Hi there. Will you hire me?
I am happy to say that the snow gods came through last week and brought me not one, but two snow days. Granted, as a graduating senior, I don’t have a very busy class schedule, anyways, but the snow days allowed me some extra time to catch up on homework and start working on tasks unrelated to homework, like looking for jobs.
Now, I know this entire series of blogs is supposed to be about my experience transitioning into the real world anyways, and, if you’ve been reading my posts, you know by now that I am terrified of that unknown. But I thought it might be helpful for me to really define to you the way I see the world right now, because as I start looking more and more thoroughly at the different career paths I could take, I’m slowly beginning to realize the serious generational myth that I think many of us were raised on:
There is no perfect job.
There really isn’t. Does this sound like something I should have known before now? Certainly I’m not the only one whose never thought about this before. Think about it: how many times in our lives have we gotten the question, “What is your ideal job?” ‘Ideal’ shouldn’t really be synonymous with ‘perfect’ but I think in many of our minds it is. We begin to build this fantasy in our minds of what we’ll do and how much we’ll get paid and how great our coworkers and bosses will be and how amazing the architecture of our work buildings will be and how we’ll get paid vacations spending months on end in cool first-world countries and resorts abroad. It’s like 99% of my celebrity crushes: in my mind, here are all of these handsome men that sound so smart and suave on screen and in interviews, and I’m sure that if I met them in real life, I’d be disappointed with almost all of them (maybe not because they themselves are bad people, but just because they wouldn’t be what I imagined them to be). Jobs and careers are the same way.
For most of our lives (‘our’ as in soon-to-be and recent college grads), we’ve been fed two strong and conflicting ideas: 1) the job market is horrible, and you better thank your lucky stars you’re even getting a job offer, and 2) If you can dream it, you can achieve it.
Except that neither of those are true.
Sure, the job market sucks, but jobs have always been, and they always will be, competitive. If you don’t work at what you want or need, you won’t get it, end of story. Sometimes even when you work at something, it doesn’t work out. But you have to move on anyways. And if something isn’t what you want, keep looking. Pay the bills, but keep looking. Which brings me to that second point: just because you dream something doesn’t mean that it will happen, or that it will happen right away. You have to build your dreams, work at them from the ground up, and don’t expect too much. If you plan out every detail about your future, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment. In my short observance of people out in the real world, I’ve learned that sometimes things come to those who wait. So if you’re smart about your finances, and the first thing that comes available to you doesn’t feel right, don’t take it. Keep your goals in sight.
But this is a bit of a digression, because the real issue with the ‘if you dream it, you can achieve it’ slogan is that many of us have been laughed at for our dreams. We’ve been told they are impossible, or too competitive, or impractical, so we don’t strive for them. We settle. Or conversely, we refuse to settle and end up unemployed for years on end because we see anything as less than the ideal as below us. Sometimes working for that dream and building it from the ground up means taking that office job to pay the bills, or working at a coffee shop during the day, or living at home until you find something that will allow you your own place. And, I think if you are really determined to reach your goals, that none of these things should be seen as beneath you. (Just try not to live with mom and dad for too long, okay?)
I guess the real reason I’m saying all of this is because who knows where I’ll be in three months. Nearly a straight-A student in college with several honors and awards on my resume, along with two internships and several leadership experiences, and I might still be that kid who lives at home for months before finding a job. It’s just that kind of a world. And I realize this all might sound contradictory, but that’s simply because this whole competitive job market thing is a confusing place. My whole life I’ve been told I need to go to college, and I wanted to go to college, and then I get here, and I’m told that college doesn’t make me a competitively-qualified job candidate anymore, and that I’m going to have to settle for the types of jobs that will never pay off tuition costs and college bills. On top of that, you’re thrown out into the real world of independence, trying to pay bills and find a place to live, learning how to keep track of finances and pay taxes. It’s an utterly mind-boggling time. It’s frustrating, too, because everyone thinks they know exactly what you need to do, or how you should do it, or how you are generational-ly flawed, and how those qualities will only work against you in the job market.
And you know what? To all of that, I say this: Whatever. I’m going to go out, find something I at least like doing (if I don’t love it) and then I’m going to work towards building a life that I love. Because the perfect job doesn’t exist, but one (or a thousand, because let’s face it, we’re all going to hold several jobs (probably) throughout our lives) that provides me the ability to make a life that I love does exist.
So here’s to building dreams and working towards goals, finding OK-jobs and loving our lives. Here’s to experiencing.
Until next Monday,