Last week I received an email from educational company, Webucator that asked if I would write about what I thought the best skills and aptitudes were in order to be successful in the “real world.” As someone who has been there and done that, I jumped at the chance to share my advice and thoughts about the working world.
Guys, I want to say that life post-college and graduate school is all daisies and ice cream sundaes, but it’s not.
In fact, life post-college and graduate school can be hard.
You go into school with an idea of what you want to do with the rest of your life, a goal, a plan, a dream job. You study hard, you get excellent grades and build up a stellar resume. All things that just help to get you one step further in landing that position as a lawyer/doctor/writer/teacher/professional ice cream taste tester (I’m still waiting to hear back from Ben & Jerry’s about my application).
After four (or five or eight) long years of all-night study cram sessions, teeny, tiny dorm rooms, and all-you-can-eat Ramen, you did it. You finally graduated and got that diploma! You got that degree!
It’s something to be very proud of, for sure.
But now what?
All of a sudden, you are faced with an abundance of unknowns.
Where will I work? What will I do? Where do I look? How do I even start? How am I going to pay the looming student loans that are ever so sneakily sneaking up on me?
What if I’m not good enough?
What if I fail?
All of these are things that went through my head at one point in time or another.
I had an idea of what I wanted to do, who I wanted to become, but it was getting there that was the hard part.
When asked about which skills are important in order to be successful in the work place, I can list off a few.
Quite a lot, in fact.
Being a team player.
Creativity and a thirst for knowledge.
Being technology-savvy (or having the ability and drive to learn).
All of these things, and many more are, in my mind and experience, skills that help make you a better and more well-rounded individual.
The one thing however that I really, truly believe is crucial, is necessary, in order to get a job that you not only are qualified for and good at, but that you enjoy and are passionate about?
That one thing, my dear friends is persistence (and a strong faith.)
It took me two years, two very long years after I graduated college to land my first “big girl” job. I spent all day, every day, looking, searching, applying and yes, being rejected. One thing I learned very quickly is to not take rejection personally.
This is a lot easier said than done.
I shed many a tear (and ate many a cupcake) over interviews that weren’t meant to be, emails with the standard “While we were fortunate enough to have had many wonderful candidates, we decided to go with someone else who…yada yada yada…” and phone calls that just reiterated the fact that I should have just become a professional Sherpa.
The second thing I learned was that looking for jobs, applying and putting yourself out there was and is a full-time job in and of itself. You have to be vigilant. You have to go full-on Beast mode on that mother. Just do it. And keep doing it.
A third thing I also learned was that while you may have your degree in Journalism for example, that doesn’t mean that you will get that dream job of being a writer for the NY Times right off that bat. You might not even get a job writing at all.
I just recently graduated with my Masters in Library Science and am working at a consulting firm, doing research for universities. While I enjoy the people that I work with, and it helps pay the bills, I can’t say that I am really, truly happy with what I do.
But you know what?
I’m not giving up.
We all have to go through “those” jobs sometimes before we get the opportunity to do what we really want to do but that doesn’t mean that you will be stuck filing papers or waiting tables forever.
And have faith.
Because you are smart, creative, and have a really bright future ahead of you.
Now what are you waiting for?! Go out there and show your potential future boss who’s, uh, boss! 🙂