To the class of 2018 … congratulations! You made it. You sat through hours of lectures, presentations, advising appointments, orientations, exams, and so much more. You are done with homework and stressing about whether your grade on an assignment will make or break your semester. You are now entering the real world, looking for a full-time job and focusing on the future. Your family and friends are proud of this significant accomplishment and wish you nothing but the best in the coming weeks, months and years.
After graduation, the job hunt can be brutal and tiring. It will take everything inside of you to not just give up or question how many resumes you will have to send out or job applications you will have to complete before you finally get a job you want. The main factor about the job hunt that you should place at the highest level of importance in your search is finding a job you want and not a job you will tolerate.
And the one thing you should absolutely not do is take the first job you are offered just because they throw a decent salary and a fancy contract at you. It might be appealing at first, as it was for me, to have a confirmed amount of money coming in every week (or bi-weekly at most places), to have guaranteed benefits, and to flat out say that you became employed not long after graduation. For me, I was offered a job one month after I graduated and took it because of the exact reasons listed above. Now, I’m sitting here questioning why I did it in the first place.
In the weeks after post-grad you will question a lot of things:
- What am I doing?
- What do I want to do?
- Where do I want to live?
- Do I want to be around my friends/family?
For me, I chose to take a job in the same town that my college was in. That meant I was still able to see my friends that were still in school, party with my fraternity brothers on the weekend, and still live the college lifestyle I was absolutely nowhere near ready to leave behind.
In hindsight, this probably wasn’t the best idea. Sure, being within a 5 to 10-minute drive from almost all of my friends was nice and still being able to go to parties was fun but it got old really quick. There were nights I would be out and randomly start asking myself, “what the hell am I doing here still?”
This isn’t me saying anything bad about being with my friends, obviously, and in the extra “semester” I stayed around my college town, I got to meet so many new people and see an entirely different side of the college lifestyle: not having to worry about exams, presentations, stressful professors, and early classes. It was different but about one month into it, I was ready to get out. I got annoyed with work because of this and immediately started the job hunt again which drove me insane because I would look at myself and say, “all of that working finding this job, now I’m starting the job hunt again.” It felt like I had wasted my time, to begin with.
“The number one lesson I can offer you where your work is concerned,” said the media titan, “is this: Become so skilled, so vigilant, so flat-out fantastic at what you do, that your talent cannot be dismissed.”
-Oprah Winfrey during her commencement speech at the Anneberg School for Communications and Journalism at the University of Southern California.
This might possibly be one of the best pieces of advice for graduates entering the professional world and its advice I honestly wish I would have heard before I walked the stage on my graduation day this past December. Oprah also countered the typical “do what you love” advice that fills so many graduation speeches with something else.
“You need to know this: Your job is not always going to fulfill you,” she said. “There will be some days that you just might be bored. Other days you may not feel like going to work at all. Go anyway, and remember that your job is not who you are. It’s just what you are doing on the way to who you will become. With every remedial chore, every boss who takes credit for your ideas — that is going to happen — look for the lessons, because the lessons are always there.”
To all of the graduates across the country who have already finished their graduation ceremonies or to the graduates who are preparing to walk the stage in the coming days, I wish you the best of luck. The best of luck in your search for employment and the best of luck in learning and growing now that you have finished college.
Congratulations to the Class of 2018!