“Oh, you’re graduating from college? What’s your degree in? Do you have a job lined up? What’s next?“
In the spirit of winter graduation season, I want to bring an important conversation back to the table.
Graduating college is a huge accomplishment for those who choose to go. But we have to stop gauging people’s success based on what they have lined up for them after graduation. It’s HARD to find a job lately, as I’m sure SO many of you know. It’s not easy, no matter how much experience you might have. You don’t know what you want to do, and sometimes, what you think you want to do, jobs in that area just don’t surface. (edit: and now.. unemployment rates are higher than they’ve every been).
I had a job before graduating college, and then guess what? Four months later, I quit. I left without another job lined up (gasp!) and I was unemployed for EIGHT months. I had multiple interviews, calls and recruiters up in my LinkedIn DM’s. Could I have just taken the first offer that came my way? Yes. I could have, but I didn’t.
Now, I’m not naive, and I know that some people have to choose the first job that will give them benefits and a paycheck to pay these insane bills we acquire. And that’s okay too, as long as you are consistently applying and looking for opportunities that will help you get to where you really want to be. You have to be aware of your goals. Don’t trap yourself. I was very fortunate to have the backing of my parents who supported me while I went after the things I really wanted.
I was very open to the positions from each company, knowing that my experience was limited and there were limited options out there. But seriously, there was a hugeee disconnect between me and the companies reaching out and their values/work culture. There is something really off nowadays about what your degree will prepare you for, and then what you actually qualify for.
I felt the need to write about this subject again because my little sister was graduating this time last year. My sister did so much throughout her time at FIU, and she completed her degree in two and a half years! Putting my sister on blast because while I was unemployed, I went through allll of the questions she getting at the time, too. And even though I knew my corporate hiatus wouldn’t last long, with everyone and their mom constantly reminding you that you don’t have a job, it will get to you. Everyone reminding you of the “gap” in your resume (check out my article on gap years too) does not help one bit.
So PSA to the people who keep asking those questions. We get it. We understand what it was like for you when looking for a job. If you’re really trying to help your son/daughter/friend/nephew/niece or third cousin, ask yourself instead how you can better help that person in your life who might be unsure of their next steps. Instead of asking how many jobs they’ve applied for, ask them what interests them out of the ones they have applied for. Use your own network to make an introduction or connect them with opportunities or people who are willing to give them a chance.
I know that depending on the graduate, some are willing to do what it takes to go after what they want, and others will limit themselves by rejecting opportunities that don’t meet their degree. I started to reach out to the Virgin recruiter in March of 2018 and I kept emailing her until I found out they would be at a job fair in July. So I went to that, and then finally was called to interview but not until November of the same year! I could have picked a different job, but I waited and with confidence went through my interviews before finally getting an offer. Now I’ve coming up on my two-year Crew anniversary in a couple weeks.
Even with a job, ya girl is still trying to figure it out because a job does not make you who you are. It does not measure all of your success. There are many who don’t go to college and become very well-off. So let’s stop getting on a graduate’s case when it comes to job searching and start using our networks to bring people together to connect and ultimately start contributing to the world in a way that leaves us feeling fulfilled.
“You don’t have to change the world, start by changing your world.”