Thursday, August 12, 2010
Your Career and You..."Great Expectations and Real Realities"
I had lunch yesterday with one of my Curry College PR concentration superstars who made a remark as we were chatting about her job search post-graduation that really resonated.
"Maybe I'm expecting too much."
What an interesting observation, and what a comment on the preparation on both sides of the professor/advisor's desk for the "real world."
What are we (the teachers) doing to help these young men and women be realistically prepared to begin their careers? And what are they (the students) doing to prepare themselves to begin their careers?
I've probably said at least once in every previous post that you should have the utmost confidence in your abilities and be willing to stretch for that first opportunity to prove yourself.
But how do you balance "expectation" with "reality"? And, in today's supercharged world, where babies are on Facebook from birth, what is the baseline for a beginner? What are you expected to know and be able to do right out of college?
I suppose the simple answer might be, "That depends on what you want to do."
But that doesn't address the issue. You're not expected...at least I don't expect you...to know exactly what you want to do and where you want to start on your life's voyage.
But you should have an idea of what your key interest areas are and do some research into entry-level and beyond opportunities in those areas. Which means that you have to get out of your dorm room and off campus and start networking...meeting with people who might be able to either share some insights or point you toward someone else who can do that.
On the other hand, I, as your advisor and (dare I hope?) role model, should have a reasonably realistic idea of what makes sense for you and where you might be looking to find that elusive starting point. Which means that I have to get out of my office and off campus and maintain and refresh those networks of people who might be able to either share some insights or point you toward someone else who can do that.
If we both do our jobs, you will arrive at graduation day with (a) a panicky feeling about what you've got facing you and (b) a pretty good idea of how to get started on your search.
More important, because you've done your homework, you'll know what employers are looking for. You'll know what skills and abilities you have that meet those needs. And you'll have the confidence to step out into the light and begin the quest.
"In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind."
Louis Pasteur, "Inaugural Lecture, University of Lille" [December 7, 1854]