College to Job Transition: A Personal Story
After graduating last May, I thought I had my entire future planned. It seemed so easy. Of course it took a lot of work and planning to get all of these things to happen, but I did it and I thought, “Well…i did it! This will be my life for the next two years or so”. I got an awesome full-time paid internship to come home to in Seattle. Then I put in a deposit for my first apartment. Life seemed all set-up and great!
However, soon I would be introduced to the real world; the reality of being a millennial, a young professional in an ever growing city. I would live the reality of the ebb and flow of work limbo that is prevalent today.
If you are a Millennial like me, I have one thing to say to you: get used to job transitions! Get used to feeling like you’re on a roller coaster for the next few years of your professional career! Further, get used to feeling a little out of control and in a state of ‘limbo’ during your adulthood in general.
It’s Going to be Okay
You will survive. I have gone through two job transitions in the past 7 months, three jobs if you count the internship I had right after graduation. When I left my first job, it was difficult not to be hard on myself. It really took a toll on my self esteem. But the thing that kept me going and made me persist was the knowledge that a job that would be better fit was in my future. My reason to leave the last job wasn’t because of my inability to adapt or work hard, it was just that the job didn’t align with my goals/aspirations. It was because the company wasn’t a good fit for me. Plain and simple. The tech industry wasn’t for me. I wasn’t passionate about it, and the company I worked for consisted of a tight knit group of senior recruiters who didn’t know how to train new grads. It just didn’t work out–and that is OKAY.
It’s hard not to feel discouraged and question your place in your profession when it seems like every place you go, something never works out. I’m not going to tell you that it’s been easy transitioning and I’m not going to lie when I say that I’ve doubted myself; but what I will tell you is that I have done self-reflection that has changed my life for the better. Also, the past 7 months have given me a great idea of what I do and don’t want in my next work environment. If you are transitioning…I promise it will be okay. More importantly, surround yourself with supportive individuals who will nourish and heal you throughout your transitions and self-examination. This will help you remain positive and keep you on your feet.
Be Yourself. Be Genuine
Don’t lose who you are in transitions. My life is not as black and white as I thought it would be after graduation. My mindset was 50 years behind. Back in May, I planned my life to work like: get a job offer before graduation, get an apartment set up before graduation, stay at the job and get promotions for a few years. I’m sure a lot of people will chuckle at this naive mindset, trust me, now I do too. Of course, we all probably planned out a Utopian way of life such as this. You thought, “Hey, I’m a hard-working and creative individual. I’m willing to learn, and have valuable ideas! Who wouldn’t want to work with me?”
I can tell you right now that while all of those things might be true about you, everyone else thinks the same thing. Here’s the reality of this situation and here’s the real question: how will you stand out in a sea of millennials who see themselves in the same light as you do? If you are transitioning from one job to another, or if you are a millennial who just got laid off, or left a job that wasn’t a good fit for you, one thing you are going to discover (through your transitions) is what truly makes you a valuable asset to any company. Most of the time, it’s finding that drive and passion within yourself and making it show in every interview and communication you’re having with a potential employer.
I’m a firm believer that if you can’t find that passion and feeling of drive in the industry you are pursuing, do some soul-searching and figure it out. Once you feel like you have a purpose and once you really show how genuine you are, people are going to notice.
Don’t Get Into the Comparison Game
Don’t compare yourself to everybody else around you. This was the hardest challenge for me to overcome (lets face it, we never truly overcome this, it’s natural to compare yourself to others). This happened because it seemed like everyone around me had their “stuff” together. It was really hard when I was transitioning between jobs not to compare myself to other people. A common thing I found myself thinking was “you aren’t good at what you want to do if these other 20-somethings have been at their job for as long as they have”. What picked me back up from these negative thoughts was what I covered in rule 1: surrounding myself with positive people! It’s hard picking yourself up from self-doubt. In a way, it’s easier (and maybe a little comforting) to be a little self-destructive in a time of uncertainty…we’ve all felt this. However, once we self-destruct with negativity it’s important to continue working toward your goals and find what personally motivates you. What feels better than feeling proud of yourself and having confidence in your abilities and in yourself?
Millennials, I can’t say it enough: Get used to being more comfortable with work limbo! It’s painful, it’s discouraging at times, but we grow stronger with each transition. As a result we solidify in our abilities and increase confidence that we will get through the bumpy times professionally. Please reach out to me via twitter if you ever need a hint of motivation or advice. If you want to hear more stories, I’ve got plenty, let me know.
SeanKelly Anderson is a Healthcare Recruiter for NuWest Group in Bellevue, WA. SeanKelly graduated from Manhattanville College in New York with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication. She also has interned for a couple of companies including Recruiting Bandwidth and Velocity Search Partners.