I turned 22 a month after graduating from college. This was the first time in my life that I didn’t give a shit about my birthday. All I could think about was getting a job.
This might sound silly since it’s been merely a year since I graduated, but when I look back on it now I realize that I totally lost my marbles. One day, I filled out 12 of those long, dreadful, multi-part online applications. It literally took up the entire day and by the end of it I thought my eyeballs were going to pop out of my sockets onto the keyboard. I had such a one track mind that I also forgot to eat. And I NEVER forget about food.
Did I hear back from any of those jobs? Nope, but applying is all I did for months. Sometimes I knew that I wouldn’t hear back but I applied anyway. I did so in the bed, on the couch, at the dining room table, and on the toilet (no shame).
Knowing that I was trying was the only way I slept at night. I was applying for jobs I didn’t even understand, which I now know was a complete waste of time. Sometimes I think it may have been healthier to be on the opposite end of the spectrum: procrastinating by eating, napping and watching an entire season of Orange Is the New Black.
If I had to blame my post-graduation insanity on something I’d say it was all those motivational novels I read. I believe one was called Get Up and Do It. Yikes. I’m going to give that one an A+ for executing its purpose.
You are probably trying to figure out which way I’m going here – be a couch potato or set a world record for filling out applications. How about… finding a little space in between?
Here is the advice I wish I had been given after graduating:
1. Stop worrying about figuring out what to do with your life. Most of all, stop thinking that a career is what you’ll do with you life.
2. Getting a job doesn’t mean you’ve figured it out. So stop thinking that your friends who have jobs already are way ahead of you. If you don’t, mNever settle for something in which you ca
3. Quit applying for jobs that mean nothing to you. If the job description sounds like a foreign language it’s probably not up your alley. Capeesh?
4. Traveling after you graduate is OK. You’re not losing precious time, believe me. If traveling feels right to you, don’t be afraid to do it. Exploring new places is a wonderful way to self- discovery and almost every great businessman whose every written a thing or two will tell you that. Just google it.
5. Working at a coffee shop is also OK. You can make some money while searching for a full time job. Trust me this is more productive than devoting all your time to online applications. Because you are already working, you will feel less pressure to pick the first job you get. This way, you make a rational decision about your first “grown up” position and have a better chance of choosing something you’ll stick with and enjoy.
6. Most importantly, try devoting some time to something new. Try some different things such as rock climbing, guitar, surfing, painting or even writing a blog. Finding new things will get you that much closer to figuring out your passion. I think a lot of us worry too much about finding a passion within a career choice. But, it’s important to do things you love outside of work too. It is always possible to turn passions into careers, but it won’t happen overnight – and not likely within your first year of graduating college.