Last weekend, I attended my good friend Lorel Grande‘s graduation from Dominican University.
Although she finished her Master of Science in counseling psychology back in December 2014, it was still fun to attend her special day and see her handed a diploma after years of hard work.
Although some graduation ceremonies are brutally long, they can also be nostalgic and inspiring. I found myself sharing stories about my own graduation and thinking about how I felt that day. It was a mix of achievement, happiness and fear of the unknown.
I wasn’t one of the lucky ones who found a job right out of college. But I was dead set on finding my dream job as fast as possible. I started my career as an office assistant at an organic pork ranch in Chico, CA. Not what you would call a dream job, but it allowed me to support myself while I looked for my ideal role.
Six months later, I landed a marketing position at a healthcare software company. After nearly three years, I wanted to see what else was out there and decided to make use of my degree in public relations. Now, one and a half years and two promotions later, I’ve grown as a professional and accomplished a lot, but I still don’t feel like I’ve found my true calling yet.
As I sat in the audience last weekend, listening to speeches filled with advice for the new grads, I starting thinking about what advice I would give them.
Looking back at my career over the past five years, it dawned on me. I would tell new grads, “Don’t worry if you don’t find your dream job right away.”
We all want to find our purpose and be in a job we love. But for many of us, that’s not a reality until later in our careers, when we’ve had many experiences and learned what makes us happy in the workplace. I’ve learned a lot from my non-dream jobs. They have all taught me so much and helped me realize what’s important to me and where my strengths lie.
If you find your dream job right out of school, you’re one of the lucky ones. If you’re still looking:
- Take every job experience seriously and learn as much as you can.
- Never stop looking and exploring your options.
- Think about what kind of work is truly important to you.
- Identify your biggest strengths and let them lead you to your calling.
- Don’t put pressure on yourself. If you’re patient and persistent, it will happen.
Your career is a journey, enjoy the ride.
What advice would you give new grads?