For college graduates, accepting their first “real” job is sort of like finding that “perfect” college home or apartment. You pick a location on or near campus that you hope you’d enjoy living. You find people who you hope will make great roommates. And you select a home or apartment that you hope is going to make next year better than this year. Before you know it you realize that mice moved in when you did, your heater only works sometimes and the steps to your front door get very slippery no matter how much you shovel. The point is that you live with the decisions that you make and it all becomes a “learning experience”.
In the next year, my friends and myself will move to different parts of the world and begin life as adults and for the first time not students. As we interview, we have to tailor ourselves and our experiences for companies to seem more desirable for the position. Of course we all want to get hired, find a job and get rid of the stress this life transition brings, but what about me. What do I want? We do get to ask that, or at least we all should be asking that. I keep trying to picture where I would be happy, what sorts of characteristics I’d like in a company and employer and what values mean the most to me. While I still have most…okay all the details yet to be figured out, I want to help the future me by describing who I hope I become and what type of job I hope I am lucky enough to take.
I hope you have landed the perfect job and are maybe living somewhere warm (fingers crossed). It’s probably been a while since people asked you why you chose your major, but I am here to remind you in case you have strayed from the tree hugging path. You are a kind person and as you have grown up you have focused more and more on the needs of others instead of the needs of yourself. When you were first considering jobs, money was not a factor. Of course you knew you had bills to pay, but rising the corporate ladder was not on your agenda. You wanted to stick to your morals and values hoping that someday you could change how the world thinks and acts and be remembered.
In college, your resume said ” Creative Communicator, Enthusiastic about the Environment, and Working to Market and Speak for Nature”. These are the values I hope you still carry. It was important to you that your job reflect your studies so that you could actually use your degree and you didn’t want to work from some company that was not working towards sustainability. More important than that, you wanted to work someplace you were proud of, someplace working on environmental initiatives and encouraging others to do the same. A company that saw the need in the country and world and wanted to be part of the solution. I hope you’ve found it.
As an individual, I hope you are still a presence when you walk into a room and can still lead a group without being asked. I hope you are true to yourself and do what makes you happy- take time for yourself while you’re saving the world. Most important, I hope you are still laughing and having fun. If you have become one of those 25, 26, 27 or even 35 year olds that work all the time and forgot what it’s like to learn, explore and have fun- here’s a virtual slap for you! Try new things, spend time with family and friends and for god sake don’t lose that sense of humor!
At 22 I dont have all the answers, but I know who I am and what is important to me. Regardless of the job title I hold in… 7 or 8 months, I will put my values first and make sure the company fits me and that I am not settling. To the Class of 2014 and classes after me, take your time finding that future “home”. Make sure it’s in the location you want, with people you enjoy and becomes a “learning experience” you think of fondly and reflects the values most important to you.
Here’s to the rest of senior year with great friends at a great school! Woo!