How to Decide the Rest of Your Life, Concluded

We’ve been talking about this for a couple days now. Picking majors, internships, and full-time jobs is scary work. First, take some pressure off. This isn’t the rest of your life, it’s just the next step. Second, get to know yourself. If you base your search on what you can find on the internet, you’ll be looking at about 1/3 of the actual options you have.

To clarify, I’m saying 1/3 of job postings are online. There are MANY discussion forums dedicated to exploring the entire field. Use them!

Ok, but how do you get started?

One of my all-time favorite books is “48 Days to the Work You Love,” by Dan Miller. (no, this isn’t a paid add). Put simply, he helped me reflect on three key areas when deciding my next step:

  1. Skills and Abilities: If you’ve always been talented at visual arts but struggled with math, then majoring in accounting may be a bad fit.
  2. Personality Traits: If you prefer working with people, then data processing may not be the best way to spend a summer internship.
  3. Values, Dreams, and Passions: If you don’t believe in weapons, you shouldn’t consider an engineering position with an arms manufacturer.

Switching these statements to the positive is more difficult, and personal.

What’s a good fit for a person with artistic talent who’s introverted and values animal rights? How about a mathematical genius who loves to work with people and can’t stand the thought of a cubicle?

Start shopping. You don’t know what’s out there. In “48 Days to the Work You Love,” Dan Miller shows that over 70% of current job openings are NOT listed on the Internet. That’s why they call it a “hunt.” It takes a long time to find a path that aligns with your Skills, Abilities, Personality Traits, Values, Dreams, and Passions. Expect to spend at least 6 month’s wrestling with this.

That’s not code for “put it off.” Actually wrestle.

It takes one month per $10,000 of annual salary to find a job. If you want to make the average for college grads ($50,000/year), expect to spend five months ACTIVELY looking. [1]

The worst place to go for advice: your loser friends who complain that they aren’t finding anything. Even your successful friends who do find something. They’re in the same boat you are. You need a guide not a partner.

Better places to turn:

  • career centers
  • alumni associations
  • discussion forums
  • faculty.

You have so many resources available! Put them to good use, give yourself the time to explore, and you’ll be the only one of your friends who feels confident in their decision.

Success? Struggle? Question? Leave a comment!


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