Many of us are pushed into a university education because it’s considered a necessity in today’s society. And, unless you’re going into business on your own, this is probably a true statement. Many employers take a glance at your resume to see what university you graduated from. If there isn’t one listed, you have a pretty good chance of finding yourself in the trash can. I’m not saying it’s right, and I’m certainly not condoning their actions, but we have to accept the fact that a college education necessary in finding well-paid, meaningful work in our society today. So, we head off to the local university and choose a major may very well decide out lifelong occupational future.
Choosing Your Life’s Mission as a Teenager
So, you’re 18 years old and leaving home for the first time. Before shipping off to college, you’ve never been away from home for more than a week at a time. Now you’re going to be gone from your parents’ house for an entire semester, trying to make it on your own while taking a full course-load of classes. You were completely irresponsible yesterday, and from today on, you’re expected to handle a part-time job, 15 credits worth of classes, and somewhere in the mix, you’ve got to choose what you’re going to do with the rest of your life.
Have you ever stopped to truly think about this? As an 18 or 19 year old, you’re choosing your career path for the rest of your life (or so it seems). What in the world do you know about choosing a life-long career? You’re 19 years old! If you were asked to balance your budget at this age, you’d probably respond with a blank stare at best, and you’re expected to decide what you’d like to do for the rest of your life.
If you’re anything like me, you took a test that told you what you might like to do as an occupation. Well, I liked to work outside and enjoyed physical work, so what did my test tell me I should be? A farmer. Now, I have nothing against farmers, but when I read that farmers make an average of $6.25 per hour, I put a big “X” through this occupation and moved on. My next career option? An engineer. Average pay? Over $25 an hour. Now we’re talking. With that, I had my career path mapped out. This is the typical mindset of most teens. Choose the career with the big money and we assume we’ll be happy for life. It’s no wonder why graduates have a tough time finding work in their field.
Graduated and Looking
When I finally got through college (I took the 5-year plan), I switched my major a couple of times and ended up with a Finance degree. The only problem was, since I bounced around so much on my major, I had no internships under my belt. And, with only a piece of paper that said I knew the basics about finance, employers weren’t exactly jumping out of their chairs to hire me. After 4 months of rejection, I realized that I might not be able to find a job in Finance. So, I found the closest thing that I could.
I’d say that most kids are in the same situation. They graduate with a degree and are on top of the world. Their GPA is outstanding and they might even have some work experience, but finding that first job can sometimes feel impossible, especially if you’re targeting a specific area of the job market. So what if you can’t find a job in your field of interest? What in the world do you do?
First of all, don’t freak out, it’s not the end of the world; and actually, it happens all the time.
You Need a Plan and Experience
If you can’t find a job in your field, you need to make sure that you have two things: a plan and experience. Obviously, you need to find a job, especially if you have student loans coming due soon. Typically, there are a ton of entry level jobs available. Sure, they don’t pay a ton, but in order to make some good money, you’re going to need some experience. The magic number when it comes to experience is three. Once you have three years of work experience, many other jobs will suddenly become available for you.
You’ll also need a plan. This is what I missed when I was getting my experience. I just figured that once I became established in a company, I could find a new job internally and suddenly find myself in my field of choice. Well as it turns out, the company I worked for wasn’t so keen on allowing you to easily move internally, especially if you had no experience in the field that you were trying to transition to. I was stuck. If you need to work outside of your field in order to get general work experience, it would be wise to know if your company is flexible enough to let you move around to an area where you’re passionate. If you plan your path right and get the proper experience, you’ll soon find yourself in the job you always wanted.