Does anybody else get blind sided by how fast time flies?
It feels like just yesterday I was finishing finals and moving to Washington, D.C.
The next I'm sipping my
cup of coffee and getting to put my degree to good use at a company I love.
And then you realize It's been 365 days since you walked across the stage and you start to reflect. You reflect because things have changed before your eyes and maybe you didn't even realize it. You reflect because, you've been putting your degree to use and there once was a time this seemed impossible. You reflect on the changes and you realize you have learned a lot.
Here's what I learned:
1. It's okay to say no to a job offer
Say whaaaaat? Yes. I mean this one. If I could yell this off of every rooftop in America, I would. Say NO. Starting your career should be taken as seriously as marriage. You are making a commitment. A company is going to spend time, energy, and money to train you and if you already know you won't be there long time then you are wasting their time, AND yours.
2. It's ok to change your mind
Some people wait until they are 10+ years into their career to finally admit or realize that they don't want to be there. It's ok to change your mind. You may not fit into the picture perfect mold that your college, friends, family have set out for you. So, go back to lesson #1 if you need to. You will thank yourself in the long run.
3. Don't settle
Unpaid internship for no credit? No thanks. A job that sounds like it's perfect but is really selling your soul to design car wraps? No thanks. Know your worth and don't settle for less. You may have to search a few months extra. You may have to take a part time job at a deli to make some money but you do NOT need to settle for a job or internship just because it landed in your lap. Again.... rule #1.
Find industry events in your city - or nearby city and GO TO THEM. Better yet, go to them alone and introduce yourself. Be ready to have your elevator pitch on hand. Get business cards and then email those people. Ask someone to go for coffee. There really is no excuse for not doing something like this. For every time you skip an event there are 10 eager individuals** getting emails and maybe even jobs by putting themselves in an awkward situation.
5. Trust your gut
This is a rule for every day but also for choosing your career. Does that guy who interviewed you seem like he may abuse his power in an inappropriate way? Does something about the company seem a little off? Does everyone at the company seem miserable? Trust that. Turn around. Don't drown.
6. Become ok with being alone
Grab a glass of wine alone. Take a walk alone. Go to networking events alone. Learn to be ok with this because forcing yourself to do these things will prove beneficial in the long run. You will meet people you may never have and more often than not it will be worth it.
7. Embrace the uncomfortable
And learn from it. Figure out why it makes you uncomfortable. Walking into a new job is going to be a tad bit uncomfortable. Meeting new people is going to be a little uncomfortable. Interviewing for jobs is going to be a little uncomfortable. Find the lesson in the uncomfortable moment and maybe next time it wont be as uncomfortable - or at least a little less foreign.
8. Find a way to gain experience
Yes, I know that looking for entry level jobs these days suck. Almost every job seems like it says you need multiple years of experience.
That's because they can.
Your excuse of
"well I just graduated"
isn't working. Yes, it sucks. But there are crazy eager people out there who have been finding internships, part time jobs, volunteering and more to gain experience in their industry. Starting this blog helped me get my job. Accepting a paying internship helped me get my job. It wasn't years of experience but it put me on the map. It gave me a leg up. Do something that shows initiative because it goes a long way.
I have definitely learned a whole lot more than just these 8 lessons. I'd love to know what lessons you've learned since graduating. Tell me in the comments below.
*I'm a coffee addict. Not overworked. Maybe sometimes over tired but I blame Netflix for that.
** Not a real statistic