherever he ended up. That’s the dream.

A high number of students are graduating in the Kivalliq this summer. There’s a lot of dream this, dream that in terms of the impact graduates could make in the world. That’s all well and good, and there’s no better age for that special kind of motivation to take hold.

But a real dream we’re all chasing is getting to a place where we don’t have to work, where we don’t have to let anyone else dictate our lives and how we spend our day.

Henrie, who grew up in Rankin Inlet, figured it out.

Even those who aren’t graduating this year, or squeaked by with some rough grades, should look to him as an inspiration, regardless of any interest in joining the RCMP. He made himself a career, and that’s within everyone’s power to do too, and it’s bigger than one’s performance in school.

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