Sometimes changing our situation is beyond our control. It's unrealistic to up and quit in the middle of an internship, especially if you're getting paid or getting class credit. But what we can do is change our perspective.
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Whether you're bad at deciding between Chipotle or Moe's or you're choosing between companies, here are some thing to keep in mind
Since they won't let me give commencement speeches
just yet, consider this your pre-commencement pep talk.
It's not you. It's the economy. Seriously. It's changing. It's how you stack up against the sea of applicants. It's the process. It's messed up. The odds are never in your favor. They don't want you to be employed (if you watch DJ Khaled's Snap Story you know exactly who I'm talking about). They really don't. See, you're graduating in a time of constant change. New skills, new subjects, innovation, confusion, divestment over here, investment over there. It's a really crappy time. It used to be "go to college and get a job". Now it's "go to college and hope for the best". It might take you 3 months after graduation. It might take you 6 months after graduation. It might take you a year. But I don't want you to lose hope. You can't give up.
So here's the incredible thing about our time. Millennials are building the world around us. When we join the ranks of giant corporations, they do some really weird shit to keep us around. Give us 6 figure salaries. A ping pong table in the breakroom. Let us work from home 1 or 2 or 5 days a week. We're just that special. We write the code to power the robots to pick products off shelves and deliver them to peoples' homes in an hour. We can be our own bosses and never work a day in an office. We can have a side hustle. Shit, we can have 3. We can do whatever it takes to pay the bills. We're flexible, we'll work abroad for a couple of years and then come back. Then it's back to business. We're malleable. We're talented. We know who we are and we know who we're not. We have weird hobbies and quirky personalities. We're building the new world. Some of us are in manufacturing, some of us in the corporate world, some in non-profits. We have choices. We'll do a thousand different things before we find the one thing we actually wanted to do and that's OK.
You can't give up. I'm up to 3 different pep talks everyday. You've got this, people. Change it up. Forget your plans. Make the unplanned part of your plans. Do something you said you'd never do. Move to a new city if you have to. Do something that has nothing to do with your degree because it's paying the bills. Do what you want to do after work and keep doing it until you make enough money to do that forever. Work a really crappy job for a really awesome company because who knows what will happen. Forget your plans. What do you think Zuckerberg's plans were? I'm not saying you're going to be Zuckberg, but you'll never find out if you never veer from these "plans". Open your eyes to the opportunities you were ignoring. Never say never. Do you really think when people land their dream jobs right out school that they're "living the dream" a year later? Probably not. The grass is always greener. Do you. This isn't just about gainful employment, this is about your life.
That's more like it. Now don't lose hope, graduate, and kick ass. You've got choices.
This picture was taken right around the time I thought I had it all figured out. Breaking news: I didn't and I still don't.
So you want to work from home? Or maybe just wondered what it's like? I didn't know I was going to be working from home until after I interviewed for my current position. I had no clue what that entailed, if I would have support, and if I would like it. All I knew is I told myself I never wanted to be restricted to the confines of a traditional office from 9-5, like I had done for the 3 previous summers. Going into my first job out of school working from home and traveling for projects was daunting, but I'm 7 months in and I think I've got it down. If you're interested in consulting, a lot of firms now have their consultants work from home when they aren't traveling (my arrangement). Friends and inquiring minds have asked me a lot of questions, so I wanted to write about what it's really like to work from home.
*Mind you, I am a single person with no kids and my experience working from home varies from those of others!*
What people think it's like:
- You can get away with not working at all
- You're alone
- There's no discipline/rules
- You don't get a lot of work
What it's really like:
- Sometimes you can find yourself working late hours because you don't have to commute and can't get away from the computer!
- There are colleagues, teammates, managers, and mentors all looking out for you who you talk to everyday!
- There is a clear expectation set about your availability and performance, although there is a certain flexibility associated with working from home
- I often work in my pajamas and from my couch
- I sit in just as many meetings, most of them just virtual
- Get a rhythm going and get comfortable with your working style and hours
- Go into the office (sometimes) if there is a local one available to you
- Make yourself visible to local coworkers
- Ask for help, guidance, and mentorship
- Take initiative in asking for more projects because if people can't see you they can't picture your workload!
- Work in the same place everyday, get really familiar with your local coffee shops!
- Skip hours of work. It will catch up to you.
- Work from home if you don't have good self-discipline (it's OK)
- Work too many hours. It's very possible to lose track of time.
If you're interested...
If you have other questions, feel free to shoot me an email!
To my friends with plenty of experience who find themselves filling out endless numbers of applications and receiving no call-backs: it might be time to audit yourself. There's nothing more frustrating than the feeling of not being taken seriously as a job candidate, as usually this comes with no explanation. Companies that don't call back for interviews or even after interviews aren't likely to give you any feedback on how to improve, so before you go further in that next application, there are some things to consider:
You don’t take yourself seriously
How do you carry yourself? This is a serious question. Do you walk with an air of confidence? Do you sit up straight? Do you feel confident? If you answered no to any of the above questions, get to work! Confidence in yourself reflects confidence in your ability to do your job. If you don't appear confident (notice I only said appear), then why would a company be happy to bring yo on board? Fake it until you make it, smile big and stand tall. That's half of the battle.
People say this over and over again, but it's because we clearly don't hear it enough. A professional brand image is a MAJOR key. Clearly, entering a field just out of college, it's going to be hard to have an established name in a given industry. But what are you known for? Think of three pillars that define your personal and professional brand and do the best you can to represent them on paper and in-person.
You don’t have #Goals
If you don't know what the hell you want to do with your life then what is a company supposed to do with you? I'm not just talking about what you want to achieve in your career, but in your lifetime! In an interview a hiring manager once asked me about my 1 and 5 year plans. I was speechless, I laughed, and I somehow thought of those on the fly. Don't be like Tati. Having a plan filled with attainable goals helps you get to where you want to go faster. So think long and hard about goals for yourself, and don't be afraid to share them with a potential employer when they ask. It shows that you've got some kind of plan going and that a career is an integral part of that.
You don't do your research
This last one is a simple task that can have a huge negative impact on your chances with an employer. Research. Before you speak to anyone in a potential company you need to understand what they do, who they do it for, why they do it, and how they get it done. Consider a company's "About Us" page to be your personal cheat sheet. What's their mission? Vision for the next 10 years? What are their core values? Most importantly, do all of these align with your personal perspective? A big consideration in hiring folks is how they "fit", so knowing and aligning with this important information about a company can complement your skills and experience. Not knowing what a company does can be the biggest insult to a hiring manager. It simply shows that you don't care...and thus they aren't taking you seriously.
So if you came to this post wondering why companies aren't taking you seriously, I hope you take away this much:
- Learn to take yourself seriously
- Have some goals
- Do your research
Good luck! I appreciate feedback of any kind in the comments!