As my one year anniversary of working at Clear Channel is approaching, I am thinking back to the day I started. The scary world that lurks between college and career – a world that I feel I am largely still a part of today. The world that so many twenty-somethings dwell in for the majority of their decade of discord. I had my first Rochester, NY part-time job lined up for myself before I graduated. It was probably right around this time that I decided I would pursue working in Rochester and see what Clear Channel had to offer me.
So much of my time at Clear Channel thus far has been wonderful, enjoyable, and a great learning experience. But, coming out of college, I was blind-sighted in many ways. I felt that I was expected to get an office job in my field and start right off. Once the opportunity for a full time job came up, I jumped on it, striving to fulfill the regularly of “Adult Life.” This post is dedicated to the advice I would have given myself one year ago today.
You are about to graduate from college. This past month has been one of the most stressful and trying times of your life. Getting ready to leave the place that has been your beloved home for the past four years is not going to be easy. You have been relentlessly researching jobs and applying to various large corporations across the country. By now, you must have sent around 80 different job applications, and you got a job offer, and you took it. The long nights when you pictured yourself moving to New York City poor and without a job, the times when you wanted to move somewhere completely different, those options are behind you.
You’re going to test out the Rochester scene. It’s been tough getting along with friends and your boyfriend during this time. It’s been tiring deciding what the future will hold for you, now that it’s completely up to you. But, even though you have stayed up into the wee hours of the morning, you’ve fought with your roommates, you’ve cried your eyes out multiple times, these struggles are nothing compared with what lies ahead. Maybe not this summer, when you’re working part time, and sitting at home dreaming up new blog posts or getting pictures printed from Rite Aid, or planning trips with friends and enjoying nights out. No, this summer will be more of the same. A similar feeling of a break from college with the added pressure of trying to make a good impression at your new company. The big change is yet to come. When you get your first full time job, it will be one of the most exciting and rewarding moments of your life. When you find out that you were the person they chose, that you’re working full time at a great company, that you have succeeded in getting your foot in the door, those parts will be rewarding. But the reality of working 50 hours a week is something you have yet to experience. It’s something that will be the biggest adjustment of your life.
Instead of wearing blinders at this pivotal point, take them off as often as you can. Ask friends, acquaintances, and random people what they do for their livelihood. Remember your love for traveling, and your love for exploring. Remember that, even though you are going to hold a degree in your hand, you still have so much to learn about yourself and the world around you. Look for experiences that will be rich and beneficial instead of ones that help you blend into the status quo. There is plenty of time to burrow yourself into a desk job. Decide what this time in your life may be exclusively dedicated to. Follow your dreams, and if they lead you to Corporate America, that’s fine. If they lead you to travel the world, that’s fine as well. There is way more than one path in this world. Make sure you are picking the right one for you. Not the right one for your guidance counselor, or your parents, or your boyfriend or girlfriend. Pick the right path for you.