You’re in college, majoring in whatever… You start to panic about graduation and thinking about what happens after school is over. You realize that graduation means you have to begin looking for that first all important job.
You start mumbling to yourself “What do I want to do? What do I like? Why the heck did I take that last art history class and how will that help me land a job?”
Many people either take the first job a family member or friend offers them, whether or not it’s aligned with their desires or get a job doing what they like at that time. If it’s the latter, it means that your first real job is something that makes you happy. You like animals so think it’s a great idea to be a cashier at a pet store or an admin with a veterinarian. Or maybe you like animals but also want to give back to the community, so you apply to a charitable organization that saves animals.
You get the picture.
Fast forward five years… Now what? You’re still in that same low level job and you’re not making any money. You still like animals but hate that there’s no growth and no real opportunity for advancement. When you made that initial job decision it was based on a short-term idea when you were young and idealistic. You didn’t think it all the way through or map out a longer-term goal or vision for your future.
Now you’re asking “what should I have done?”. Let’s take the animal example and add a twist. You still like animals but you majored in finance, have amazing math skills, and enjoy working with numbers. That would be a strength. Don’t most businesses need a finance person? Wouldn’t a Pet Store, Veterinarian, or Zoo need a finance person?
See where I’m going with this?
Figure out your strengths, likes and dislikes, as well as your passions. Then align those strengths with careers, businesses, etc. That’s how you find a job that will give you fulfillment, one that you can be enthusiastic about, one that may keep you happy for many years.
Don’t jump at the first job that someone offers you because you’re scared or worried. Take a job because it will get you excited to make a difference, because it’s a role you can sink your teeth into, because you really, really want it!
Do a little soul searching, then do a bit of internet searching. See what matches up for you and go after it with gusto. Friends and family mean well but only you know your own values, aspirations, and desires. Look for the job that matches up with who you are now and who and where you want to be in the future.
That isn’t to say that your career is static or that your dreams can’t change. Obviously, they do and can, but your first job should at least get you on the right path for your short term goals and just maybe be the stepping stone for your long term vision.