So, You Didn't Land a Job in Your Field. Neither Did I.
Have you ever dreamed, hoped and worked hard for something for a long time? If so, was one of those things a dream that you weren't able to achieve or reach? The reality is that all of us have done this and many won't admit it. Yes, even the most successful people have either failed trying to succeed with a goal or just gave up. We are all human here right? So, don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about. Anywho, one of those dreams I gave up and thought I'd gotten over reared its ugly head and I was in no way prepared to handle it.
Here's what happened. I went on a work assignment and while I was there I got a little flashback of my immediate life post graduation. I graduated in 2010 after the whole financial crisis and it was rough. I mean the type of rough that made you just want to give up and take any job that came your way. What's funny is when people drag millennials through the mud for laziness and lack of risk taking when it comes to their career but honestly, try graduating after 2008. Life ain't easy. Not only was I (and still am) competing for entry level jobs with other college graduates, I was competing with people who've been in the workforce years before my time. Positions that people studied and interned for suddenly didn't exist or weren't available.
It took me two years after graduating to land a full-time corporate job. During that time I was embarrassed, sad, and I was feeling like a failure because I couldn't land a job. It was hard for everybody but it doesn't make it easier when a select few are landing jobs unlike you. Another thing that was hard is that I got a degree in public relations and never made it to the PR world. I tried several times and thought I was doing the right thing by landing internships throughout college to help me gain experience but it wasn't enough. I actually never even stepped foot into anything related to marketing.
Part of me feels like I was tricked into my first full-time professional job that I landed. You know when you go on an interview and the job says, "specialist," "ambassador," or something of the sort's when in reality it's nothing but a sales job. That happened to me. I landed a sales job. A corporate position but at the end of the day... A SALES JOB. I had no idea what I was getting myself into and I thought that I was me making my way but in reality I got sucked into the after college sales job. Now don't get me wrong there were some beautiful perks with this job and if anything I can say that I got the better end of the stick when it came to sales jobs. I had a company car, company credit card and too much of a commission for my early twenty-something self to even handle. I wasn't going door to door selling something like candy or cell phone services but at the end of the day it was a sales job and not what I studied for.
I tried, and I tried, and I tried continuously to land marketing and public relations positions but it just didn't happen. I applied three times at a company I was already working for... So, I got comfortable and thought, you know what, maybe this isn't for me. Maybe there's another path for me. So, I gave up that dream of being Olivia Pope. It was hard but I thought I was at peace with the decision and continued on doing communications but in a different capacity (freelance work.)
Fast forward to today... As I was waiting in the lobby of another organization for my contact to answer the door, her colleague comes out to greet me. He asked for my name and went to find her. When he came back he asked if I went to Temple University. Once he introduced himself I remembered we were classmates wth the same major. We had small talk and then that question appeared. The one you ask anyone you went to school with or haven't seen in a long time. "So, what are you doing now?" Of course he's in marketing for a large company. Something that I wanted to do and something I dreamed of for four years in college and many years afterwards. I could feel the lump In my throat. All those feelings of failure and disappointment with myself just came right back. I thought that it was gone and I thought I was happy but this conversation served as a reminder of the dream that I let go.
I know I'm not the only one dealing with this and actually 70% of college graduates don't end up in the field that they thought that they were studying for. The surprising thing is how much I suppressed that feelings of not making it. Now I wonder if I'm chasing entrepreneurship just to make my own way because no one else give me a chance. I didn't get these student loans for nothing! I most certainly will make sure I make the most of those financed dollars. Still, I constantly wonder what I could have done differently. Did I not network enough? Should I have had a better resume? Did I choose the right school? Was it right to get my graduate degree? All of that was weighing on my mind in those few moments.
I was truly sad and, "emo," for the rest of the day but then I remembered something. One of my favorite lessons to live by is, "things happen for a reason." The path I took and my journey happened that way for a reason. MY REASON! Sometimes it can't be explained because God worked it out that way and other times you just decide to go in another direction for whatever reason you choose. If I had gotten a job in marketing or public relations then I may or may not be a blogger and freelance social media strategist. Yes, I started my own company in January of this year and I think I learned more by going through the trenches as an entrepreneur instead of an employee for someone else.
To finish out this blog post I also just want to mention that I wrote this because there aren't many people talking about this topic even though a majority of us end up going into a different direction than we planned in college. Realize that its okay and you aren't any less of a person for your choice or lack there of. Keep pushing young professional and keep your chin up!
See you at the top,
The Young Professionalist