I, much like the majority of you refused to partake or accept any form of “adulting” during college, which is why I was skeptical of adults who constantly had life advice or “wisdom” to impart on me. During my senior year of college, my LEAST favorite piece of “adulting” advice had to be adults (with jobs) telling me not to stress about job searching, quoting that the average person has about 7 different careers throughout their lifetime.
I could have screamed in their faces, but I didn’t because self-control! (does that count as adulting?)
Anyway, living in my college bubble, even one career seemed daunting. I was working my ass off for this one-degree, this one piece of paper that showed a company I was qualified and able to take on my first career. So excuse me when I called bullshit on 7 different careers, that type of life was for the unmotivated and unfocused.
Not to mention I didn’t go to school for four+ years to get a degree in a specific subject to not stick with that career for the entirety of my life. I had a plan, and I was going to keep with it.
The truth is now being two years out of college (yes I am so much wiser now) I only hope that I have the opportunity to experience 7 different careers. And yes I know what you’re thinking; she’s become that exact annoying adult that she hated. But hear me out.
In life and in the working world there are so many opportunities to learn and grow, whether that be within one company, five companies, different departments… I could go on forever, but I won’t. What I am trying to say is in every role you have you are learning, growing, exploring and validating your interests and passions. Which by the way continue to expand and change over time, so naturally it just makes sense that you won’t have the same career forever. And that should be exciting!
But let’s step back for a second, how did this all happen, why do we have this unrealistic thought process when it comes to job hunting and finding our dream job right out of college?
College, at least where I went, pushed, I mean displayed, their rankings and statistics to all students — saying “98% of our students are either employed or in grad school 6 months after graduation”, “the average salary for our 2016 class is 50K a year”, “X number of graduates are employed by the big four accounting firms” and it goes on and on and on…
While these may be great marketing tactics for prospective students and parents looking to send their child to the promise land, these numbers are terrifying to seniors and make many graduating students feel overwhelmed and defeated. I was there, second semester, senior year, unemployed, unsure of what career I wanted, what company I wanted to work for or where I wanted to spend the rest of my life. And I had to figure it out, and fast because I so wanted to be part of that statistic. I couldn’t fail in the eyes of my university or be lesser than the entirety of my predecessors. No thanks – I was better than that.
Yet two years later and I’m here to tell you it’s all a bunch of BS — screw them. First of all, those numbers are based on a voluntary survey sent to all recent graduates. Naturally those folks in high paying jobs, feeling like a big shot will want to boast and brag about their great opportunity, but much like the surveys you’ve all sent around begging people to take, a good chunk of people are just plain too lazy to take it, or are in some cases may be too ashamed to share that they haven’t found the right fit yet, aren’t getting paid very well, or decided to take an internship right out of college.
So say it with me again, it’s all a bunch of BULLSHIT.
All that matters is what you want. Take longer to find the right fit, find a first job that’s going to give you experience, and the ability to get your hands on a whole host of different responsibilities, that’s when you’ll start to hone your interests.
And if that means taking an internship right after graduating, go for it. Think of it as one of those 30 day – money back guarantee trials. You show up, absorb as much information, skills, and experience as possible and start building your dream job with the responsibilities and skills you like the best. If a full time offer doesn’t come from it, fine you have more experience and a better sense of direction, if it does, decide if it’s what you really want, if not the world is your oyster.
Or if you’ve been given an amazing, out of this world opportunity that you just can’t pass up I encourage you to go into it with an open mind. Show up, learn, listen, and get a feel for the things you like or don’t like because guess what you are NEVER stuck, you can leave, you can decide you made the wrong decision and you can and will move on. Better yet, you can decide 2 months in that it’s not the right fit, and find something better suited for you. That’s OKAY!
My point is don’t get so wrapped up in the statistics, and path to success, and right vs. wrong because we are all human we all have different needs, wants, passions, and we will all have different paths to success.
Uncertainty is ok, test the waters knowing nothing is permanent, have an open mind, always learn, ask questions, take opportunities and don’t stop until you can honestly say you have your dream job. Trust me it’s out there for everyone it just takes time to get there & the best part, if it’s not “out there” we live in a world where you can create it.
So continue to apply, and see what’s out there, but don’t stress, the right opportunity is just around the corner if you are willing to see it.