Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Your Career and You... "Graduated, Got a Job...What Next?!?"
I've had a few email exchanges recently with former students about where they are in their young careers. As is perfectly normal, particularly for folks who are reaching the four-to-five year mark after graduation, they're wondering, "What next?"
Some of them are working in the field for which they prepared in college. Others are working in areas they hadn't considered but, in spite of the ongoing economic situation (a recurring theme in my posts, I know, but a reality for these folks), they have "a job."
Two examples...two situations.
My friend Alicia told me a couple of years ago in our Public Relations class at Curry College that (a) she wanted to start her own business and (b) she wanted to specialize in event planning. As she reminded me this morning when we were chatting, I told her she was nuts.
I didn't think, fresh out of college with a degree in Communication and a Public Relations concentration, that this would be the right time to strike out on her own.
Long story short...she didn't listen to her wise professor (as some of the smarter of my student-friends are likely to do!)...and she is now two years into building a vibrant business, Aliste Events, with some very satisfied clients to boot!! She's marketing her services with the skill of a seasoned professional, drawing on the variety of courses that she took at Curry and recognizing the value gained from each.
On the other side, Annette contacted me a couple of days ago to ask about graduate schools.
She found a job right shortly after graduation, as an administrative assistant in a major hospital in Boston. She has been there for three or four years, recently got an upgrade in her responsibilities, and believes she can do more.
She sees a Master's degree in some area of Communication as her way of making herself more attractive to potential employers.
The difference in the two?
Alicia knew early on what she wanted to do. She focused her energies and enthusiasm on achieving that goal, and is charting a path for her future.
Annette wasn't sure...as many of us have been at some point in our lives...but she knew she had to have something until she figured it out.
The similarity between the two?
Both are asking (or wondering), "What next?"
"What's the next stage in the development of my business?"
"What's the next stage in the development of my career?"
This is the question you should be asking yourself regularly...not every day...that's a little obsessive! But...even if you're deliriously happy with what you're doing right now, don't allow yourself to get too comfy-cozy with your situation.
Ask yourself...and ask others who know you..."What next?"
"The return from your work must be the satisfaction which that work brings you and the world's need of that work. With this, life is heaven, or as near heaven as you can get. Without this--with work which you despise, which bores you, and which the world does not need--this life is hell." William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, "To His Newborn Great-Grandson; address on his ninetieth birthday"