How to Think About Jobs
Usually when I really need to have something, I want it. Oxygen, for example. Or a hamburger. But for whatever reason I find myself cringing at the thought of a job- even as I’m well aware that, yo, I need one- and chances are it might be the same for you.
We’re going to get through this together, though. This is mostly for my fellow Seniors, but nervous Juniors, I got your back too in advance: get a head start on the process now and you can drink guilt free for a year. Sophomores looking for an internship? Let me help your anxiety. And Freshmen? Oh Freshmen. Nobody likes you, Freshmen.
1. Gain Optimism
If your only experience of an office is Dilbert, drop that line of thinking. You need a job and pessimism is only going to make things worse. Besides that, it’ll work against you: you might settle for something bad because you didn’t afford yourself to look around. There are better options out there and you’re young. Don’t settle for anything you hate just because it’s there. There are terrific fun offices around and tons of jobs that aren’t office-centric. It’s a brave new world; go out and conquer it.
2. Have Acceptance
All that stuff is true but you still might get a mediocre job at first. That’s okay. You don’t have to be doing what you love right off the bat. That sounds lame but it’s true. I want to be a writer: I’m not likely to graduate college and get a paid job at GQ. I might get a job at Starbucks. That’s okay too. You’re not taking this bad jobs instead of your dreams: you’re taking them on the way to them. As long as you have enough money to pay debts, have some fun, and live and enough time to pursue whatever you love to do, then it’s a good enough job to start with.
No one is going to come to your door with a giant sack of jobs and say “hello, please take your favorite job out of my job-sack.” Any job you get is going to have to be gotten and hustled. Networking is important, not even for getting the job, but for getting information: what jobs are out there? What do they entail? What would you be good at and ultimately enjoy? Keep moving talking and thinking. Any forward motion is infinitely more valuable then complaining about the job market.
Pretty much everyone in the world has gotten a job at some point, and so will you. You are not uniquely unlucky. Things will work out for you, at least a little bit. You have marketable skills and, even if you don’t, you can be taught them. If you’re a living person with a college degree and a hint of ambition you’ll be employed at some point. So take that confidence with you and dream big and pursue hard. At the very least, it’ll propel you further than pessimism and you’ll be happier doing it, too.
5. Think Outside The Box
Maybe you can work for a non-profit. Those jobs don’t pay too well, but they do pay, plus you’d be doing something active in your job and something good for the world. Maybe you do some tutoring: if you’re personable and good at any one skill (Writing/Editing, or any specific Math/Science or Computer Science) then you instantly have a flexible source of income. Maybe you should be Batman. That’s three (okay, two) good outside-of-the-box jobs you can pursue and I’m sure there are plenty more out there. Think about what you like and what you’re good at and find a way to make that work for you. There’s jobs out there to be had, sure. But there are jobs out there to make, too.