The Emerald Girl

casual. classic. curious.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Letter to Recent Grads

Dear Graduates (specifically business school grads),

I am writing this letter because I too was once a business school graduate with grand ideas about what I wanted for my career. I felt the rush and the anxiety of finding a new job in the wide, wide world. There were tears. Many tears. And then there was so much joy when I landed that first "dream" job.

My biggest priority in my initial post-grad job hunt was location (downtown). Secondly, I wanted to be involved in "big, exciting business". Real vague, whatever that meant. I did not want to work in insurance but that is apparently a thriving industry in my city. After awhile of searching job boards, I thought I needed a different approach. I thought about walking around downtown with a big sandwich board that read something like, 'recent grad, hire me, please'. Eventually, I turned to Google maps. Genius idea. Not all businesses post their open positions elsewhere so I needed to actually find the companies and search their websites for jobs. This method worked much better. I was also able to see exactly where the company was located and what they did. I literally just started applying at every single job that I thought I was even remotely qualified for. My mom likes to call it the "shot-gun effect". A few days after applying I would usually try to call and talk to the HR department. Let me say that getting ahold of an actual HR person is a lot harder than it sounds.

Interviewing was usually a piece of cake. After all, I had some experience from working an administrative job in college. It was after the interview stage that I started to lose my mind. I wanted a job so bad, I could taste it. It was all consuming. I would replay the entire interview in my head over and over and over again thinking there was no way that I wouldn't get that job. I answered all the questions perfectly. Ugh, that game, what a joke. But after awhile, I stopped putting all my eggs into baskets. It became less stressful.

Finally, a couple of months after graduation I did land a job. An insurance brokerage in a perfect downtown location. I still remember my first week there. Walking the halls in my J. Crew suits. I had arrived in grownupville. Whatever that is. Now I know. I wish I would have known then but that is irrelevant as long as I know now. (Hint: there is no such thing as a grown-up. People just remain who they are or who they want to be and just look older). Anyway, it was really great. The brokerage was a big enough company that I could learn and grow and have promotion possibilities. That is another important thing. You don't want to outgrow your company or else you'll be looking for a new job all the time and never really growing too much.

This story is so much longer. I left the company for a few years only to realize that although I didn't like the boring name of 'insurance', the work was satisfying and the office was fun. So, I returned four years later (currently here now). Luckily, we all wear jeans now, no suits required. And I'm happy where I am now. Though I have much bigger dreams of entrepreneurship. I continue to learn and push myself outside of my work week. I hold onto the future goals and know that right now is just an ends to a mean and I'm lucky that it's enjoyable.

To conclude this letter, I would like to say that you should push yourself as hard as you can to not just do what you think you are supposed to do. You can if you want and that is all you want and it will work and be fine, I'm sure. But you went to college. You are obviously smart, so taste what you want to and then remember to keep reading. Keep learning. Keep looking for the things that light your fire.

And now, in regular Jen style I have completely sidetracked the whole point of this post. It's probably because I don't believe in playing that game anymore because, for me, it just doesn't fulfill my lifelong dream and priorities. But, I did still go through those motions, and had a positive experience from it and know that anyone who works hard, is nice and puts effort into can achieve their dreams.

Oh dear.

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