I’m a college student about to graduate from school and start in the workforce. Lately, I’ve been having some second thoughts about my major and about having a regular job. What if I’m not good at it? What if it’s too much pressure? What if I choose the wrong field? What if my boss hates me, and fires me right away? Having a job and being an adult terrifies me, and I’m worried that I’m not up to it. But I do want to have a successful career, and be an independent, working adult. I’ve been so worried about it lately. What should I do?
First things first, every person that has ever donned a collegiate cap and gown has had the exact same fears, thoughts, and anxieties that you are having (whether they admit it or not). Graduation is a scary, but necessary, step in life. There are so many worries for the future— the biggest of them being the unknown.
You hear many people say things like “Oh it will work out” or “Everything will happen the way that it’s suppose to happen”. Though I’m sure these anecdotes are communicated with compassionate and love, they still leave you with no answer. What do I do next?
One of the most important realities of your post-college experience is that you will never, ever get your dream job right away. So many college students come out with their degrees believing that the professional world owes them a six-figure salary, or that a diploma is a golden ticket to your dream job. I want you to take a hit of heroin to that idea, and kill it now.
We live in a culture of entitlement (but please don’t join those who give millennials a bad name). Often, people take jobs they feel are over-qualified for— not because that’s where they want to end up, but because they understand that it’s just a starting place. You need experience.
Another important component of a job search is realizing that sometimes you have to go with the flow. Rarely do people without a specialized degree find a job in that exact field. You will notice when searching for jobs that hardly anyone lists something like “Must have a degree in business to apply”.
Your degree does not define what area you must go into. It’s simply proof that you know how to study, how to analyze, and how to reach a goal. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative and go outside the box. Apply for jobs that might not appeal to you right away. Pay more attention to the job description than the job title; don’t be afraid to try something new!
The only thing more terrifying than the unknown is failure. The fear of failure is what often keeps us from trying. But understand that no business executive, writer, doctor, or anyone with a successful career would be where they are without failure.
Let’s say that you do get a job, and a couple of weeks into it you or your boss realizes that this just isn’t working out. Worst-case scenario, you just get another job. That’s it. Being told “No” or “This isn’t working” is not a sign of weakness, but rather an idea of what to avoid in the future.
Anytime these anxieties come back, run a few of these names in your head and remember that it’s never too late to find what your passion: Vera Wang did not design and sell her first wedding dress until she was 40. Samuel L. Jackson didn’t land a leading roll in a film until he was 43. Stan Lee didn’t write his first comic book until he was 37. It’s never too late to try something new.
So what do we say when our loved ones reach out with the answers of “Oh it will all work out” or “Everything will happen the way that it’s suppose to happen”? We jump feet first into the unknown, don’t let fear dictate our decisions and anxieties, and remember that the work force holds infinite possibilities.